Barbados may have recorded a record number of tourist arrivals for 2015 but one hotelier is worried that the numbers are not being reflected across all sectors of the industry.
Immediate past Chairman of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, Sunil Chatrani delivered his final report at the Annual General Meeting where he touched on a number of issues affecting the tourism industry.
Chatrani noted the visitor expenditure is not increasing to show that more people are indeed visiting Barbados.
“Concern, however, is that the increase in visitor arrivals is not reflected in all segments of the market and visitor expenditure has not increased in tandem with the higher arrival numbers. The challenge now is to increase arrival numbers in the luxury segment and increase the spend that will generate more foreign currency to build on foreign reserves of this economy.”
Chatrani also said the progress of accessing duty-free concessions is enormously tedious and often disadvantageous to hoteliers.
“So far we’ve only been able to access alcoholic beverages and proteins. The second schedule has had about 23 items added. But while the law states that all consumables including food and beverages should be available to hotel we are still some way off from making this a reality. Although I am generally pleased with what we have been able to accomplish so far we still have a long way to go as almost two years have passed since the passing of the act but we still have only limited access.”
He added the BHTA needs to have a greater say in the development of national initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of Tourism in order to move the sector forward.