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BHTA MEMBERS REWARD CULINARY TEAM
Published on November 30, 2017

Members of the award winning 2017 Barbados Culinary Team were recently showered with praise and tokens of appreciation for their outstanding performance at this year's Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association's (CHTA) Taste of the Caribbean.

During a prize giving ceremony in their honour, members of the team - Chefs Damian Leach, Willis Griffith, Kirk Ruck, Andre Nurse, Javon Cummins and Ron Maynard, Junior Chef Nicolas Ifill, Mixologist Ryan Adamson, Team Manager Chef Henderson Butcher, Team Training Assistant, Chef Glenroy Alleyne and Bartender Training Manager Jamaal Bowen – received gifts including staycations, tours, safaris, golf club membership, lunch cruises and dinner shows from members.

The prizes were donated by Golden Sands Hotel, Yellow Bird Hotel, South Beach Hotel, Radisson Aquatica Resort, The Club Barbados Resort Club, Accra Beach Resort & Spa, Southern Palm Beach Club, Ocean Two Hotel, Hilton Barbados Resort, Coral Reef Club, Fairmont Royal Pavilion, Atlantis Submarines, Barbados Golf Club, Harbour Lights, Harrison’s Cave, Island Safari, Tiami Cruises and Mount Gay.

CEO Rudy Grant, in his welcome remarks said, “We want to congratulate you on a fantastic job. We know that the culinary experience in Barbados is one that we can boast about. In fact, next year, the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. will focus on promoting the culinary aspects of the island. So what the culinary team has been doing this year will certainly augur well in ensuring that Barbados continues to be seen as the epicurean capital of the Caribbean.”

Grant noted that such an activity would not be possible without the support and participation of the many members and companies including Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., Barbados Tourism Product Authority, Tourism Development Corporation, Divi Southwinds Resort, Fairmont Royal Pavilion, Hilton Barbados Resort, Radisson Aquatic Resort, Prosecure Distributors Limited, Barbados Employers Confederation, Bridgetown Cruise Terminals, Republic Bank, Premier Attractions, Hotel Food Supplies Barbados Limited, Chickmont Food Limited, Shorelinez Inc., Continental Foods, Sharom Fruit & Vegetable Mart, Mont Gay Distilleries, Barbados Agricultural Development Marketing Corp, Thorpe’s International Produce, Barbados Pig Farmers Co-op Society, Ocean Fisheries Limited, MIS Products Limited, Hanschell Inniss Limited, C & G Star Trading, American Airlines, A & B Music Supplies.

“I want to say thank-you to all involved - to the many sponsors for the support you have given to this important exercise and for ensuring that the team was properly equipped. We thank you for the significant support you continue to give to the development of the tourism industry,” Grant added.

Team Manager Chef Butcher, also thanked the sponsors and supporters: “The support this year was very encouraging. Everyone did all they could to make sure that we were prepared for Miami and for that I say thank-you. I also want to say congratulations to the team. I can say that of all the teams I have managed, this is by far the strongest we have taken to Miami. This is why I believe we did so well winning gold in almost every category we participated in.”


Member Feature: G4S Secure Solutions (Barbados) Ltd
Published on November 30, 2017

 

G4S Secure Solutions (Barbados) Ltd. is part of a global brand which provides integrated security solutions across the world. G4S’ global industry standards and expertise are applied to the execution of the services and solutions provided. The businesses are based on a strong foundation built on sound Operations Management, Finance, Human Resources and Relationship Management. G4S Barbados has been operating in Barbados for over 40 years over 10 years as G4S Barbados.

 

Our Values are the standards we set for ourselves and the culture of the organisation is the way those values are reflected in our behaviours and actions
Being a service business, people are at the heart of our business. We rely on them to provide excellent customer service and to behave in line with the company’s values and standards. They rely on the company to provide a safe place to work and for development, support and guidance throughout their career.

 

At Group level, the company operates in three key sectors: Security Services (including Manned Security and Justice Services), Security Systems and Cash Services, Security Training.  In Barbados, we offer all except Justice Services.  We provide services to public, private and corporate customers.  Our reputation for quality in the guarding sector is based both on our extensive employee screening processes, the high level of training provided, our strong policies procedures and processes and our robust approach to management and supervision.

G4S draws on our global experience of working with public organisations to secure sites and key assets. As a leading supplier of security solutions to this sector across the world, we understand the immense pressure to reduce costs and increase efficiency, while ensuring that customers are being well served.  With this extensive experience of working with the world’s leading organisations, our customers trust us as a key partner with the expertise and resources to secure their assets, customers and employees.

 

 

G4S Secure Solutions (Barbados) Ltd. understands the sector and we are able to draw on our expertise, our proven capabilities in assessing and mitigating risk to deliver effective, comprehensive security solutions. Our experience has taught us that the key to realising wider benefits for our clients lies in taking a more complete view and developing comprehensive solutions that achieve long-term results. This is crucial to the future of any institution.

A safe and secure environment is essential for the true enjoyment of leisure and recreation time. However in a world of diverse and increasing risk, the creation and maintenance of such environment is a complex challenge.

