HomeResourcesSpeechesCEO Press Briefing April 2016


It is extremely important for us at the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) to communicate with members of the media on a regular basis. This allows us to update the media on how the members of the Association are performing within this industry. The media of course is a very valued and important partner and we want to thank you for being here with us this morning.

One of the first things I want to report on refers to performance in the first quarter of 2017. This performance was determined by two mythologies – the first relates to internal surveys conducted amongst our members and the second relates to survey results from our STR report (formerly Smith Travel Research report).

For the period January to March, occupancy, as reflected in the STR report, was down by 5 percent, while the ADR was down by 0.8 percent, which is relatively flat. As it relates to our surveys, the period January to March reflects that occupancy was down by 2 percent. Overall, that demonstrates that for the period January to March, what we can extrapolate is that occupancy, with respect to our members reporting, has been down between 5 percent and 2 percent, while the ADR continues to be flat. I should inform that May is presently trending ahead of May 2016, while June is trending behind.

Now let me just make this very important point. While June is trending behind by 6 percent and May is trending ahead by 5 percent, one of the things that may happen is that our members, as they have done in the past, may respond to the information which we provide, by offering special packages, promotions and discounted rates which could impact on the performance in June and could lead to it being better than was previously anticipated through the surveys.

We believe that it is very important that every effort is made to contribute to the competitiveness of our member properties. As you know, the Tourism Development Act (TDA) and the Tourism Development Amendment Act (TDAA) facilitate for what is commonly known referred to as concessions for tourism enterprises. I say commonly referred to as concessions because the benefits provided through the TDA and the TDAA facilitate a reduction of input costs and allows our tourism enterprises to be competitive.

We have to remember that in this environment we are competing globally. We are not simply competing with destinations in this region. We are competing with destinations throughout the globe and it is therefore critical that we are able to be competitive. With respect to the TDA and the TDAA, we have to ensure that the execution of these pieces of legislation is done in a more timely and effective manner so that our members can see more immediately, the benefits that come from them. As you know, we have 29 properties which are engaging in refurbishment and renovation work during the summer period and many of those properties have applied to the TDA and TDAA for benefits. In order to properly execute the renovations in a timely manner, it is important that at the administrative level we are able to see the benefits that have been identified.

Another element that is very important relates to the need to earn foreign exchange. We do not believe as an organisation that we should be simply talking about these measures but that we should also engage in a very active way to work with our members and our partners in being able to earn foreign exchange. In this regard we are working in our various source markets to encourage more visitors to come to Barbados. We are partnering with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) and executing a programme, Brilliant Barbados - Kids Stay and Play free, which allows kids 16 years and younger to stay free at our member properties and play free at our attractions as well.

We are also partnering with Expedia in collaboration with our Direct Tourism Services members (DTS) on a discount programme which offers a 15 percent discount for the period between May to October - one stay, one discount per activity  per stay, so that you are able to utilize the discount at participating attractions for your stay. We believe that this is an important activity which allows our collaboration with Expedia to bring real benefits to our partners as well as to earn valuable foreign exchange. There is also the Barbados Dive Festival, scheduled to take place on island July 5 to 9 which is a collaboration with the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) and BTMI for another exciting project. This will be launched soon and we are of the opinion that this will be very beneficial for our destination.

Additionally, the BTMI also recently facilitated presentations by their Directors of Sales for the UK, Europe, USA and Canada to update our members on the marketing, advertising and public relations actions the BTMI’s overseas offices are taking in our various source markets and to give the BHTA members the opportunity to ask questions, while facilitating greater collaboration and stronger connection between the BHTA and the BTMI.  The Director of Sales for the Caribbean will be making a presentation this month as well. Let me also reflect on Connect Barbados which is a BTMI hosted market-place event taking place here from May 10 to 13, principally with tour operators selling Barbados in our major source markets, which we are participating in as well.

The partnership with entities such as the Ministry of Tourism, the BTMI, Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA) and the TDC are very important because we recognize that to properly effect benefits to our members requires collaboration and co-operation with our partners and with our stakeholders.

Let me also speak to the fact that this year that we are engaging in a Staycation programme in collaboration with the Intimate Hotels Group. Last year we had separate staycation programmes, but we have determine this year that we will have one which focuses on Barbados and will also be expanded to the Caribbean. We are in the process of finalising the details of the programme which will be effective for the period May to November of this year.


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