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Thursday, July 4, 2013


The following article (by Renice Bostic) is reproduced from the Barbados Advocate (28/06/2013):
MINISTER of Tourism and International Transport, The Hon. Richard Sealy, has deemed claims that St. Lucia has surpassed Barbados in relation to tourism as outrageous and incorrect.

While emphasising that he was not in any way trying to bring down the neighbouring island, he stated that before such claims are made, persons need to look at the baseline of where the industry is coming from.

“Barbados is still a high-sellable market, the name Barbados means something and there is still a great demand for tourism services in Barbados,” he stated.

The minister claimed he did not get involved in the discussion previously because he does not think it is appropriate for him to appear to put down St. Lucia in any way and he still will not take that route. However, he urged persons at the annual general meeting of The Barbados National Trust to look at the reality of the situation.

“If we had to be perfectly honest, St. Lucia is at least 30 years behind Barbados in terms of tourism…that’s the reality. St. Lucia has three Sandals properties so they get a lot of American visitors coming, but we still get more American tourists than they do. Our UK airlift is what is actually sustaining the St. Lucian tourism industry.”

Minister Sealy also stated that the notion of looking solely at percentage improvement does not tell the entire story, because one really must look at the starting point of the country’s industry.

“If Guyana was getting ten tourists a year and then they are getting twenty, that’s a hundred per cent improvement. So you can’t look at a mature destination like Barbados – we’ve been in this for over fifty years – and look at the percentage increase. You have to look at what’s optimal,” he further commented.

In the case of Montserrat, Sealy stated that they previously had negative growth because of the volcano, but now they are having positive growth. “So do you say that Montserrat is outperforming Barbados?”

Conversely, he stated that he is not naïve to the fact that Barbados has recorded some declines in tourist arrivals, and attributes this to the fact that Barbados has been heavily reliant on the UK market which, at the moment, is not very stable.

“When they are sending home people by the tens of thousands, don’t expect that the British will come here in droves. It is not going to happen. We continue to push the brand in the UK, but we are diversifying our market so that the next time a recession comes, we will not find ourselves solely dependent on any single source market.”


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