NEW YEAR’S MESSAGE: CHAIRMAN OF THE BHTA ROSEANNE MYERS
2018 is here and as we optimistically look forward to the New Year, the idea of New Year’s resolutions come to the fore.
In this regard, the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), as the leading private sector tourism entity, resolves to continue its work with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), to ensure that Barbados is represented at all major tourism expositions across the world and remains top of mind as a leading warm weather destination.
As the worldwide competition increases for the disposable income of travelers, we have to be resourceful and creative in presenting the unique features of our island to ensure that potential visitors understand the accommodation, activities and services we have available for all tastes and income levels.
Our aim for the BHTA is to attract more people at better net rates each year to the benefit of all our members as well as the wider community while sustaining downward pressure on our costs through highly efficient and motivated staff and sound sustainable practices, including the increasing use of renewables.
Our efforts to ensure that we are competitive and can fully access the benefits of the legislated vehicles to address our costs continue apace to achieve this goal and encourage reinvestment into the plant.
Indeed, we also have to recommit our efforts to the working relationship we have with the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA), to look at the delivery of the service and product quality that we are providing through our members and other private and public entities.
Our lobby for focus on the matters that concern the industry will continue tirelessly as our number one priority.
We resolve to keep the spotlight on the “welcome” we are providing at the airport which would have received a failing grade in 2017 in terms of service, irrespective of whose fault it is. We already have a promise of improvement through the provision of more immigration officers, the shortage of which is one piece of the puzzle causing long wait times, among others. The BHTA stands ready to commit hard dollars to this effort once formulated and implemented effectively and with haste.
Similarly, the provision of proper sewage treatment for waste would have received a failing grade and we resolve in 2018 to keep working closely with the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) to understand what the remedial, short, medium and long term solutions are and, what are the factors which our members have some control over, so we can implement as necessary. We continue to be deeply concerned with those Barbadians, visitors and members who have been adversely affected so far for the season. We will continue to provide support in every way that we can.
The focus on these critical tourism issues must be given priority in 2018. The coming year will bring a constitutionally due general election in the first half of the year. It is the hope of the BHTA that there be objective discussion on the hard issues and active involvement in the exercise of individual franchise. It is our desire that this is done in the peaceful and ordered way which the world has come to expect and admire of our mature democratic nation.
In order for us to make 2018 a better year than 2017 in terms of tourism receipts, we must not miss a beat when it comes to our marketing thrust and ability to deal with the matters already stated. New product, upgrades and refurbishments must continue as was the case in 2017. The economic crisis with which we are faced, including declining foreign reserves and high debt, requires our continuous focus and attention. In this regard, we in the industry have to do our part to sure up the summer and fall receipts from early in the first quarter, which still represents the most vibrant booking period for the year. We must keep our focus.
Within the BHTA secretariat we must continue our efforts to be more efficient and responsive to members as we build a new team. As a member-centric organisation, our category chairs must keep close to the members and represent their interests at the level of the board. Similarly, our members have to ensure the Association is kept apprised of all matters relating to their establishments, both positive and negative. It is only through feedback that we can keep focused on the things that matter most to our constituents.
On behalf of my family, the Board of Directors and secretariat, I take this opportunity to wish all our valued staff and members along with the wider Barbados public a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018 and I thank you for your support in 2017.