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BHTA CONGRATULATES TOURISM INDUSTRY PLAYERS ON BARBADOS TAKING NO. 1 SPOT IN THE WORLD
Published on April 3, 2018

THE Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) has congratulated all players in the tourism industry who had a role in Barbados’ taking of the number 1 spot in the 2017 Destination Satisfaction Index (DSI).

Calling it a major accomplishment for the island, Chairman of the Association, Roseanne Myers said, “On behalf of the BHTA Board, I want to extend congratulations to the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., the Barbados Tourism Product Authority, all BHTA members and our private sector partners, Barbados Community College’s Hospitality Institute’s staff members, every single employee in the industry and all others who contributed. Job well done.

“All Barbadians should be truly proud of this achievement and the fact that we won with the highest overall world score of the 144 countries included and ahead of destinations like Seychelles and Bermuda. Barbados was also ranked highest in the Americas region.”

Pointing out that Barbados also scored highest in the Accommodation category, she said: “This is a testament to the hard work of BHTA member properties who strive to ensure excellent standards are kept and delivered daily. We thank you for your dedication to this very important industry.

“This win for Barbados is a clear indication that Government’s decision to offer incentives for the industry to upgrade and remain competitive is reaping results and rewards. If the incentives were more easily accessible, one could only imagine the level of renovations and refurbishments which could take place across the board to ensure that Barbados stays at the top in global tourism.”

More than 70,000 global travellers from 24 source markets selected this year’s DSI winners by rating their trips across the globe throughout 2017. In addition to assessing the accommodation, food and quality of beaches, they also gave feedback on their personal security, level of hospitality and the total cost-benefit-ratio of the trip.


BARBADOS CULINARY TEAM LOOKING TO BRING HOME MORE GOLD FROM TASTE OF THE CARIBBEAN 2018
Published on April 2, 2018

MEMBERS of the Barbados Culinary Team have been extremely busy over the past few weeks training and preparing for Taste of the Caribbean 2018, the region’s premier annual culinary competition, which takes place in Miami in June.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s event will see Barbados competing against over 10 other Caribbean islands including Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico and Jamaica, to retain the coveted title of Caribbean Team of the Year, which it won last year among other prestigious awards.

Team Manager, Chef Henderson Butcher, says the team is going for gold again this year, “Last year we came home with the bragging rights as the best team in the Caribbean, as well as Bartender of the Year, in addition to gold awards in almost every category we competed in.

“This year we want to match that or do even better. That is why these intense training sessions are so important. We train three days a week in the kitchen and bar but we also have paperwork/planning sessions, which are equally as important.”

CEO of the BHTA, Rudy Grant, while observing one of the training sessions said, “The BHTA is pleased to be able to support the Barbados Culinary Team again this year. I am very confident that team Barbados will perform well again this year and expect great things. I want to encourage Barbadians to come out and support the team as it prepares for Taste, when we host the fund raising Gourmet Series of events over the next few months.”

Grant explained that he was amazed at last year’s competition to see how the team incorporated the use of local produce to present delectable dishes, “There is an even stronger message the team is displaying when they go to these competitions and utilise Barbadian products. It is the strong linkage between tourism and agriculture. Recently there has been a significant amount of reference to our foreign reserves. The reality is that if we are able to decrease the number of imports then we can have less foreign exchange going out of the country.

“I am happy to report that at the BHTA we are collaborating with the farmers through our Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) project, which is being undertaken to strengthen the linkage between tourism and agriculture and to facilitate the consistent supply of good quality products from farmers to the hotels and restaurants.  

“We are extremely pleased that the project is progressing well and we are looking to expand the number of participating hotels. The MIF project signals in a very significant way, that if you are strengthening the linkages, then you can create a win-win for everyone.”


CHTA MARKETPLACE 2018 PROMISES STEADY BUSINESS FOR LOCAL TOURISM SECTOR
Published on April 2, 2018

THE Barbados delegation which attended the CHTA Marketplace 2018 in San Juan, Puerto Rico recently, returned home extremely satisfied with the outcome of the event.

 

More than 20 member companies of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) participated and Chairman Roseanne Myers was impressed with how the individual properties and companies continued to proactively promote their own products and services at such major events.

Noting that Barbados continues to be a premier destination of world-class standing she said, “We had an intense two days of meetings with tour operators, wholesalers and airlines and based on the feedback, we anticipate that our members can expect business to hold steady this year with the possibility of an overall increase.”

However, Myers cautioned that while the future looked promising, it was extremely important for Barbados to focus on such challenging areas as the experience of visitors arriving at the airport and the wastewater management issues on the south coast which, in their different ways, can negatively impact our tourism industry.