Our extensive experience of operating hotels and tourism attractions means we always take into account the bigger picture while understanding the complex interdependence of the dynamic sector.

For our hospitality clients our solutions provide better security reduced cost and increase revenue generating opportunities. And for their guest that means improved experiences and the change to enjoy their leisure and recreation in a safe and d more secure environments.

We provide security solutions in

  • Manned Security: Event Security, Aviation Security. Patrol and response, Key holding, Risk Prevention training.
  • Cash Solution: Cash In Transit, ATM replenishment and Bank processing
  • Electronic Security  Intruder system, CCTV , access control, ticketing systems, Fire systems

BHTA’S MESSAGE FOR BARBADOS’ 51st ANNIVERSARY OF INDEPENDENCE
Published on November 30, 2017

THE Chairman, Directors, Members and Staff of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) extend greetings and Happy Independence to all Barbadians as we celebrate our 51st Anniversary of Independence.

The 2017 Hurricane Season, which officially ends on Independence Day, has been destructive and costly to the region. The BHTA is extremely proud that our members joined with Barbadians and visitors alike, to selflessly provide much needed relief to our heart-broken and devastated Caribbean neighbours in their time of serious need. 

We were spared the wrath of the many weather systems that affected the region, but it was quite different for other tourism-dependent destinations like Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, Puerto Rico and the British and US Virgin Islands, among others. In the true caring nature of Barbadians, our members collaborated with the many organisations, individuals and companies, which urgently coordinated and continue to coordinate much needed relief efforts to those affected.

As we celebrate our 51st anniversary, we do so knowing that amid all the challenges, Barbados remains a beacon of hope for others. Our actions of relief to our neighbours communicate that we are still our brothers’ keeper while reflecting human kindness. 

Daily, many hard-working and dedicated individuals and institutions in the tourism industry contribute in a meaningful way to the building of this country. We wish to salute our members and in particular their employees across the spectrum of the BHTA membership which includes hotels, villas, activities, attractions, airlines, restaurants, real estate agents, tour representatives, retailers, trade and consumer press, advertising and public relations agencies, technology providers, consultants, suppliers of goods and services, cruise and other services providers in this very important lifeline industry.

This year we celebrated our 65th Anniversary. In addition, we also celebrated the achievements of a number of our industry stalwarts, including our Life Time Achievement Awardee Jeff Kinch, the Association’s first Committee of Management and Executive Secretaries, the Board Member and Employee with the longest tenure and entertainers Richard Stoute and Dr. Anthony ‘Gabby Carter’, as well as young, aspiring local talent like Andre ‘DJ Puffy’ Parris and Chrystal Cummings Beckles.

After months of hard work, training and preparation, our culinary team made us exceedingly proud and gave us more to celebrate, when they dominated this year’s Taste of the Caribbean in Miami. They won a slew of top prizes, including the coveted Caribbean Team of the Year.

In 2017 the BHTA also launched new initiatives designed to attract more visitors to the island and, equally as important, to preserve our natural environment. These included the staging of our first Dive Fest Barbados in association with the Barbados Divers Operators Association (BDOA), the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) as well as the inaugural Art of Cuisine – Barbados Meets the World and our first Speed Networking Session for members.

Despite all the celebration of milestones and achievements, the BHTA still continued to lobby for our members and, for the first time in ten years, signed our current three-year Memorandum Agreement (MOA) with the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU).

We also represented those issues affecting our members, including Value Added Tax returns, accessing waiver of taxes and duties under the Tourism Development Amendment Act (TDAA), the impact of the National Social Responsibility Levy, the impact of crime, beach harassment, cleanliness of the island, the arrivals and departure experience at the Grantley Adams International Airport and appropriate regulations for unregistered accommodation, among others.

Further, we continued our promotion of the island by strengthening strategic partnerships with agencies such as the BTMI, the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA), TDC, the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and other partners.

In addition, we revived two very important product clubs, namely Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) and Romance, while providing representation at various international trade shows and conferences, including IMEX America, World Travel Market (WTM), State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC), the CHTA’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace, and others.

We recommit to continue to work diligently with our partners to facilitate sustainable growth and development of the tourism industry to the benefit of our members, our country and the people of Barbados in general.

We also give the assurance to our members and to Barbadians that we will continue to function in a manner to ensure that the Barbadian talents, skills and resources are utilized in an efficient and effective manner to guarantee that future generations of Barbadians will also be filled with pride as they celebrate future Independence Days.

Happy 51st anniversary of Independence Barbados!

Rudy Grant,

CEO -Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association


BHTA GLEANS VALUABLE INFORMATION ON REGIONAL TOURISM MATTERS AT SOTIC 2017
Published on November 24, 2017

THE Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) is better able to advise its members on a range of topics including preparing for and rebuilding after natural disasters, the environment and the new explorer/traveller, after attending this year’s State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) in Grenada.

CEO Rudy Grant explained that this year’s conference, while focusing on enhancing the Caribbean brand and encouraging more visitors, also looked at the necessary actions needed as a result of natural disasters.

