“This is an interesting and perhaps the most challenging time to take up the portfolio of tourism, but it is perhaps also the most exciting time to be able to do that.”
Newly appointed Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, made this comment Monday while addressing the media at her office at One Barbados Place, Warrens, St. Michael.
She continued: “When the challenges are before you, that is the most interesting time and the most creative time to cover any issue and certainly to cover any sector …. So, I’m looking forward to taking up the challenge of tourism.”
Minister Cummins noted that at a time when tourism had “pretty much ground to a halt” as a result of international travel being reduced significantly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was very clear that Barbados had to go in a new direction, with respect to doing business and reinvigorating the tourism sector.
She said that during this time, the Ministry would take the “opportunity to retool, retrain, refashion, upskill, and reposition. We will strategise; create new tactical approaches, so that by the time international travel, gets rolling, again … we’re hoping that Barbados will emerge in a space that we could not have anticipated as a result of a challenging time that forces us to be at our most innovative”.
After meeting her staff, Senator Cummins explained that one of the first key challenges that she intended to tackle would be to review all of the research previously done on tourism, including sports, heritage and cultural tourism, and see how they could contribute to the overall economic development of Barbados.
Minister Cummins said she would be focusing on helping Barbadians understand that they are key stakeholders in the tourism sector, as well as the different linkages all businesses have to the sector.
“So, when we think of tourism, a lot of times, the conversation oftentimes is narrowly focused on certain persons and certain players who are in the sector. We want to make sure that everyone understands that they have a stake, they have a role, and they are meant to be beneficiaries of the tourism sector,” she stated.
Permanent Secretary Donna Cadogan, in officially welcoming Minister Cummins, noted that tourism is still the leading sector in Barbados.
She said, currently no other sector had emerged to replace it, and therefore the responsibility is on the Ministry to bring a ‘freshness’ to the sector amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
To do so, she explained that the Ministry would seek to mainstream and nationalised tourism more, as it engages the full community of Barbados.
Ms. Cadogan added that Barbados needed to sell a new image, and use the technological platform that is available more, as well as empirical evidence and data in formulating policies.