The CHTA Marketplace is one of the Caribbean’s leading tourism conferences and is attended by suppliers, buyers and media personnel. It was held at the Puerto Rico Convention Center and the Barbados delegation included officials from the BHTA, the Ministry of Tourism, the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA). The BHTA members present were predominantly hotels.

 

 


KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY MR. JAMES LIONEL ELLIS– The importance of Communication in Disaster Management.
Published on April 2, 2018

KEYNOTE ADDRESS

BY MR. JAMES LIONEL ELLIS– TELECOMMUNICATIONS MANAGER – NATIONAL EMERGEMCY MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION, ST. LUCIA

AND COMMISSIONER – NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS REUGLATORY COMMISSION, ST. LUCIA

BHTA’S FIRST QUARTERLY MEETING

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1, 2018

The importance of Communication in Disaster Management.

The subject can be used widely across the realms of our society but is often forgotten as the most important tool for solving difficult situations especially in critical times where loss of life and property is concerned.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

It was probably back in 1955 as a boy of 8 years I became involved in communicating during a disaster.

That year 1955 for those of you who can remember, was the year a powerful hurricane named Janet, affected Barbados and Grenada causing $7.8 M in damage and took 189 lives.

I was then a junior operator in my father’s Ham radio room, assisting in passing vital weather information from Barbados to Puerto Rico and around the Caribbean.

There was no other means that was anywhere near as efficient or with today’s technology.

Ladies and gentlemen, we in the Caribbean have come a long way, but it is clear to me that there is still a lot to learn and a lot more to do, if we are to be ahead of the game in communication in Disaster Management and to be more resilient not only to hurricanes, but to the many other situations that we may face.

Communication in disaster management is for every single person. To often it is believed to be only for the individuals employed in agencies such as DEM in Barbados, NEMO in Saint Lucia or NADMA in Grenada, to name a few.

Communication in Disaster Management is for everyone. It is important for every business man or woman, and worker and every home owner and citizen.

Those persons employed in the agencies that I have mentioned are only employed to focus primarily on the subject, and to make sure the general public is kept abreast with the dos and don’ts, and to help shape policies and procedures for any eventuality.

They also have to work as a team within all the areas of Government. In other words, the prime managers in Disaster communication are the POLICE, Fire, Health, Communications & Transport, among a few.

Police Dept. for Security

Fire Dept. for Search and Rescue

Health Dept. for life saving needs, medical supplies and the general health of the nation, including water which is always a major problem and Communication, Works and Transport for movement of people and services.

These agencies all work well within their own limitations.

However, the people of Barbados and the wider Caribbean still have a lot to do and to change, to be fully prepared to reduce the effects, and become more resilient to some of the disasters we have seen, far less what the future may bring.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as I said earlier, communication in disaster management is for everyone.

But let me hasten to say that communication in disaster management starts long before a disaster happens.

This is worth repeating: communication in disaster management starts long before a disaster happens.

Therefore, it must be clear that special emphasis must be placed on ensuring that every single member of staff is properly trained to understand this element of their job, duty and responsibilities.

It is not only for managers and supervisors; it is for everyone from top to bottom. Business owners as well as new or temporary employees.

Ladies and Gentlemen we have seen the effects of hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, vehicle accidents etc. But how many of us have experienced any of these?

How many of us have been trapped in a building, especially, trapped during a storm, or in an accident where you now have to spend time with someone you never had the chance to speak to, or said hello to.

Simply, how would you feel to know the only time you speak to a member of your staff is when you got a flat tire on your vehicle in the dead of the night on a lonely road?

Just think about living with someone for weeks in a place you would not dream of being in, day or night.

“Maybe some of us men would not mind if she was young and beautiful lady”.

But seriously, we must learn to communicate long before we get hit with some uncertainty.

How many of you here today have members of staff that you have never spoken to? Not even hello. I hope none

How about being in and elevator somewhere between the 8th or 9th floor of a building, and no one comes to your rescue for hours.

But ladies and gentlemen, it is not only in the work place it is also in the homes and in our private ways of living.  A disaster management plan for your home is a very important matter you and everyone outside this room should have.

Just after the passage of Hurricane Irma, I was asked by CDEMA to go into the BVI to assess the situation in that country.

My trip was on a private jet commissioned by the prime Minister of Saint Lucia, on board was the Director of the OECS Dr. Didicus Jules and Prime Minister Skerrit from Dominica, among others.

At that time we were unaware that another Category 5 hurricane called Maria was shaping up in the Atlantic. Prime Minister Skerrit left the BVI with all intention to be in a position to assist the BVI, not knowing that his country would be in need as well.

The damage done by those two hurricane was more than the Caribbean had experienced in several past events.

This leads us to believe that now is the time for us to have a different look at the way we think about preparedness in the Caribbean.

With our economies heavily dependent on Tourism, hoteliers must now shape and brace themselves for experiences that they can only hope never reach our islands.

