Barbados is pricing itself out of the tourism market, a leading industry executive has warned.
Chairman of SunTours Barbados Bernard Weatherhead said the country was an expensive destination and was losing out to its competitors in the Caribbean as a result.
He cited as an example the potential loss of business to the Dominican Republic from a major film production crew, due to a US$5 per person difference in accommodation costs.
Weatherhead offered few details, however, he said a 100-member team was scheduled to travel here in June for an extended period and wanted to stay at the same hotel.
He suggested that the Dominican Republic offered accommodation of similar quality at US$5 per person less and the team was likely to go there instead.
“Barbados is actually vying very hard right now for a major group to come here in the next few months, and I believe a decision could be made on it today. And we may very well lose it because of US$5 per person. And this is a major group for a major period of time. We may very well lose it because of a rate of US$5 per person,” Weatherhead said at the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association’s first quarterly general meeting for the year at the Hilton resort this morning,
This, he argued, demonstrated that travellers were keen to get as much as they could for their money.
The veteran businessman, whose company operates various tourism related businesses, including a travel agency, a hotel and car rentals, contended that Barbados remained a very expensive destination, which made it difficult to compete with other destinations that offered a less costly product that was also of high quality and standard.
“What drove a young generation into Barbados from the 1970s and on was the development of the apartment hotel. It was affordable accommodation, and what has happened since that is that affordable accommodation has now joined the ranks of reasonably expensive products still compared to other destinations,” he said.
“It just tells you that rate is important, product is important and we compete with the world at the end of the day.”
Barbados TODAY was informed that the effort to attract the film crew was a Government initiative through the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI).
However, BTMI Chief Executive Officer William Griffith said he had no knowledge of it.