“Of special note was the session which centered on the topic Rebuild & Recover - The Future of Caribbean Tourism, which was held in the context of the recent hurricanes which impacted the Caribbean region. This session looked at how destinations in this region can prepare and mitigate against such disasters. There was also discussion on the economic cost of disasters and issues related to a Blueprint - Recovery from Crisis: Building A Path To Sustainability.”

SOTIC is the region’s premier tourism gathering which brings together Caribbean tourism practitioners, policy makers, strategic partners from the public and private sectors and travel professionals, to discuss issues, identify solutions and courses of action to keep the region competitive and therefore benefit its tourism industry.   

Under this year’s theme ‘Super-Charging the Caribbean Brand: Meeting the Needs of the New Explorers’, the Conference also explored some of the best examples of how destinations, businesses and attractions drive value through outstanding experiences that meet the constantly changing expectations of visitors. 

Key conference sessions included Infusing Dynamism in Caribbean Tourism, Who are the New Explorers, Business Models that Rock, Turning Our Waters into Goldmines – Investing in the Blue Economy, and Spicing up the Caribbean Brand. 


CHAIRMAN URGES AWARD WINNING CULINARY TEAM TO LOOK BEYOND THE CARIBBEAN
Published on November 22, 2017

CHAIRMAN Roseanne Myers has urged the award winning Barbados Culinary Team to take their skills beyond the Caribbean.

Speaking at a prize-giving ceremony to reward members of the 2017 team for their outstanding performance at this year’s Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association`s (CHTA) Taste of the Caribbean, Myers said, “We have done it. We won the top prize at Taste of the Caribbean but that is not all we can achieve.

“We now have to set some objectives including working towards having a top Barbadian Chef at top resorts in every part of the world. I do not believe being a top Chef in Barbados is enough. I think that you now have to carry that Barbados flag far afield. Go out there, develop your craft even more and, after a few years, return to Barbados and share the experiences and skills you gained.

“Taste has always been seen as a developmental exercise by the BHTA. So I will not say that the Barbados Team has outlived its time there. My expectation is that you will do better next year than you did this year. You are never better than when you are challenged and that is why competition is good but we cannot get complacent at this stage. Yes we are now the best of the best in the Caribbean but we need to look past the Caribbean.”

Myers added that over the next few months the BHTA will seek to develop strategic objectives for Culinary Arts in Barbados, “We will focus on creativity and skill but also on attracting persons to the field. We have to look at ways to ensure that every young Barbadian coming through the school system understands that being a chef is not only about cooking but that it is also about management and many other skills. We also have to look at females in the profession – why are the numbers so low? What can we do to attract more females to this field and bring some gender balance?

“We also have to include our wait staff and focus on how our meals are served. The waiter/waitress is very important to the overall experience and must be able to give information about the dishes they are serving. It all goes together. So our strategic plan has to look at developing all the aspects that go together with a fabulously prepared meal.”

Myers went on to pay tribute to the many sponsors and supporters of the team, “I want to say a special thank-you to all those involved. From the food suppliers - we have many who have been with us for years - to those on the ground in Miami who make things happen.

“There are also those who provide funds to purchase the necessary equipment for the team. As Chef Butcher has said - we can be more efficient if we are better equipped. We can really be top-of-the-line if the team is exposed to all the equipment that is available. So we have to determine what is needed as early as possible for next year`s Taste and any other Team activity going forward. This way we are prepared not only with our skills, but with our equipment also. We have to make sure that we have the funds to make this happen.” 


PRODUCT CLUBS REVITALIZED TO BETTER SERVE MEMBERS
Published on November 22, 2017

THE ASSOCIATION has relaunched two Product Clubs – the Romance and the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE), in continued efforts to better serve our members and promote the island’s offerings.

The first order of business for the Product Clubs was the recent appointment of Anderson Daniel of Barefoot Meetings and Incentives Inc., as the Chair of the Romance Club and Shelly Williams of Platinum Services Ltd., as Deputy Chair, as well as Helen Schur Parris of Sunlinc as Chair of the MICE Club and Nicholas Alleyne of Blu Isles Inc., as the Deputy Chair.

CEO of the Association, Rudy Grant, explained that both product club teams comprised of volunteers from among the Association’s membership along with key strategic partners who have a direct interest in the specific niche.

"Their mandate is to drive initiatives that will assist in the growth, development and marketing of key niche markets identified. This will be the first order of business with the new teams, both of which have hit the ground running.

Already we had a contingent attending IMEX in Las Vegas, America’s Worldwide Exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events. Plans are also in the making to attend other trade shows which provide the opportunity for our members to meet with key players from different markets and promote the island.

Grant noted that in the past, both clubs were very vibrant, “In addition to attending trade shows like IMEX, there was also the facilitation of training for local wedding coordinators through the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada, hosting of Wedding and Romance Symposiums, participation in FAM trips and the production of an E-MICE brochure.

“These are the kinds of activities we want to engage in again and to ensure that the Clubs’ team members provide innovative ideas to be actioned.”


ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL IMEX AMERCIA FOR MEMBERS AND BARBADOS
Published on November 22, 2017

A NUMBER OF our members successfully represented the Association and Barbados at IMEX 2017, America’s largest worldwide exhibition for incentive, travel, meetings and events.