Let’s take a closer look at the hotel sector in Barbados for example.

In the event that this island is hit by a category 5 or higher hurricane or any other disaster with similar effect, Electricity, water, telephone, road network   infrastructure all damaged, what do you have in place?

The mobile telephone providers are left helpless as in the case of the BVI and the USVI.

When every single telephone pole is broken or on the ground. Eighty to 90% of all vehicles (including those new ones at the dealers) are damaged with windows blown out.

When reserved water tanks are blown away or damaged by flying objects.

When looting and disorder is rampant across the island. People looking for food, water and anything else they can survive on.

When Police and Fire stations left helpless with damaged with no radio communications.

When the Grantley Adams Airport is damaged and closed.

Hotel guest by the hundreds trying to leave the island but cannot.

Destruction never seen before in Barbados.

This is what Barbados should be prepared for, based on what was recently experienced in Puerto Rico, The USVI, the BVI and Dominica.

What was significantly missing in those countries after the disaster was communication.

As a result of my survey, in every case, it was evident that the heavy dependence on modern technologies such as cell phones was a major, major   problem.  Even the service providers were left helpless.

Secondly, because our islands are well away from the mainland and our heavy reliance on foreign assistance, the recovery time will be very long and painful to our people. 

What I have been advocating across the Caribbean is to understand the most important thing in managing disasters is quick and reliable communication.

Here are some questions I would like to put to this gathering:

  1. In a national disaster, can any of the hotels in Barbados communicate with other hotels in a five mile radius?
  2. In a national disaster, can the major business houses communicate with each other within a five mile radius?
  3. In a national disaster, can any hotel communicate to the Queen Elizabeth hospital, the closest health facility, the closest Police or closest Fire station?
  4. In a national disaster, Can the Ministries of Government communicate between each other?
  5. Can the supermarkets communicate with each other or with other of the above agencies?

Ladies and Gentlemen, when before, during and after a disaster, communication between all of these agencies and businesses can be maintained, then and only then can Barbados and the Caribbean say they are ready. 

And all of this must be done without repeaters, telephone, electricity, etc.

The answer to this is two-way VHF radio.

Yes, your organization may already have this form of communication, but this may be confined to your individual use: Maintenance, Security etc.

However, the technology can be extended to adjacent establishments within a specific range, on another channel.

In Saint Lucia, NEMO has extended one of their frequencies for that purpose, making it available to all radio users. Every single individual, company, marina, taxi, security service, delivery service etc., can use this frequency or channel under the control of NEMO.

Unlike Barbados, Saint Lucia is a mountainous country where towns and villages are isolated from each other. However, with this system, someone with a hand radio in Castries can travel to Soufriere or Vieu-Fort and without changing the channel on the radio will be able to communicate with all the agencies in the area network.

In this country Barbados, this is even more applicable since the range of radios would be greater due to the flat terrain.Your handheld radio will do the same, whether in Bridgetown, St. Lucy or St. Philip.

Managers of Hotels should have frequent emergency exercises with their counterparts.

Dedicated radios may be necessary in some cases.

Therefore I hope that DEMS would be able to implement this in Barbados. But the BHTA can have that arrangement as well for the use of its members.

Ladies and gentlemen, we must learn to communicate.

Communication drills must be scheduled periodically and evaluated, without any of the normal means, so that you can know your strengths and weaknesses.

Talk power is very important:  In disaster situations, all the marketing and sales drives you have will be washed away unless you have the ability to communicate effectively within the boundaries of your establishment as well as to your neighbours and friends around you.

Your guests and other expected visitors to your hotel will certainly appreciate your ability to respond effectively.

So the importance of communications in disaster management should be very clear. History has shown that regardless how simple or severe the situation becomes, the ability to communicate is key to survival.

I wish to thank you for this opportunity to share these few words with you, but before I take my seat I would be willing to answer any questions you may have for me.

 

And as a Caribbean man, my services are always available.

Ladies and Gentlemen I thank you.


BHTA CEO RUDY GRANT’S ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT -FIRST QUARTERLY GENERAL MEETING March 14, 2018
Published on April 2, 2018

Introduction

Barbados recently obtained the Destination Satisfaction Index (DSI) 2017 Global Award as well as winning the Americas and Accommodation award. These Awards identify Barbados as the number one destination in these three categories. I wish to take this opportunity on behalf of the Chairman, Directors, Staff and members of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association in acknowledging the work of our partners, particularly the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA) and all others that have contributed to Barbados obtaining these awards. In particular, I wish to give a special acknowledgement to the Accommodation members of the BHTA in contributing to Barbados being recognized as the global leader for accommodation.

These awards reflect that our overall product offering is of world class standing. This encompasses our beaches, our culinary offerings, the warmth and friendliness of our people along with the safety and security of our destination.  

