The island’s two key tourism agencies, the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) and the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA), will soon operate under a single board.
Acting Minister of Tourism Colin Jordan today said this was the first step in the Mia Mottley administration’s move to operate the two entities as a partnership between Government and the private sector, hence shifting funding for them from the Consolidated Fund.
“The Prime Minister spoke to a public/private structure being put in place. What the Ministry [of Tourism] has done as an interim measure is to have a single chairman and single board for the two existing entities,” Jordan told journalists this morning after delivering the feature address at the annual general meeting of the Intimate Hotels Group at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
“Even though there would be two organizations . . . at the moment they will take guidance from a single board until the private/public partnership is put in place,” he said, without revealing the composition of the new board, or giving a timeline for the establishment of the new partnership.
Jordan refused to say whether members from the BTMI and BTPA boards would be retained in the merger, stating instead that new ministers were afforded the privilege of selecting their own boards.
“It’s customary that once a new Government comes into office the existing boards place their instruments at the disposal of the new minister. It is not anything strange, as it would have happened, not just with tourism boards, but also with every other board. The new minister is therefore free to appoint, as he or she desires, to facilitate the policy of the Government,” he said.
Questioned about the rationale behind the decision to bring two bodies with distinctly different functions under the supervision of one board, Jordan said both the BTMI and the BTPA work to develop the same product.
“Product development and marketing are two different activities but they have to coordinate very closely. You are marketing a product and so there has to be a working together. Those who are marketing need to be fully in tune with what they are marketing. They are not two separate organizations off somewhere doing their own thing. They cannot be separate. When you have separate entities for one product they can end up going in separate directions,” he stressed.
Along with the BTMI and BTPA, Mottley, in her Budget presentation last month, announced plans to remove the Sanitation Services Authority from the Consolidated Fund. Provisions were also made for the partial removal of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) from Government funding, which will save the Treasury approximately $215 million in a full fiscal year.