Submitted by Andrew Nehaul
A tsunami of concern must have gone through the Caribbean tourism community yesterday with the announcement by President Obama that he was reestablishing diplomatic ties with Cuba and would open up travel by all Americans to that country. After years of closure for American tourists, this Caribbean nation will now welcome Yankees again. With many airports that can take wide body aircraft besides Havanna and Varadero you will shorty see more hotel development in areas like Caya Coco and others with great beaches and little infrastructure. Tourism to Vinales, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Caya Largo etc will make these sleepy villages and towns will shortly be milestones on Trip Advisor.
What does this mean for other Caribbean islands? Concern! And a more greater need to market their destinations in the USA. The islands like Barbados that still have not found success with social media and digital marketing will be left behind.
The BTA is still “spinning top in mud”. We need professional people put in place that can direct, train and motivate staff and have the knowledge and experience to know how to get the best buy for the budget buck. Moreover, these factors along with the ability to treat airline execs in an extemporary fashion and to encourage big spenders to our island will be a step towards true success.
The new Director of Tourism is familiar with the US market and in particular knows about the money spent by Will Smith, Samuel Jackson and others who on several occasions brought their friends to Bermuda for 4 days to play golf. I hope the new board gives Billy Griffith the latitude to spread his wings and do what he does best.