Current Destination Performance

The tourism industry continues to be a significant pillar of the Barbados economy. During 2017, more long-stay and cruise visitors came to Barbados. The latest arrival statistics provided by the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) informs that for the period of January to December 2017, there was overall growth in long-stay visitor arrivals of 5 percent and in cruise passengers by 14.5 percent.

The BHTA STR Report informs that for the year 2017, the overall occupancy for the participating hotels decreased by 4.4% while the Average Daily Rate (ADR) was flat reflecting a 0.1% increase. Revenue Per Average Room (RevPAR) for 2018 showed a decline 4.3%. However, 2018 has provided a very promising start with January 2018 reflecting a 5.3% increase in occupancy and ADR showing a 6.4% increase.

The internal survey of the BHTA reflects that occupancy for the period October 2017 to January 2018 when compared for the corresponding period for 2016/2017 showed a small decline of 1%. There was a 2% increase for the luxury hotels, a 4% decline for A Class and 2% decline for B Class and Apartments. The forward bookings to the month of June are presently pacing below that of 2017. However, it must be noted that the booking patterns are changing with a larger percentage of bookings being undertaken closer to the travel date. 

Based on the statistical information and the reports received from our partners at CHTA Marketplace in Puerto Rico at the end of January and the beginning of February this year, the BHTA is confident that 2018 will provide the opportunity for maintaining the level of business activity for members with the possibility of increase in business. We will continue to monitor and work closely with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA), trade partners and members to facilitate growth of this very important industry.

Product Development

As we attract and welcome more visitors to Barbados we have to ensure that we continually improve our product offerings. To date, we have been provided with preliminary estimates of approximately BDS $20 million that will be spent on the refurbishment/renovation of hotels. This includes the following:

  • Rosebank Apartments - $200,000.00 – painting of inside/outside the buildings and the changing of all soft furnishings.
  • Courtyard by Marriott - $1 million – refurbishment of rooms, lobby and restaurant.
  • Butterfly Beach Hotel - $3.5 - $5 million – room upgrades/ remodelling, new furnishings, addition of a new pool and pool repairs, upgrading of the public and restaurant areas
  • Coral Reef Club -  $3 million – interior design work to the bar restaurant and outdoor public areas.
  • Cobblers Cove Hotel - $1.5 to $2 million – addition of rooms, library/ meeting room, two-day rooms; enhancement of the reception, administration and staff changing facilities.
  • Sugar Bay Resort – estimated $400,000.00 – expected to guest rooms and facilities
  • Bougainvillea Beach Resort – estimated $350,000.00 – expected to do adjustments to the facilities and clean-up work from previous project.
  • Worthing Court Hotel – approximately $900,000.00 – repainting of each block, fixture upgrades, addition of balconies on the Deluxe Block, addition of private cabanas and improving landscape features.
  • Beach View Hotel - $100,000 – repainting of rooms, improving pool deck area and changing pool furnishings, the addition of new condos, pools recreational facilities, reception and office areas.
  • South Gap Hotel - $2 million – renovating public areas such as the front desk, pool deck and restaurant areas.
  • The Sandpiper - $400,000.00 – details have not yet been confirmed
  • A further $350,000.00 for works at Sand Acres and $4,000,000.00 for the 25 to 30-unit Banana Boat project.

As previously stated, this is only preliminary information so the expectation is that the total refurbishment will be more than this BDS $20 million presently identified.

It is important that I reiterate a statement which I have previously made. The provisions for the waivers of taxes and duties to hotel operators and tourism enterprises through legislation such as the Tourism Development Act (TDA), the Shipping Incentives Act and others create the opportunity for our tourism enterprises to be globally competitive. The significant annual summer upgrades are as a direct consequence of the ability of our hotels to access the waiver of taxes and duties. This also reflects the commitment of our member properties in providing new and improved accommodation for our visitors.

Advocacy and Membership Issues

The BHTA continues its advocacy and lobbying of government as it relates to the following pertinent issues: 

  • Revised Guidelines for the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL)
  • TDAA Exemptions for Stand-Alone Restaurants
  • Beach Harassment
  • VAT Refunds
  • Land Tax Rebate
  • Visitor Feedback at the Grantley Adams International Airport

On every available occasion we continue to query the status of the Tourism Accommodation (Licensing and Classification) Regulations. The BHTA has been informed that the draft regulations are being awaited from the Chief Parliamentary Counsel (CPC).

These issues require a timelier response from the relevant agencies of government.