The Barbados contingent, which included member hoteliers and destination management companies 
as well as Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) representatives, was well received at the three-day event in Las Vegas, which attracted over 12 000 exhibitors, hosted buyers and attendees.

Chairman of the BHTA Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) Product Club, Helen Schur Parris, also attended and said, “We were really satisfied with the quality of the IMEX buyers at this year’s show and have received strong prospects for both short and long-term group business.

“The overall interest in Barbados was strong prior to the event with a number of pre-scheduled client meetings for all participants and also during the event at the Barbados booth. We also had group meetings which generated a number of buyers as well as individual meetings which produced many group leads for the partners in attendance.”

Schur Parris added that it was clear that the MICE Market Segment has been revitalized, “Companies are more comfortable in the global economic environment and as such, are looking for opportunities to motivate their teams and customers. The future is indeed looking bright from this market segment, with a strong return on investment.”

IMEX Group Chairman, Ray Bloom said: “This has been a week when the positive outlook of everyone has ensured that doing business, planning meetings and events, continues to be a powerful way to regenerate and drive economies forward.”

With more than 70,000 appointments made, including 60,000 individual appointments and booth presentations, Bloom said: “For exhibitors and buyers this simply means that we’ve created more opportunities than ever to do business.”

IMEX America hosts the largest trade show and hosted buyer programme in the United States for the meeting, event and incentive travel industry. IMEX America delivers cutting-edge education, incredible networking and business opportunities during the event.

In October the Association relaunched our MICE Product Club with the mandate to drive initiatives that will assist in the growth, development and marketing of this key niche market for the island. Participation at IMEX was one of the first activities undertaken by the Club, with plans to attend similar events in the future, among other activities.

 


ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW BY CEO RUDY GRANT AT THE ASSOCIATION’S THIRD QUARTERLY GENERAL MEETING WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2017
Published on September 15, 2017


Good morning and a warm welcome to everyone. I wish to offer our sincerest condolences, prayers and support to our Caribbean neighbours who are now challenged due to the impact of Hurricane Irma. We wish them God’s guidance as they undergo the rebuilding process. The BHTA has distributed information on bank accounts set up by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, as well as information on The Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund facilitated by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) Relief Fund through GoFundMe. In addition, we have also circulated to members a list of items which the Government of Antigua and Barbuda requires urgently to assist the people of Barbuda.  Members are encouraged to support the relief efforts through the use of one of these initiatives.

DISASTER PREPAREDNESS.

Let us give thanks to Almighty God for sparing us from the wrath of Hurricane Harvey and Irma. We must not however become complacent. Given the active nature of the current Hurricane season, it is critical that we are well prepared to safeguard our guests, our employees and ourselves.

During the passage of Hurricane Harvey, the BHTA Directors were kept in touch via a WhatsApp chat to feedback in real time what was occurring on the ground. This was facilitated by the Special Projects Officer being at the Tourism Emergency Operations Centre (TEOC) and the CEO collaborating with the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC). In an effort to ensure that members are apprised of critical issues from the TEOC and the National NEOC, and to be able to feed in critical information, we are proposing to set up a WhatsApp group chat for BHTA members for that specific purpose. If you wish to be part of this WhatsApp group, please e-mail one mobile number for your organization to membership@bhta.org; copied to rudyg@bhta.org. This WhatsApp group chat will be strictly for business, and members are therefore encouraged to be guided by this.

In an effort to keep members informed during the passage of Hurricane Harvey a number of emails were circulated. Unfortunately, due to a computer virus from a spam email the majority of these emails were not reaching members circulated. In an effort to ensure that should our email server be compromised in anyway, we have set up two Gmail accounts, ceobhta@gmail.com and memberbhta@gmail.com to ensure members are kept informed.

We wish to encourage all members, in particular our Accommodation Members to have your Disaster Management Plans in place and ready for execution.

CURRENT DESTINATION PERFORMANCE

Visitor arrivals to Barbados continue to be on a general upward trajectory. At the end of June this year there was an increase of 8% in stayover visitor arrivals which represented an additional 25,896 arrivals when compared to the same period for 2016. The USA market continues to lead in the market growth with an increase of 18% with Canada also showing reasonable growth in the vicinity of 13%.

While there has been commendable growth in these two major markets the growth in Barbados’ main source market, the United Kingdom (UK) has been flat with growth for the period January to June 2017 being less than 1% (0.9% to be exact). This undoubtedly would affect revenues as visitors from the UK stay longer and spend more daily than visitors from our other source markets. The challenges of Brexit and the prevailing economic factors facing the UK are likely impacting arrivals from this market. Information on the third quarter will be available next week.

It is critical therefore that we design the appropriate marketing actions to significantly improve visitor arrivals from the UK particularly at a time when one of our Caribbean destinations, Jamaica, through their Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, M.P. has informed that “Jamaica had been campaigning aggressively in the United Kingdom (UK) marketplace and would not relent until it has sole position of the number-one destination for British travellers to the Caribbean.” The UK is our major source market and we therefore must act effectively to ensure that no one is able to “eat our lunch”.

