Barbados tourism officials cautiously optimisticWednesday, July 21, 2021
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Barbados remains cautiously optimistic about the island's tourism industry for the remainder of this year as the “bread and butter” industry continues to rebound from the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has affected all tourism dependent countries in the Caribbean.
“The overall outlook for the sector is positive, yes, but cautious. If I've learned anything is, I'm not putting all my eggs in any basket…So all the projections and the optimism that we may have …may go away. So, what we have to do is to plan and mitigate, but also to diversify our base narratives,” said Tourism and International Transport Minister, Lisa Cummins.
She told stakeholders that tourism dependent economies have had significant double digit declines in gross domestic product (GDP) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Barbados was no different, adding that the island was further impacted by ash fall from the La Soufriere volcano, a freak storm and, most recently, Hurricane Elsa.
To date, Barbados has recorded 21,074 stay-over visitors for the period January to July 11, this year, representing a significant decrease of 86.9 per cent or 139,476 less visitors when compared to the corresponding period in 2020.
For that period, the United States was the top source market for arrivals to Barbados, with a 49.8 per cent market share, followed by the United Kingdom with 23.4 per cent. Central and South America, Canada, other European countries and the Caribbean rounded up remaining tourist arrivals.
She said that there are 40,000 people directly and indirectly affected by the reduced numbers of tourist arrivals.
“I cannot begin to tell you how important it is to get the sector up and running safely…, and to get visitors coming in and doing the right things and being safe, along with Barbadians doing the right thing at the same time. That must be the perfect match, right now.”
Cummins warned that if Barbados did not find the right “marriage” between health protocols and tourism, visitors would go elsewhere and workers in the industry and their families will continue to be impacted.
She also urged Barbadians to get vaccinated and to continue to follow the health protocols.
Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, interim chief executive officer, Craig Hinds, noted that tourism has a critical role to play in the stabilisation and recovery of the economy, adding that he believed that a collaborative effort was necessary to recuperate as quickly and smoothly as possible.
He said the BTMI was working with various stakeholders to make the industry resilient as it navigates “unchartered waters”.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login