Membership

The following actions are being undertaken by the Membership Committee in relation to enhancing value for members:

  1. 1.   New Members:

A review of the new member orientation procedure. The procedure to be followed included:

  1.                         i.         Approval of application by the Membership Committee and then final approval by the Board of Directors.
  2.                       ii.         An email notification to be sent out to the new member advising of their membership approval inclusive of an electronic booklet on the benefits of membership.
  3.                      iii.         The provision of a welcome package.
  4.                     iv.         Invitation to a membership orientation session.
  1. 2.   Existing Members:

The organization of a Speed Networking Session followed by a Members Mingle to be held on May 24, 2018.

  1. 3.   Membership Benefits:

Discussion on various value-added components which could be pursued to increase the benefits to members.

  1. 4.   Advertising Opportunities- BHTA Resource Guide:

The Resource Guide is to be further enhanced to allow the opportunity for additional members to advertise in this Guide.

New Membership Focus

The other matters which we have provided support to members have been member specific and members are encouraged to continue to inform us of any business challenges which they are having.

The BHTA welcomed the new Membership Relations Officer (MRO), Ms. Sunita Jones on February 12, 2018. We look forward to working with Sunita as we work assiduously to resolve member issues.

At present, we are thoroughly going through our membership database to ensure that it is properly updated. As we update our database, we are also focusing on ensuring that the BHTA members are financial. As CEO, I intend make a recommendation to the Directors at the April Board of Directors meeting for the removal of those tourism enterprises which are not up to date on their membership dues or have not made an arrangement with the secretariat for the elimination of their arrears.  Members are reminded that they participate in the Group Medical Plan on the basis of being a financial member with the BHTA.

BHTA Group Employee Benefits Plan

As it relates to the BHTA Group Employee Benefits Plan we propose in collaboration with CGM Gallagher Insurance Brokers (Barbados) Ltd. to host Educational Workshops for members’ employees. The Plan was renewed on February 1, 2018 and there have been some upward adjustments in rates. Both CGM and the BHTA are of the opinion that these workshops can benefit employees by familiarising them with how such Plans operate and how the Plan can be used to effectively receive the benefits while not causing rates to increase.

South Coast Sewerage Plant Issues

Our members particularly in the area of Lanterns Mall and Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary have been challenged with the issues related to the South Coast Sewerage Plant. While there have been some concerns in other areas such as St. Lawrence Gap, these have been short-lived. We have publicly stated our concerns as well as offer recommendations to the Government of Barbados. The management of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) has been very responsive to the BHTA and its members.

To assist us in better understanding the magnitude of the impact of the South Coast Sewerage Plant issues on our members, the Secretariat executed surveys for our Accommodation and Direct Tourism Services (DTS) members as well as to engage in discussions with selected members. The period specified in our survey was December 2017 to February 2018. The survey sought to investigate cancellations for this same period when compared to the corresponding period for 2016/2017. All Accommodation members reporting informed that cancellations for this period were higher than for the corresponding period. As an example, for one property losses for this three-month period amounted to BDS $22,000.00 more for the 2017/2018 period than for the corresponding period while for another property cancellations amounted to in excess of BDS $200,000.00 when comparing the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 periods. In addition to the cancellations, some members also have to spend money on measures to mitigate against further revenue loss such as contracting the services of private Solid Waste Management companies.

It is our intention to continue to pursue the matter of compensation for our affected members. Members are therefore encouraged to provide the BHTA with all the relevant information.

Marketing Activities

The following marketing activities have been actioned during the first quarter of 2018:

Facebook promotion

Twenty-five (25) of our members participated in a Facebook Promotion Campaign during the last week in February, 2018. The objective of the campaign was to encourage regional visitors to take advantage of LIAT’s special fare to Barbados that ended on February 28th with travel up to April 30, 2018. The campaign was extended to the first week in March to further increase the visibility of the BHTA-member hotels. The target markets were Trinidad, St. Lucia and Grenada. The Facebook campaign was embedded on the BHTA’s Facebook page and included Facebook ads that linked persons to a page that featured the participating properties.  This promotion was undertaken in collaboration with Intimate Hotels of Barbados (IHB). 

Culinary Team

The Barbados Culinary Competition took place February 7-9, 2018.

This competition selects the chefs that will be trained and from which a team to represent Barbados at the Caribbean and Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Taste of the Caribbean culinary competition in Miami, June 22 – 26, 2018. 

Ten (10) pastry chefs, fifteen (15) cuisine chefs and nine (9) bartenders participated in the competition. The results were as follows:

 

 

Barbados Culinary Chef of the Year (2018)

Barbados Pastry Chef of the Year

Barbados Bartender of the Year

Barbados Junior Chef of the Year

Winner

Damian Leach – Cocktail Kitchen

Rodney Corbin -Sea Breeze Beach Hotel

Shane McClean – Buzo Ostoria Italiana

Shamar Bishop – Cocktail kitchen

2nd

Nicholas Ifill – Seabreeze beach Hotel

Jamal Whittaker -Coral Reef Club 

Adrian Bryan - Mount Gay Distilleries  

Kiara Riley – Sea Breeze Beach Hotel

3rd

Willis Griffith – Nino’s by the Sea

Ezra Beckles - Turtle Beach Resort

Alex Chandler - Bar by Infusion

 

4th

Derio Boyce – Ocean Two Hotel

Shanese Phoenix - Crystal Cove Hotel

 

 

TDC/MTW Road Signage

The BHTA is working with the TDC to replace and enhance road signs in various areas around the island. The BHTA and TDC logos will be included on the signage.