The STR Report for the said period informs that occupancy in participating BHTA member accommodation properties has increased by 1.5% while the Average Daily Rate (ADR) is the same as for 2016. It is therefore appropriate to opine that the increase in overall stayover arrivals is not resulting in a similar increase in occupancy for our accommodation members. It is necessary that we confront the new realities and design those actions which provide new value-added experiences to visitors coming to Barbados.

Cruise passenger arrivals recorded an increase of 76,130 passengers or 21.1% for the period January to June 2016. Concurrently, cruise ship calls were up by sixty-four (64) or 26%. This is certainly good news for our DTS members who rely on cruise ship business. 

AIRLIFT WINTER 2017

During the upcoming winter season, there will be a slight increase in airline seats by approximately seven thousand seats when compared to the 2016 winter season.

In the USA - JetBlue Airways will operate a weekly Newark (EWR) service on Saturdays beginning 18th November until 28th April, 2018. They will also reintroduce a daily Fort Lauderdale (FLL) service effective 5th November, 2017.

The Boston flight will again operate on Saturdays and Sundays with MINT service on Saturday’s only, and New York JFK services will continue to operate twice daily during peak periods with the MINT flights on Saturdays.

American Airlines is expected to continue similar services out of Miami with two (2) daily flights.

In the UK market, British Airways will again operate a minimum of 10 weekly non-stop services between Barbados and London Gatwick starting 29th October, 2017 until 24th March, 2018. BA will increase flights to 12 per week from November 28th 2017 to March 24th 2018.

Virgin Atlantic Airways will introduce a new London Heathrow Airport (LHR) service on Tuesdays and Saturdays starting on 12th December, 2017 until 24th February, 2018.

Thomas Cook Airlines will commence a new weekly Saturday service from London Gatwick (LGW) effective 16th December 2017 until 17th March, 2018.

Air Canada will continue to operate its low-cost airline Air Canada Rouge for the winter 2017/18 season, with a Boeing B767-300 with capacity for 280 passengers, in a dual-class configuration from Toronto.  This schedule is similar to last season.

The Westjet Airlines schedule from Toronto remains unchanged compared to last season.

In the region, Air Antilles will continue their three (3) times weekly service between Barbados and Fort-de-France, Martinique, which began in February, this year. These flights will operate with ATR42 aircraft with a capacity of forty-six (46) seats, while Caribbean Airlines, and LIAT are expected to operate similar schedules and capacity as last year.

Unfortunately, Delta Airlines and Avianca Airlines have both suspended operations into Barbados.

DATA AND ANALYSIS

If as an Association we are to be able to acutely aware of market performances then our members must provide information requested in a timely manner. Our internal data collection suffers from inadequate responses from members in providing the necessary information being requested by the BHTA secretariat.

We have a situation where the BHTA pays a free service to accommodation members requesting them to provide information to STR. At present, approximately fifty percent (50%) of our members are contributing information. While our anticipation based on the properties reporting and the spread between the south coast and west coast properties for there to be significant deviation from the averages we have compiled it is still critically important that we have more accurate data collection.

The interpretation and analysis of data received will help to guide our decisions. We therefore need you by submitting information requested and providing the STR information to help us to do better serve you as an Association.

We are developing a new formula which will allow us to get a better view of our performance, particularly forward bookings and pace reports. Looking at historical information is important, but it’s the past. In order to plan for the future, we must also measure the pace of our bookings, so that we can identify possible challenges on the horizon and to allow us to take the necessary corrective actions to arrest problems before they become untenable.

ADVOCACY AND MEMBERSHIP ISSUES

We continue to lobby and advocate on behalf of our members during these very challenging times. The major matters to report on coming out of meetings with our partners and matters for which we continue to lobby are as follows:

  • It is now almost twelve (12) months since the forty-nine (49) additional items were requested to be added to the list of duty free Food and Beverage items.  We have been assured that all the relevant ministries have reviewed but as of this writing we have not had official notification.  This process is completely untenable one.  To bring this matter to a close we are proposing, as was suggested by the Minister of Finance, to request that the remaining items to complete the full list be submitted and a meeting requested with all the appropriate parties to bring this matter to conclusion.

 

  • During discussions with the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) we received confirmation that the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) does not apply to Hotels and Restaurants which receive exemptions of taxes and duties when they are purchasing locally manufactured products. BRA is in the process of revising the NSRL Guidelines so that this exemption is realized.

 

  • We have written to the Ministry of Finance to suggest that the reduction to 7.5 % VAT for Direct Tourism Services (DTS) which was to be clarified by a one-word change to the legislation, still outstanding, can perhaps be dealt with administratively.  We encourage members to put in their applications to BRA and let us assist with the processing as we have been able to do for some members.

 

  • Stand-alone restaurants can currently access concessions under the TDA for refurbishment but not under the TDAA for Food and Beverage. We are continuing the process of advocating for stand-alone restaurants to access duty free status on Food and beverage items as currently only restaurants attached to hotels can obtain Duty Free concessions through the TDAA where they meet the criteria set.  The BHTA has posited that stand-alone restaurants should be allowed to receive the same type of exemption of duties and taxes for Food and Beverage as restaurants attached to hotels provided that they meet specific criteria as presently exists. Meetings with the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, the Hon Christopher Sinckler M.P and the Minister of Tourism and International Transport, the Hon. Richard Sealy M.P have informed that there is no major issue from a policy perspective with this. The challenge relates mechanism for the implementation which we are told is currently being considered.

