Barbados’ international business sector has remained resilient throughout the global coronavirus pandemic and has been able to adjust quickly, its chief spokesman has declared.
International business is considered the most resilient and the best equipped to deliver sustained economic contributions to Barbados at this time because it is not 100 per cent reliant on the local market for business, the Barbados International Business Association president Derrick Cummins suggested.
“Thankfully, there have been no widespread layoffs, and any closures that we have become aware of were already in train before the impact of COVID-19 and are more driven by other factors such as tightening regulatory requirements or credit rating agency downgrades,” Cummins told Barbados TODAY.
He said that when the pandemic struck Bridgetown at the end of March, BIBA members were already in a position to quickly adjust.
Cummins said: “Our members pivoted very early in the pandemic to remote working and many of our larger companies already had business continuity plans in place for such eventualities, driven by protocols that were being rolled out for associated companies in different countries.
“Being global has usually allowed many of our member companies to spread their risk around but given COVID-19’s unprecedented and widespread impact, those that focus on wealth management, supply chain logistics, and manufacturing had been the hardest hit by the uncertainty and volatility in the international markets and the airline industry.
“Those members who are tangential to the sector, such as villa rental companies, had also been severely impacted by the travel restrictions and have seen their forward bookings cancelled as overseas executives and directors were faced with no-fly restrictions imposed by their companies. However, with the resumption of commercial flights into Barbados interest in business travel is being rekindled.”
The BIBA leader said he believed one of the main lessons for the international business sector and the wider business community was that “having a business continuity plan for a disaster is a necessity, not just a nice to have”.