Run Barbados 2018

The BHTA and the Tourism Development Corporation are providing sponsorship to the Run Barbados event.  Run Barbados attracts international competitors, their family and their fans who are accommodated in member properties. 

Chefette Fun Run 2018

The money raised from the Chefette Fun Run is donated to disadvantaged children specifically the Aunty Olga’s Needy Children's Fund managed by Variety Barbados, The Precious Touch Foundation and The YWCA Breakfast Program. The BHTA agreed to the sponsoring of T-Shirts branded with the BHTA logo which will be sold to assist these charity activities.

Rugby Barbados World 7s 2018

The BHTA is providing sponsorship support for the Rugby Barbados World 7s event through accommodation and sponsoring ground transportation.  This sporting event is gaining momentum and has the potential for further growth in 2018 and beyond.

Dive Fest Barbados 2018

Dive Fest Barbados 2018 is scheduled to take place Wednesday July 4 – 7, 2018. This event seeks to increase awareness of the coastal and marine environs while promoting Barbados as a destination for marine activity.  The BHTA is collaborating with TDC and the BTMI in the staging of this event.

This year, the goals of Dive Fest Barbados are to:

  • Teach 200 Barbadian children to swim
  • Host a Fun Day event for the children of tourists between the ages 8 -16
  • Educate children on the importance of protecting the marine environment and of overall awareness about our oceans
  • Facilitate Beach clean ups
  • Promote scuba diving, snorkeling and free diving as an activity for locals and visitors
  • Encouraging appreciation for marine life.

MICE and Romance Product Clubs

The MICE and Romance Product clubs have been developing plans to increase membership and also identify strategies to promote the specific markets. The Romance Product club as identified one of its goals to increase visibility of the local wedding and romance market through the use of social media.

BHTA/BWU Negotiations

The BHTA/BWU negotiation meetings are ongoing. Discussions have been progressing well.

Conclusion

The first quarter provides a very promising start for the 2018 calendar year. The CHTA Marketplace meetings with trade partners highlighted that Barbados is still a destination that is top of mind and which has the potential for further growth. We have to be cognizant of the fact that this a fast paced globally dynamic industry. We must therefore equip ourselves to function in this type of global environment.

I would have earlier referenced the legislation which facilitates the waiver of taxes and duties and allows for tourism enterprises to be more competitive. However, it is still difficult for members to access the benefits provided by the TDA, TDAA, Shipping Incentives Act etc. If we wish to continue to be globally competitive and facilitate the development of this industry then the roadblocks which impede progress have to be removed.

We commit to exploring with our partners those options which will facilitate greater benefits to our members and to work tirelessly on your behalf.    


CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY (MARCH 8, 2018):
Published on March 8, 2018

The Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) joins the world in acknowledging March 8, 2018 as International Women’s Day (IWD). The IWD Campaign Theme for 2018 is Press for Progress. IWD is not to be misconstrued as a day which highlights women’s issues but rather seeks to promote gender inclusiveness and gender equality.


Chairman’s Message:
The year 2018 has ushered in an era where women have been using their voices more effectively to highlight practices that have been harmful to their wellbeing and spirit internationally. The issue of sexual harassment has become an international talking point and we encourage all in positions of authority to ensure the workplace is free of these types of pressures for both sexes.

We must take the time to ponder on the fact that issues of equality of pay, creation of opportunities for advancement in the work environment and the inclusion of women in the decision-making process, in a proportional fashion, must still be given adequate attention. Boards of directors, management and supervisory positions are more effective when representation of both sexes is considered in appropriate and equal numbers. Jobs thought to be traditional for either sex should be examined to ensure no discriminatory practices are unconsciously applied.

The tourism sector in the lower ranks has more women than men and this too has to be addressed to ensure equality and inclusiveness. As an industry, tourism can also boast of a high number of women in senior positions and though the final count is not available, active involvement in the association at both Board and Committee levels have seen women at the fore.

Our quest is for equality and not dominance of any sex. Therefore, matters of gender and sensitivity to any type of discrimination must continue to engage our attention. We must continue to press for equal pay, equal opportunity and the fostering of productive environments sensitive to the needs of all employees.

