Barbados Tourism: Repositioning A Struggling Country Brand

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With a theme of “Sea. Sun. Sand.,” the Caribbean island nation of Barbados relied on its tourism industry as a source of foreign exchange. Its official language was English, with laws and a cultural background based on that of the United Kingdom. Not surprisingly, most visitors came from the U.K., Canada, and the United States. However, the recent Covid pandemic interrupted Barbados’s tourism market, and the industry continued to struggle. Although the industry saw gradual improvement in recent times, the nation needed to address several challenges. As a starting point, its “3S” market position was being matched by other, larger destinations. In a promising step, the government invested heavily in the tourism industry, but that investment had yet to pay off. Moreover, the industry faced foreign-exchange leakage, as operators from other countries “discovered” Barbados as an attractive destination and constructed hotels that channeled at least some of the tourism receipts off the island. All-inclusive resorts and visits by cruise liners augmented the issue of diminished per-capita tourism spending. The island was also subject to any disturbances in its chief markets (as, for example, the pandemic), and costs were driven up by the increased value of the U.S. dollar, to which the Barbadian dollar was pegged. To encourage more stay-over tourism, the island’s tourism officials promoted Barbados’s other appeals, such as its considerable historical role in the history of Britain and North America, eco-tourism, and local festivals, such as Crop Over, which celebrated the end of the sugar harvest. Thus, the question became one of what Barbados needed to do to ensure the success of its tourism industry.
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Barbados; COVID-19; tourism
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