 

  • Further to a meeting of all the relevant parties to deal with the issue of fees to be charged in Folkestone Marine Park and the congestion in Carlisle Bay the BHTA wrote to relevant parties with proposed suggestions on both matters.  We have been actively following up and awaiting a response as well as guidelines for operating in both areas prior to the October start of the cruise season.   Our plan is to convene another meeting to bring some of the matters to resolution in the absence of the feedback required.

 

  • There continues to be concerns by members about the general cleanliness of the island. In most instances, we communicate the concerns of our members with the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA) and follow up with them. The BHTA as direct action to assist with the cleanliness of the island and in keeping with our need to protect core elements of our brand, is refurbishing fifty (50) garbage bins strategically located close to selected schools and in Holetown, Speightstown, Oistins and St. Lawrence Gap.

 

The main issues of concern identified by members relate to VAT returns; Beach Harassment; cleanliness of the island; approvals for expansion or new builds under the TDA; accessing the waiver of taxes and duties for items imported under the TDAA and the impact of the NSRL.

We met with BRA on the VAT and NRSL as was reported.  A few members reported that they have received some outstanding VAT returns. We will continue to highlight specific company issues once we are furnished with the information.  We wish to thank the BRA for their continued openness to dialogue and to the resolution of issues.

In a recent meeting with the Commissioner of Police we made reference to the issue of beach harassment.  As it relates to the issue of crime, the presence of the Attorney General here today is in response to our collective concern for protecting our brand. Both the AG and Commissioner are with us today and are available to answer questions later.

You are encouraged to provide information on those issues which are impacting on your operations so that we can discuss with the relevant partners when we meet with them.

 

PROMOTIONS AND ACTIVITIES

Brilliant Barbados

Our general feedback from Accommodation and DTS members indicate that this marketing programme has not delivered the level of expected results. One of the challenges has been that while this programme provides the option for kids to stay and play free to age sixteen (16) years many accommodation members already provide a summer programme where kids stay free up to age twelve (12) years. In the meantime, discussions at the marketing committee level have been ongoing to determine the 2018 summer promotion. The objective is to have this promotion agreed to by the time we attend World Travel Market (WTM) in November.

Staycation 2017

This year we partnered with the Intimate Hotels of Barbados (IHB) in the promotion of Staycation. From information received Staycation bookings continue to be positive.  This is good news for our hotels as well as for the economy as vacationing at home instead of abroad helps our foreign exchange reserves.

The Staycation focus has also been extended to the Caribbean market. The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) is in the process of completing a marketing initiative with the 2017 Staycation accommodation properties. This promotion involves collaboration with Going Places Travel and LIAT to promote Barbados in select Caribbean countries and offer these visitors the Staycation rates.

Art of Cuisine – Barbados Meets the World

In July, we launched the first Art of Cuisine – Barbados Meets the World, event featuring Barbados Chef Jason Howard and friends – Chef Jason Licker, Chef Marco Maestoso, and Chef Angel Betancourt. Three pop-up events were held; two dinner events at Oceans Two and Daphne’s Restaurant respectively, and an Afternoon Tea event at the Crane Resort. Additionally, training sessions were conducted for local chefs over a five-day period. The idea was to expose local chefs to new and unique ways to cook, to plate, and to preserve local produce available to them.

While there were some teething problems in the execution of the week of activities, the event was successful for many reasons. The creativity and output at the event was superior; we received tremendous social media exposure; our local chefs were exposed to new skills, and we realised the possibilities for our famers and chefs, in terms of the production and use of local produce. The linkages between agriculture and tourism were put in the spotlight during this event. The BHTA proposes to make some adjustments to this event so that participating members are provided greater value.

Divefest 2017

This first-time event which took place in July with some synergy with the Art of Cuisine event, was also a success. Substantial environmental awareness and education was undertaken. A pre-event focused on teaching one hundred (100) children to swim and to make them more aware of the marine environment. I wish to thank Andre Miller for the tremendous support he provided in making this activity a success. 

Crop Over 2017 and Carifesta

We have not received any official numbers regarding Crop Over bookings as yet, but anecdotally, it appears that the smaller south coast hotels performed reasonably well during this period averaging between 65% and 95% occupancies. This trend also continued during the Carifesta period.

Car rental companies reported a “mixed bag” with respect to Crop Over. Bookings were slightly up over last year. However, there was a very sharp drop off immediately following the end of Crop Over, which meant that the booking periods were not as long as have been in the past.

HUMAN RESOURCES

We have had a few changes and additions to our resources within the Association. Rhea Walker is the new Receptionist/Administrative Assistant. She takes over from Akilah Martin who had temporarily filled that position. Kathy-Ann Grant, the Acting Membership Relations Officer, will be leaving us next week having resigned her position effective September 18, 2017. We extend our sincerest gratitude to Kathy-Ann and Akilah for their dedicated service and wish them every success as they continue their professional journey. In the interim, Judy Wilkinson will handle all membership matters until a replacement is recruited.

