Tourism officials are banking on a new and improved information booth at Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) to help increase visitor spend on the island.
The booth, installed by the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA), the state agency responsible for developing the island’s tourism product, is seen as part of the BTPA’s efforts to continuously improve the quality of the guest experience.
“The BTPA strikes again as we continue to search forward on our mandate and unwavering commitment to ensure that we continue to enhance the quality and the standard of our product offering on the island, particularly the welcome at our ports of entry,” BTPA Chief Executive Officer Dr Kerry Hall today told the official launching ceremony of the new, brightly coloured, yellow and blue booth just outside the arrivals hall at GAIA.
“The new placement and design of this booth will not only benefit our visitors with respect to its improved accessibility, [and] customer orientation in that we have now a more intimate and personalized setting, but most importantly, it will also be better for our BTPA members,” she said.
The BTPA first had its information booth inside the arrivals hall between immigration and customs.
Among other things, the refreshed location will serve as a centre of information for guests on a wide range of things to do, such as culinary, entertainment and other experiences across the island.
Hall explained that with guests receiving this information upon arrival, they would be encouraged to take part in more of what is on offer, thereby increasing visitor spend.
“When we talk about increasing visitor spend it starts right here with my tourism gladiators on the frontline. They are the ones who are guiding our guests to places and things to do, that will not only increase visitor spend but will enhance the guest experience. They also assist guests with booking accommodation and any other queries they may have on arrival,” Hall said.
The approximately 12 X 17 stand-alone booth was finally set up a few days ago after a lengthy process.
Finished with a galvanized roofing and a light yellow stained inside roof, the booth also displays the word ‘welcome’ in a variety of languages, and at the back is a panoramic view of Bridgetown.
Creative Director of Casa D Projects Inc Dawn Dujon designed the stand, which took about four weeks to complete.
Welcoming the BTPA initiative, Minister of Tourism and International Transport Kerrie Symmonds said it was a signal that “the culture of complacency with respect to brand Barbados has come to an end”.
He said the new booth should make visitors feel more welcomed to the island, adding that the first impression should always be the best.
Symmonds said the relocation and enhancement of the booth should “send the signal that the new board is going to be mandated to place even greater emphasis on the quality and substance of the meet and greet process”.
“Prepare yourself and brace yourself for more of that welcoming environment to be the order of business in Barbados,” he said, “because the mandate of the new board will be to have a wow factor to make Barbados stand out in the eastern Caribbean and across this region as an experience that is unforgettable and breathtaking”.
Stay over visitors spent over $1 billion here last year, according to Ministry of Tourism figures, and the Mia Mottley-led administration is seeking to extract an additional $95 million a year with the introduction of the Airline Travel and Tourism Development tax effective October 1 this year, 75 million of which will go to the BTPA and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc and the remainder to central Government.