Come January next year, the Ministry of Tourism is expected to engage in a national consultation in an effort to map out a new “inclusive and sustainable” tourism product for Barbados.
Minister of Tourism Senator Lisa Cummins made the announcement, pointing out that now was a “tremendous time” to transform the tourism sector.
Stating that work has already begun in her ministry towards the creation of a more sustainable tourism offering, Cummins gave the assurance that officials would be engaging all stakeholders in coming up with a master plan “for what the tourism future could look like”.
“Early in January we will be having a national consultation which is going to be able to help us launch what we call the inclusive tourism model for the future,” she told the recent Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association’s fourth quarterly general meeting.
“We have begun work in the ministry and we expect in the coming weeks and certainly by the first part of the new year, we will submit a new proposal for a full ecosystem for the tourism sector, which speaks to the integration into all other productive sectors both locally and internationally, which treats the tourism as a genuine export sector,” she said.
“We have brought our researchers in and they have already started to do their work. We have pulled together the partners from all the productive agencies – the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association, Small Business Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries – so that every productive sector is integrated in a meaningful, sustainable, local and international way into the tourism sector,” she explained.
Cummins said next month’s consultation will bring together local hotel and tourism associations, travel partners, attraction and restaurant operators, tertiary level education students and workers in the sector.
She said: “We will have our youth as well as our experienced workers in a national consultation on inclusive tourism because we have to be able to craft a future that is not bound by the limits of our vision that is based on 40 or 50 years of tourism. It has to be based on the disruption that we have seen, the opportunity for transformation, the technology that has been coming to the fore and the new opportunities, the new investment framework, the new inclusiveness models, new ecosystems and the new visions for a future,” she said.
Acknowledging that there have been water outages that have affected hotels over the years, and recalling the power outages that occurred over two days in November 2019, Cummins said she was surprised at the lack of back-up power supply within some commercial spaces.
“One of the things I would want to be able to work on with the hotel sector in the coming year is on the question of sustainability and reliance and ensuring that there are systems in place in all of the properties to take some of the reliance off the public system,” said Cummins.
“I would want to be able to see our hotels, especially our elite hotels, come to a place where we are able to engage in resilience measures and infrastructure support for that resilience,” she added.