Tourism authorities in Barbados are about to embark on a major study to see how local attractions are matching up against those in other destinations in the region.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport Ian Gooding-Edghill made the disclosure on Wednesday, noting that this was critical to keep up with the trends and make necessary changes to get more visitor spend.
“I have asked internally within the ministry for us to look and see how competitive we are vis-à-vis other countries within our Caribbean market and see how attractive we are and what quality we offer in terms of the attractions,” he said.
“So we are going to undertake a study to see the attractiveness of attractions and the quality of attractions in Barbados versus other destinations. But why are we doing this? We are doing it because, one, we have to keep pace – you must know what your competitors are doing. We also must have ideas and create new ideas to generate new business opportunities which will redound to the success of Barbados, and that is what we are about.
“It is about looking at how best we can make a change and how best we can improve the industry and looking at how best we can increase the spend,” Gooding-Edghill added.
He did not disclose who would be conducting the research, how long it was likely to take, or how much it would cost.
Gooding-Edghill told the 23rd annual general meeting of the Intimate Hotels of Barbados (IHB) that his ministry was also partnering with an entity to get up-to-date information on how much money guests were spending while on island.
While he opted not to disclose the entity, he explained that the data collected would include information on spending in several areas, including hotels, restaurants, transportation, ancillary services, and supermarkets.
“That helps us because it is okay for us to drive the arrival numbers into Barbados but is also equally important for us in how we increase visitor spend and that has been and will become my focus because we need to increase spend on the island,” the Tourism Minister stressed.
“I am talking about increasing spend through incremental activities, through opportunities, and basically presenting products that the visitors to Barbados will say ‘you know what? I want this and I want that’. I think that will be a wonderful opportunity for us to continue to highlight and showcase what we have in Barbados.”
During the IHB annual meeting which was held at the Island Inn Hotel, a new executive was put in place.
Shireene Mathlin-Tulloch, who was acting as chairman since Mahmood Patel resigned from that position effective May 18, was elected unopposed to serve in the post for the remainder of the term which comes to an end in 2024.
Other members of the executive are Deputy Chair Alvin Jemmott; Secretary Graham Turner; directors Renée Coppin, Tammy-Ann Blackett and Adua Kinch; and Mark Kent who is the representative of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA).