Tourism goes beyond hospitality

Attractions and other direct tourism services need support too.

The first non-hotelier Chair of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), Roseanne Myers is keen to champion the cause of all tourism players.

She told Loop News in a recent interview:

“At the outset, the focus on tourism, as opposed to just hotels, is very important. It is very important for us as the BHTA to represent the full membership. So we will never de-focus the hotel side of it, but we must see what we can do to bring benefit to the entire industry.”

She added that a key function of the BHTA was to provide a forum for its members to associate and form connections that would help boost their businesses.

Myers, who is the General Manager at Atlantis Submarines Barbados, noted that it was important to create an environment where new attractions can emerge while existing attractions flourish.

“There is no doubt in my mind that with more vibrant attractions the existing attractions will do better. People want to know that they’re going somewhere that’s exciting,” she said. “We need to provide an enabling environment that attracts investment.”

She pointed to the reduction in the rate of VAT to 7.5 per cent for direct tourism services as a key strategy for creating an investment-friendly environment.

Both Myers and outgoing BHTA CEO, Sue Springer, highlighted human resource development as an important aspect for local companies to maintain their competitive edge as international brands enter the market.

Springer told Loop News, “What is going to happen is that when these international brands come on stream, we have to really be cognizant about the skills level of people that we have here and that is now going to be a component that we need to look at and work closely with the Hospitality Institute. And not just at entry level, but further up the ranks – we need to be able to make sure that Barbadians have the opportunity and have the skill set.”

And Myers noted that this did not only apply to hospitality students, as there is a host of trades and professions that feed into the tourism industry, such as refrigeration engineering and law, for example.

She emphasised, “Tourism is not just about who comes out of Pomarine; it’s about who comes of law, who comes out of medicine, who comes out of the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic.”

 

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