At first glance, this bold headline on the back page of today’s Sunday Sun gives the impression that Barbados tourism industry is thriving. ‘We have every reason to be confident of topping US$1 Billion this year,’ President of the Barbados Tourism Authority said. And ‘that Barbados was shaping up to reach this figure for the first time, after last year’s record earnings!’ One vital component of ‘this projected increases in tourist spending’ seems to have been left out of the equation!
A rise from US$953 million to US$1 billion represents an increased overall spend of less than 5 per cent! But with inflation hovering somewhere between 7 and 10%, then aren’t the projected figures just indicating that everything is costing our visitors more? Unless earnings from tourism do not rise about the average annual rate of inflation, we are simply falling behind.
Visitors are factually spending less in real terms.
And what about the ‘guaranteed 400,000 cruise ship passengers’ per year from the agreement signed last October with Carnival Corporation? Our neighbours, St. Vincent and St. Lucia, have been recording massive increases of over 52% in cruise ship passenger arrivals, and that I understand is without a contracted Carnival agreement. Are all these ‘guaranteed’ additional passengers going to arrive only in the winter months? If so, why on earth would we agree to give Carnival any money or concessions; where else would the ships go?
Certainly not Alaska or Europe!
These questions have to be answered if the headline grabbing articles are going to mean anything at all, other than trying to spin what is really a poor performance in tourism.
12 August 2007