MESSAGE BY BHTA CEO RUDY W. GRANT
The end of March 2017 will be three (3) months since I have been functioning in the capacity as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA).
During these three (3) months attention has been given to a myriad of issues including the operation of the Tourism Development Amendment Act (TDAA) and the need to expand the items approved for importation annually by hotels and restaurants, which is of extreme importance. Attention has also been given to the impact on our members of the inability of the Barbados Revenue Authority to provide VAT refunds.
Further, meetings have been undertaken to encourage improvement in the operations at the Grantley Adams International Airport where the experiences of our arriving and departing guests need to be significantly improved. Emphasis has also been given to discussing appropriate regulations for unregistered accommodation so that all entities in the accommodation sector function on a level playing field and in adherence to standards that would protect “Brand Barbados”.
During the last three months it has been very evident that the global tourism industry continues to have as its constant, “change”. The late American actor Jimmy Dean once stated, “I can’t change the direction of the wind but I can adjust my sails to reach my destination.” It is imperative that we change and adapt to be able to provide value to our membership whilst as an Association we work with Government to expose the unique selling points of Barbados to our potential visitors.
In this globally competitive fast paced world we have to be at the forefront with new innovations and strategies. We have to be aware of the latest enhanced booking tools and ensure we create the correct combination of marketing strategies, tools and technology to expose Barbados to a greater number of potential visitors and entice them to visit our beautiful island. Additionally, the effective utilization of statistical tools to provide better forecasting will better prepare us to confront challenges while exploiting opportunities for growth.
An important thrust has been our engagement with members to obtain up-to-date information. In our effort to better execute our function as an advocacy organization we depend on you to provide us with information on the issues pertinent to you so that we can properly represent your interests. To this end, I wish to urge all members to respond to the survey requests which we send out. These surveys are very important as they provide us with data on how our collective membership is performing relative to the previous years as well as to inform on how business is pacing in comparison to the previous year as well.
As you are aware, tourism is a dynamic and competitive industry which requires agility and adaptability to understand and exploit the changing dynamics of travelers. Your commitment and continued support allows us to better position the BHTA to execute the critical actions of improving engagement with members, facilitating institutional strengthening, improving concessions and businesses facilitation, engaging in effective marketing, utilising more research and technology and increasing our membership.
I look forward to collaborating with you as we work assiduously to ensure the continued development of our tourism industry.