In the business world there is the familiar quote “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. It simple terms it does not matter the policy implemented, it is the prevailing culture that will determine the degree of success.
The headline in today’s Sunday Sun Bookings Take a Hit was predicted in this space months ago. In our tourism source markets of UK, Canada and the USA there has been high penetration of COVID 19 vaccination of the population that has permitted a return to some since of ‘normalcy’. We observe people in those markets attending sports events, travelling in unrestricted numbers, dining and other pre Covid 19 activities.
While the developed world is moving ahead with finding ways to coexist with coronavirus, Barbados with an economy solely dependent on tourism continues to be engaged in analysis paralysis. Before the pandemic Barbados was a country up to its ‘wazoo’ in debt – easy access to credit at the household and government level, we have developed an addiction to consumption and less to promoting a culture of excellence; high productivity, customer service, innovated and creative thinking to name a few.
It was easy to have predicted tourists – who have the final say where they want to spend – would want to relax at a destination where there is peace of mind. The current situation where Covid 19 numbers are surging for the world to see, we find ourselves in a pickle given the reluctance by government after government to mitigate risks associated with an over dependence on tourism. We the people are not entirely blameless, we have never felt the need to forcefully protest against lazy policies of successive government. The blogmaster buys into the position ‘people deserve the government they get‘.
After more than a decade in the economic doldrum and Barbadians described as suffering from economic fatigue, we are also being described as suffering from Covid 19 fatigue. The effect of the two ‘afflictions’ do not augur well for the future. The reality is that people must adapt to the environment in which they have to exist. If we want to enjoy the benefits (earning hard currency) of being an idyllic, iconic destination we know what we have to do. If we want to engage in analysis paralysis and bellyache about Covid fatigue then suffer the consequences. What should be obvious is that this stage of the game, we cannot pivot to replace the direct and indirect contribution to GDP in the short term. That boat has sailed.
Here is he latest BU Covid 19 Dashboard prepared by Lyall Small.