Effective September 1, 2017 we engaged the services of Ethic Vision Inc. to work with us in executing our social media agenda. I wish to thank Rashad Hinds for the support he has given us over the past few months with our social media programme.

The HR Committee (Internal) has interviewed for the position of Business Development Consultant. A recommendation from the HR Committee is expected to be considered by the Directors at next week’s Board of Directors meeting. For the past three months Ms. Averil Byer has been providing temporary Business Development Consultancy services to the BHTA. I wish to thank her for her support and assistance.

LEADERSHIP 21

The Leadership 21, CVQ management level 2 and 3, is a highly recommended learning experience for managers and supervisors. This training is provided by Toney Olton and his team at The Potter Center.  We believe that there must be investment in leadership skills at the management and supervisory levels if we are to sustain a competitive edge in the delivery of our products and services in the future.

To support these efforts, we secured part funding from The Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council, and agreed to underwrite part of the training cost to make it more affordable to members. The fee to members is $500. The plan for this September was to have three cohorts, but regretfully only twenty (20) persons registered, which means that we will now conduct just one cohort starting September 19, 2017. This cohort will be for a duration of ten (10) weeks. 

Members are encouraged to take advantage of this type of subsidized training which can prove beneficial to your organization.

UWI SCHOLARSHIP DISBURSEMENT

The BHTA hosted two (2) golf charities to provide scholarship funding to students pursuing studies in the Tourism degree programme at the University of the West Indies (UWI). The award criteria which was developed in conjunction with the Tourism Department at UWI will be reviewed by the Directors at their next Board meeting. It is proposed that students in both the undergraduate and graduate programmes can apply for these scholarships. 

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • The Caribbean Society Hotel Association Executives (CSHAE) meeting in Turks and Caicos September 13 – 16, 2017 has been postponed due to Hurricane Irma.
  • CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) - will be held in Grenada from October 10 – 13, 2017.
  • IMEX America 2017 is in Las Vegas, USA, October 10 – 12, 2017.
  • World Travel Market (WTM) takes place in London from November 6 – 8, 2017.
  • The BTMI will conduct a promotion in Paris immediately following WTM.

 

CONCLUSION

While we continue to collaborate with Government to achieve the agreed benefits for our members the process is painfully slow. I speak specifically of the additional forty-nine (49) items to be added to the list of items approved for importation, the process of adding further items to be approved for importation and the inclusion of the stand-alone restaurants in the TDAA by utilising the same criteria as what exist for restaurants attached to hotels.

I know that this frustrates our affected members. It frustrates us at the secretariat. We will however continue with our efforts to ensure that our members receive the benefits of these agreed measures and to encourage our government counterparts to execute. These measures provide for greater global competitiveness for our tourism industry.

The success of our industry is dependent on our building of a strong team – Government, Private Sector partners and Workers representatives. The growth, development and sustainability of this very important industry which provides significant employment and is our country’s major foreign exchange earner requires that timely decisions are made and executed by all parties. We no longer have the luxury of time if we wish to continue to safeguard this very important industry.

In closing, I wish to thank the Chairman, Directors and members of staff for their continued commitment and support. We pledge to continue to engage and build relationships with all members as we continue to build our organisation and strengthen our advocacy.


REMARKS BY CHAIRMAN ROSEANNE MYERS AT THE ASSOCIATION’S THIRD QUARTERLY GENERAL MEETING WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2017
Published on September 15, 2017

“Protecting the Barbados Brand”

The Barbados Tourism Master Plan 2014 to 2023 includes this statement “Safety and Security is one of the pillars on which Barbados‟ tourism has been built and has thrived. Barbados is a preferred destination on the basis that visitors perceive it as a safe and secure location.” 

Tourism Master Plan 2014-2023 Report III . . Environmental Planning Group & HLA Consultants 96

Cleanliness, friendliness, safety and security are some of Barbados’ key brand elements.  Each of these require their own forum for discussion but today our focus is safety and security.  Our brand is the collection of attributes as a destination that we are most remembered and heralded for.  Our primary brand elements are determined by the feedback collected over many years.    More importantly is the fact that the Barbados brand has been created by what we think of ourselves and our own island.  We actually live where thousands come to vacation, so our safety and security and perception of such is critical. If we get it right for ourselves our visitors will derive the benefit.

I speak for the members of the association when I say, we are not having this discussion because we are only concerned about crime against tourists.  Those figures show a very well controlled and enviable situation.  Yes, we have some issues to deal with like beach harassment but we are alarmed by incidents within our villages and neighbourhoods that need to be dealt with urgently.  We are concerned about the circumstances that are affecting our youth and causing them to resort to what we have seen as unacceptable behaviours.  We are concerned that they are persons who must be facilitating these crimes through money and influence and we are clear that no one must ever be seen as “too big to jail.” 