We thank the women involved in tourism for their tireless efforts and the balancing act they do daily as the task of maintaining homes and rearing children still falls heavily on their shoulders. The BHTA salutes all the beautiful ladies in the tourism sector whose dedication ensures that this industry continues to be the lifeblood of the economy. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed and we thank you.


BHTA CONCERNED OVER NEGATIVE IMPACT OF SOUTH COAST SEWARAGE ISSUES ON MEMBERS
Published on March 8, 2018

Over the past few months many of our members located on the South Coast have been affected by challenges associated with the South Coast Sewerage Plant. Indeed, these issues have not only affected our accommodation and restaurant members, but residents of the area, schools and visitors to the island as well.

The situation has gone beyond our shores by attracting international attention with the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States issuing cautionary health advisories for the island and, within the past few days, members, especially those located on the stretch between Lanterns Mall and Worthing, have complained of increased overflows from manholes in the areas.

In our efforts to ensure that members receive relevant and important updates, and in order to provide key support wherever and whenever possible, the BHTA has been in continual communication with the relevant agencies and we have passed on all pertinent information to members via e-mails, telephone calls and WhatsApp messages.

The Association also hosted a discussion forum with the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) and the Ministry of Health (MOH) in January where members received a detailed update. The primary objectives of the forum were:

  1. To update BHTA members on the most recent developments of the South Coast Sewerage Plant
  2. Provide members with the opportunity to ask questions and have the necessary dialogue with the key personnel involved in resolving the issues
  3. Provide members with the short, medium and long-term plans to address the issues 

In February, the Board of Directors was provided with an update from the Barbados Water Authority’s (BWA) Acting General Manager, Charles Leslie, who gave a detailed report on the work being executed and the expected outcomes, which was also distributed to all members.

The BHTA has also been publicly voicing its concern on the negative impact the situation is having on members and calling for an urgent solution to the issues via press releases and statements, all of which have also been shared with members.

For a recap of some of the information distributed to members over the past few months, including the most recent BHTA Media Statement calling for the situation to be seen as a national crisis; video recordings of the two Government hosted Press Briefings re the Health Advisories and the Identified Solutions; BWA reports on the progress of the implementation of some of the identified solutions, as well as other relevant information/updates, please see below links:

 http://gisbarbados.gov.bb/blog/dr-estwick-multimillion-dollar-sewage-fix/

https://www.facebook.com/gisbarbados/videos/897570820407731/

http://gisbarbados.gov.bb/blog/bwa-update-on-proposed-injection-wells/

http://gisbarbados.gov.bb/blog/statement-from-ministry-of-health-epd-bwa/

http://gisbarbados.gov.bb/blog/nearshore-water-at-south-coast-beaches-are-safe/

http://gisbarbados.gov.bb/blog/statement-on-u-s-embassys-water-advisory/

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=889792634518883&id=271334199698066

http://www.bhta.org/index/resources/bhta-pr/media-statement.html 


2018 BHTA CHEFS AND BARTENDER OF THE YEAR NAMED
Published on March 2, 2018

BARBADOS has a new Chef of the Year, Junior Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year and Bartender of the Year.

They are Damian Leach, Shemar Bishop, Rodney Corbin and Shane McClean, who took the respective titles in the just concluded Barbados Hotel and Tourism Associations’s (BHTA) 2018 Barbados Culinary Competition.

Leach, who retained his 2016 title, and Bishop are from Cocktail Kitchen while Corbin is from Sea Breeze Hotel and McClean from Buzo Ostoria Italiana.

The winners and runners-up in each caregory now have the opportunity to join the award-winning Barbados Culinary Team and be trained to represent Barbados at local and international culinary and bartender competitions, exhibitions and other food and beverage appearances. That training will be under the guidance of some of the most celebrated chefs and bartender maestros.

The first competition appearance by the Team will be at the 2018 Taste of the Caribbean Culinary Competition, hosted by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) from June 22 to 26, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency in Miami, Florida.

In this regard, BHTA’s CEO, Rudy Grant said, “The Taste of the Caribbean event is a wonderful experience which will allow our team members the opportunity to display their mastery and creativity to food and beverage aficionados and professionals from across the globe. Moreover, individual participants will be able to compete for the honour of Caribbean Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year and Bartender of the Year, each of which has been won by members of previous teams.”

He further stated that in addition to the individual competition prizes, he was again looking forward to Barbados winning Gold in the much coveted Caribbean National Team of the Year Award category.

