Submitted by Anthony Davis
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport Irene Sandiford-Garner today expressed sharp criticism of local tourism businesses, accusing them of lacking innovation. “Speaking in the Senate on the Appropriations Bill 2016, Sandiford-Garner complained that the private sector was not doing enough to extract maximum benefits from tourism – Barbados Today, 23 March 2016, p6
I wish people in this Government would stop blaming others for the demise in which this country finds itself. You said that no one can take the money out of the visitors’ pockets, yet you expect the private sector to come and do such. The Prime Minister said that if a man has $10 he can’t expect him to spend $11, do you expect him to spend $11?
When the former Prime Minister Owen Arthur allowed the building of the first all-inclusive hotel in Barbados he said that there must be a limit to them. Along came your Government and every Tom, Dick and Harry could apply to build an all-inclusive hotel, and get permission so to do. All-inclusive hotels are the bane of any country whose economy is built on tourism. The system on which they operate kills off all of the stand-alone enterprises which usually accompany tourism. The taxis, stand-alone bars and restaurants, rum shops and other businesses which depend on tourists leaving their hotels and taking in the atmosphere of the country, and so spending more in the destination which they visit.
With all-inclusives the visitors need not leave their fortresses unless they are going on tours which are included in the packages. As one lady said in an interview pertaining to all-inclusives: “I wanted to bring my cards with me, but I’m glad that I didn’t because everything is included, and I needn’t go outside the hotel.”
You opened the bottle in which the genie was, and now you want to blame others. The worst thing about all-inclusives is that the most of the foreign exchange leaves the country, because people like Thomas Cook bring in the visitors. Those who book their own flights and stay at Sandals and the others have the same type of accommodation, and therefore no money is spent here. Sandals even has its own dive personnel and boat which should never have been allowed.
It is obvious that all of the foreign exchange flies out to Jamaica and other places as this Government didn’t even put certain restrictions on the number of foreign entities who could build such hotels here. The owners get the sweetheart deals, while we pay the taxes, and suck salt.
Hotels can also run up water bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, whereas if some pensioner owes $5 or $10 his/her water is likely to be cut off. The visitors also use the most water on the island – not the populace of Barbados as many in your Government claim, just like they generate the most waste on the island.
So, Mrs. Sandiford-Garner stop whining, because the private sector cannot do anything about the hole into which you and the others have dug this country!