Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Incorporated (BTMI) Petra Roach has resigned from the State-run agency.
Roach, who had been acting in the position for the past six months, said the decision to quit was not easy. However, while not disclosing what her next move would be, she said she felt it was time for the next challenge.
“They say that rather than stagnating when you have climbed your mountains, you need to look for the next challenge. And I certainly feel that I have the ability to choose my own path as a secure woman; and while it’s a difficult choice, I am humbled and proud of the example that my career set for women in the industry,” said Roach, commenting on her departure after nearly 20 years in Barbados’ tourism marketing sector.
“I do really, really lend a lot of value to ensuring that we continue to develop and to drive full ahead and explore new ground; and we need to fulfill our God-given potential,” she added. “So I am really, really excited for my path ahead. But, as I said, it’s been an incredibly difficult decision because it has been an absolutely fantastic journey.”
Prior to serving as CEO, Roach had been Head of Global Markets, a position she held for about a year. She had become the face of the Barbados brand.
The tourism marketing trailblazer asserted that she and her team had been able to carve out capacity building and mentorship programmes that allowed her to confidently pass the baton to the next generation of tourism professionals.
“It’s really important that we always create a blueprint and that there is a legacy to fuel future success for Barbados. At the end of the day, I have been extremely privileged to have been lent that responsibility and I believe that I have certainly built strong foundations and strengthened our brand equity and helped to give the country a profile and a voice globally,” she stated.
However, Roach conceded that she could not have achieved any of those successes on her own. She, therefore, thanked Minister of Tourism Lisa Cummins and predecessors Kerrie Symmonds, Richard Sealy and Noel Lynch for their support.
The tourism executive said each of them had nurtured her ability and helped her grow in different ways, “but they have always, always lent their unstinting support and, for that, I am so appreciative”.
Minister Cummins commended Roach for helping transform Barbados’ tourism product during her tenure.
“I want to thank Petra for the tremendous work she has accomplished during two stellar decades of leadership and dedication, for which we are grateful,” she said.
“Petra, for me, has represented Barbados in an incredibly professional way. I have no doubt that her genuinely passionate approach to driving our tourism further has been emulated by those who had the privilege of working with her over the duration of her career.”
With her career starting at the former Barbados Tourism Authority in 2002, Roach has been acknowledged for championing the United Kingdom marketing and promotional efforts before moving to the United States market in 2015.
She is also credited with leading the island into its highest US visitation in 30 years, by 2017.
Roach is also known for pushing the blue economy and other environmental initiatives as well as being at the vanguard of the marketing for the ground-breaking Barbados Welcome Stamp. (EJ)