The full results of the Barbados Culinary Competition 2018 are as follows:

BARBADOS CULINARY CHEF OF THE YEAR (2018)

Winner           Damian Leach                       Cocktail Kitchen

2nd                   Nicholas Ifill                           Seabreeze Beach Hotel

3rd                    Willis Griffith                         Nino’s by the Sea

4th                    Derio Boyce                            Ocean Two Hotel
 

BARBADOS JUNIOR CHEF OF THE YEAR

Winner           Shamar Bishop                     Cocktail Kitchen

2nd                   Kiara Riley                              Sea Breeze Beach Hotel

 

BARBADOS PASTRY CHEF OF THE YEAR

Winner           Rodney Corbin                      Sea Breeze Beach Hotel     

2nd                   Jamal Whittaker                      Coral Reef Club

3rd                    Ezra Beckles                           Turtle Beach Resort

4th                    Shanese Phoenix                      Crystal Cove Hotel


BARBADOS BARTENDER OF THE YEAR

Winner           Shane McClean                    Buzo Ostoria Italiana

2nd                   Adrian Bryan                          Mount Gay Distilleries         

3rd                    Alex Chandler                         Bar by Infusion          

 


LATIN AMERICA GETS MAJOR BOOST AS BARBADOS ANNOUNCES NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH COPA AIRLINES
Published on March 2, 2018

The Honourable Richard Sealy, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, just announced a new partnership with Copa Airlines from his offices in Two Mile Hill, St. Michael. The deal will see Barbados’ Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) receiving a twice-weekly service direct from Panama City, Panama, commencing July 17th 2018.

“Today we are happy to announce a new partnership with an airline that we have been after for some time, Copa, coming out of the Tocumen International Airport in Panama City,” Sealy said. “I of course want to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Pedro Heilbron, the CEO of Copa, who we have been talking with for a number of years, for finally making this flight a reality. As a matter of fact, he is announcing the flight today and it is going to be loaded on the Copa systems, so Barbadians and Panamanians and persons from beyond the gateway in either direction will be able to book from as early as tonight to fly Copa direct between Panama City and Barbados.”

The new service will feature an Embraer 190, which offers 84 Economy seats and 10 Business Class seats, for a total 94-seat configuration.

A member of the Star Alliance, Copa Airlines is the flag carrier of Panama and one the leading Latin American providers of passenger and cargo services to countries in North, Central, South America and the Caribbean. Its hub of the Americas is strategically located at Tocumen International Airport in Panama, and it offers more destinations and frequencies than any other hub in Latin America, leading the way as the most connected airport in the region.

“It’s important for several reasons,” Sealy added. “The government has been embarking actively on diversifying our source markets and the Latin American region of course has received attention. This partnership with Copa allows us not only to get business from Colombia and Brazil but also the rest of Latin America and we look forward to seeing the Latin America market grow tremendously.”


Building on Barbados’ long history with Panama

Also citing the cultural implications of the new service, Sealy said that he couldn’t help but mention the very strong historical connections between the Republic of Panama and Barbados. “We all know of the role that Barbadians played in constructing the Panama Canal, so there are many Panamanians with Barbados antecedents, and of course there are many Barbadians who will be delighted to go and see Panama. So even beyond tourism, the cultural exchanges that can ensue from this service are tremendous.”

Outstanding tourism performance is the key

Sealy’s announcement comes on the heels of yet another stellar year for Barbados tourism. Preliminary statistics have already revealed that both the air and cruise port arrival numbers surpassed those of 2017.

Speaking on last year’s performance, Sealy said, “We were expecting about 650,000 long stay visitors and we actually are at 660,000, so we have gone past our target in a very positive way and we are also satisfied with the strategy of increased airlift, of increasing room stock, of improving our product offering, and developing better events, that we can continue to see these numbers grow; and more importantly that the economic impact will also grow, thus seeing improved economic opportunities for this island, and of course, improved quality of life for all our citizens.”


BHTA CONGRATULATES NEW GOVERNOR GENERAL
Published on March 2, 2018

THE Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) has joined in extending congratulations to Barbados’ newest Governor General, Her Excellency Dame Sandra Mason.

Dame Sandra, who was installed this month as the island’s eighth Governor General, is the second woman to have been appointed to that position.

BHTA CEO, Rudy Grant, said: “The BHTA welcomes the appointment of Dame Sandra, who has served this country well in her previous capacity as a prominent jurist. We wish to extend congratulations to her and also to wish her continued strength and wisdom as she performs her duties in the service of her country.

“As the second female Governor General in our island, Dame Sandra's elevation is expected to serve as a great inspiration for all women, not only in Barbados but, indeed, throughout the region and beyond. Her historic appointment reinforces the very important role women perform in society and the development of our country.”

Grant added, “It was encouraging to read that Dame Sandra, at her instalment ceremony, acknowledged being a beneficiary of the struggles and commitment of proud and courageous women across our region and internationally, who have made significant contributions to societies but who have remained largely unheralded. She also highlighted that she did not view the tasks of her new role as simply revolving around her being a woman, but noted that she was fully cognizant that it was her duty to serve all who constitute Barbadian society:  our men, women and children. This is a true testament to the character she brings to her post as our Governor General.”


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