We are determined not to be redefined by the wanton acts of the reckless few whose only objective is to make their families hold their heads in shame as they engage in a race to the bottom.  Whether at the foot of the crime chain or at the head, these persons will not destroy what we work daily to build.  Our reputation.  We are determined to do our part as it is the social partnership that has to pool its resources to deal with these issues, government, private sector and unions.

What we are about to discuss today is the ugliness that has raised its head as part of the Barbadian landscape and is a part that we stoutly rebuke.  Before we speak of these unfortunate people many quite young who have captured our attention in a very negative way, I want to take a moment to speak on those young people who have made us so very, very proud as they keep the Barbados flag held aloft.

Many young Barbadian men have taken a very positive path.  They have chosen not to be lead astray but to take the lead in putting Barbados on the map in various endeavours. I focus on the young men on this occasion but it is clear our young ladies are also blazing a trail.

Last month young Barbadian Shai Hope lead the West Indies Cricket Team to victory over England partnered by Kraigg Brathwaite and captained by Barbadian Jason Holder.  Well done young men.

A few days before that 25-year old Darian King made a name for himself internationally when he put up an impressive fight against Alexander Zverev in the US Open Tennis Championships. Darian did not lose the game, he just did not happen to win on that occasion but created history as the first Barbadian to compete in a Grand Slam.  Well done. Our young men have positive role models so they need to make better choices

In July our Segway Polo Team captained by Nevin Roach and including our member Brett Callahan, from Totally Barbados, won the 2017 WOZ Challenge Cup - Segway Polo World Championship in Germany, beating home team Germany into second place and Sweden into third. Barbados has won four times in ten years.  A phenomenal feat. 

Then we have 21 year old surfing sensation Chelsea Tuach who continues to do us proud and has won more international awards and accolades than any other Barbadian surfer. Known as the ‘Barbados Surfer Girl’, Chelsea has won competitions in countries such as the United States, Costa Rico and Spain and continues to fly the Bajan flag high. 

On the note of surfing we extend our condolences to the family of Zander and the entire surfing community who from what I have read participated in positive activities to make his family, school and surfing fraternity very proud.

Outside the sporting arena:

Twenty-one year old Johnathan Alleyne won the Royal Household Hospitality Scholarship in May, entitling him to a six week stint as part of the Front-of-House Team of the Masters of the Household’s Department at Buckingham Palace and then at Windsor Castle during Royal Ascot Week.

Jamila Sealy, the Caribbean Youth Environment Network’s Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean, received the Queen’s Young Leaders Award for her work to protect the environment. The 28-year old headed to London earlier this year to collect her award, where she met the Queen and also took part in a course called Leaders for Change at the University of Cambridge.

DJ Puffy continues to excel and of course our entertainment giant and business mogul Rihanna who just launched Fenty beauty, both blazing a trail of excellence in their chosen fields.   Closer to home we have heralded the accomplishments of the Barbados Culinary team but we know we have many young persons working in every department in our hotels, villas, restaurants, direct tourism services  that are  creative and productive minds engaged in building the tourism sector to the heights.

The list is not intended to be exhaustive but to indicate that there is more positive than negative and we have to keep the focus on the correct things while dealing with the issues in a constructive way.  Let us keep our positive and dynamic young people who deserve spots on the front page of the newspaper and in the headlines in their rightful position. 

Today’s discussion is “Protecting the BARBADOS Brand” and no one is more imminently qualified to speak on how to do so than the Honourable Adriel Brathwaite, MP and Attorney General of Barbados.  The AG has asked that we dispense of the formality of long introductions and extensive bios so I will simply say:

I first met Mr Brathwaite in his formative years as a young student at Harrison College and my junior in school.  I was a prefect and the fact that I remember him means he was either very helpful, and engaged in what he was supposed to be doing or he was not.  My memory is fuzzy.  He is an attorney at law having graduated from the University of the West Indies and Hugh Wooding Law School and he assumed duties as Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs from October 23, 2010.   I am sure that your alma mater is very proud of your achievements and it is with great pleasure though grave concern that we want to hang on to your every word as we listen to your thoughts on how Barbados can always be the Paradise that Terencia Coward so melodiously sings about, by “Protecting our Brand”.

Ladies and gentlemen, Attorney General of Barbados and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite. 


BHTA PATICIPATES IN TOURISM CAREER SHOWCASE
Published on September 15, 2017

OUR Members were well represented at the recent Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA) Tourism Career Showcase held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, as part of the activities for Tourism and Maritime Week 2017.

The showcase, which was geared for secondary and tertiary level institution students and youth in general, highlighted various areas in the industry including culinary tourism, agro-tourism, adventure and leisure tourism, cultural heritage tourism, community tourism and business tourism.

At the BHTA’s booth, the eager students were given details on the Association, its members, advocacy and the many careers within the sector, as well as advice on areas of study.

BHTA CEO Rudy Grant, praised the BTPA for including the Career Showcase in the week of activities, stating that it was important to ensure that the youth be fully informed on what the industry is all about and the role it plays in the economy.

“These are the persons who will be leading the tourism sector in the future. So it is very important that we engage them from as early as possible, so they are well aware of the importance of the tourism industry and the roles they can play from now,” Grant said.


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