Barbados Tourism Master Plan Needed

Adrian Loveridge - Hotel Owner

In May this year an announcement was made that plans were underway by the BTA to commence a planning process to analyse and define the Barbados destination brand.

According to a media release, the Chairman was ‘particularly concerned that the study evaluates the relevance and strength of the brand for both Barbadians and visitors’. He stated ‘once we get the information, it may tell us that the brand is fine; but it may also tell us that we have work to do, and I think we can all agree that this is probably going to be the outcome. We will then harmonise that work into creating a strategy for rolling out our new brand promise into the markets’.

Of course, it makes absolute sense, but six months later, how closer are we to this objective?

Simon Anholt wrote in his excellent essay entitled ‘ ‘Why National Image Matters’: ‘Today, every country, city and region on earth must compete with every other for its share of the world’s commercial, political, social and cultural transactions in what is virtually a single market. As in any busy marketplace, brand image becomes critical: almost nobody has the time, the patience or the expertise to understand the real differences between the offerings of one country or another, and so people fall back on their fundamental beliefs and prejudices about those countries to help them make their decisions. Just as in the commercial marketplace that ‘brand image’ provides a short cut to an informed buying decision’.

Under a previous Chairman, a white paper tourism master plan was promised and a staggering four years later the industry still awaits, leaving many to contemplate if it can really be considered our number one foreign currency earner?

While we have drifted, some may say, bumbled, along without any coherent national policy for decades without a master plan, branding and the protection of a destination brand is something altogether different, requiring a much higher priority and need for integrity protection.

What prompted this week’s column discussion is seeing the vast quantities of negative material appearing on blogsites relating to various proposed tourism developments on the island. Many of the detrimental comments refer to planning consent, the granting of concessions and the economic viability or creditability of either the project and/or the developer. One of the grey areas seems to be what is legally permissible here in Barbados and whether or not the same laws apply to would-be ‘investors’ in other countries.

Clearly, any on going uncertainty and ill-informed speculation has the potential to damage what many competitors consider our enviable holiday brand status.

Is it not time to draft and implement legislation that leaves no-one in any doubt, whether that person is an investor consider purchasing property or company submitting plans and undertaking proposed construction tourism projects?

This in my humble opinion is an almost prerequisite to any meaningful tourism master plan, if we are going to maintain and enhance our solid reputation as a transparent and quality destination choice.

0 thoughts on “Barbados Tourism Master Plan Needed

  1. Solid and straight to the point.Problem is that here we get side-tracked too easily so that nothing gets done.A similar plan was unveiled years ago.It suffered a fate similar to the plan for integrity legislation.Sudden death. When it comes to tourism in Barbados the only thing that is longer than our talk is red tape( it stretches from as far as China. ah wonder why?)Today’s minister,not nearly as loquacious as his predecessor who proved that talkers never do,seems to have noble intentions and may actually put this football that we call tourism through the goalposts,taking our country across the threshold to a successful master plan, for one certainly can get down to brass tacks without being on them incessantly. Dat too is the truth.

  2. Carson C. Cadogan | November 28, 2011 at 12:59 PM |

    Where are the master plan and the restructured entity to push tourism to higher heights. Numbers are up, don’t forget? But we want the money in hand!

    I can now say that you are a high priest with direct access to sanctum sanctorum of dlp strategy and decision-making. Well, holy father, don’t you think that almost 4 years in the making and still no baby delivery as promised to save our tourism future is too long (remember the slogan when my man -EWB- was in charge – How long is too long when it is good and sweet)?
    But we notice you have kept away from the topic regarding the potential negative fall out from the adverse publicity in the UK surrounding our number one business. Please have a say!

  3. Carson,

    Thank you. An interesting article.
    First I think you have to know what your product actually is and I am far from convinced that our policymakers fully understand this. Until this is defined, its like throwing money into the wind and hoping that some will stay up there.
    We talk and talk and talk and then pontificate and by that time the opportunity
    has gone.
    Restructuring the BTA, Tourism MasterPlan, seperating product from marketing, greater use of social media. All worthy objectives but what has happened?
    If marketing is the primary mandate of the BTA, that is what they should be concentrating on.

  4. I can’t believe that even today BTA is stilll wasting its money on one initiative to get tourists into Barbados. One so called Rihanna promotion will not cut it. According to the BTA chairman, Rihanna is the sexiest songstress who still remained the island’s most important tourist attraction. He is a joker. Where was he or Rihanna when tourists were all over Barbados and spending good money. The entire BTA lacks vision and really don’t understand tourism is the first place. We need great services and airlifts from Europe and south American not to mention the high cost for everything here in Bim. .Every year BTA talks about a plan, what plan….we need action not talk. I am sick of BTA so called plans to get people in Barbados and the truth is that they are not not even tourists oriented. Nuff talk fa now …. come with something better.

  5. @ Bajan.

    I am a short man, about 5ft **ins.

    Yes, more people in the church getting to zoom in pun me based pun my descriptions here of late.

    The Napoleonic Complex!

    We short mens does have it bad and we are rarely able to control the megalomania that assails us “because of our shortcomings”

    If, and invariably this is the case, we are “doubly challenged” in that department, genes does that to most of us midgets, once we have achieved any level of greatness, we try to make up for our “shortcomings” through submitting ingrunt ideas and, depending on our “position”, they usually are implemented at the expense of the common man/woman.

    80 years brings a little wisdom but I still short in one department and, like most of us males, have fabricated lies about the hammer for so long (no pun intended) that I like Adrian Elcock have started to believe the lie.

    De man believes dat he is a marketing genius man, dat he real bright en ting …. a fool convinced against his will is of the same opinion still..

    I will leave my theory about lesbians who are in positions of power to another blog. Speaking of which, de madam gone down to see Mia why you bite me.

    I here hoping dat nuhbody doan wick my honey, even doah i cyan do much, she is still de madam, de age uh chivalry and all uh dat

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