If anyone asked the question, “How is the rest of the summer looking for you, I believe that they will get the same answer from almost everyone asked, “BAD”. The rest of summer is not promising to be easy for any of us in tourism.
I wanted to see how others were fairing during the rest of this summer and I started by asking some of my closest colleagues in industry. The above response is what I was getting to the question, so I decided to take my research a little further, and today I encourage anyone interested in the answer to the question to research the answer for themselves.
I started by going to google.com and searching for Caribbean Hotel summer deals. There were no shortage of deals available and the range of deals was quite overpowering. All of the major online players in travel with deals which reflect discounts up to 70 per cent off what would normally be the price of a hotel room.
This type of discounting was not just for Barbados, but rather related to almost every part of the Caribbean whether it be the English speaking, French, Spanish or Dutch speaking Caribbean, the result is the same. It was as if the entire Caribbean region has gone into panic over the state of the bookings for the region.
A school of thought suggests that this type of rate discounting is unsustainable and dangerous, but what are the alternatives. The Caribbean is the world’s largest dependent region on travel and tourism, the forward bookings are soft and the operators are anxious.
The economies in most Caribbean islands are largely dependent on the success of their tourism performance. Simply put it, the region is sitting between a rock and a hard place. The deep discounting, which is currently going on may be difficult to live with, but doing nothing may be even worse.
I believe that we can fight our way out of this current difficult situation. As I see it, the difficult period will take us to November before we start to see the change. I also believe that this may be an opportune time for the region to come together as one and look differently at how we treat tourism from a regional point-of-view instead of fighting against each other and getting into these discount wars.
I grew up hearing that unity is strength and together we can achieve more, but over the years, I have not seen that type of unity in tourism. The Caribbean as a region also has things in its favor. This region is considered a peaceful and safe region and I believe that we have to do everything to ensure that it remains that way. Caribbean people are considered to be among the friendliest people in the world and that too we have to preserve.
*Tourism is our business, let us play our part.