A local official believes the entire Caribbean tourism product needs to be rejuvenated. In fact, Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA), Dr Kerry Hall, describes it as “tired” and lacking in investment.
Speaking on local radio here on Sunday, Dr Hall also warned that the region’s competitiveness could be at stake.
“The Caribbean tends to have a bit of a tired product and this goes back to the fact that a lot of islands have physical constraints, the recession has taken its toll.
“Ironically in order to make sure our products are constantly reinvented and refreshed, will require injections of tourism investment and sometimes that’s just not forthcoming because when money has to be spent, sometimes there are other areas of priority above those, and that has an impact as well on us because if we have a tired product, there are a lot of destinations out there, emerging destinations, which are giving a higher quality product for a more cost-effective price,” she added.
Hall’s comments come ahead of next week’s State of the Industry Conference, which will be held at the Hilton Barbados Resort from September 14-16.
The BTPA official warned that the Caribbean needs to do whatever is necessary to remain competitive, particularly in the face of what she said was probably the most volatile environment in the history of the region’s tourism industry.
Industry officials continue to grapple with issues of safety and security, as well as acts of terrorism and geo-political upheaval. Issues of currency fluctuations and climate change are also high on their agenda, as they could potentially affect arrivals.
“We will suffer from rising sea levels and coastal degradation, rising temperatures, and also overseas we’re gonna see longer summers and hotter winters. And that is going to have an impact on movement to the Caribbean,” Hall said.