Baptiste: Increased arrivals not fictitious
February 25, 2005
Baptiste: Increased arrivals not fictitious

Defending the prelimanary report coming out from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) minister of tourism and culture Rene Baptiste announced that there was an increase in visitor arrivals in 12.9% in June and 13.1% in July contrary to criticism by the opposition that there has been a decrease. {{more}}

Baptiste speaking at the launch of the Carnival Development Committee’ s 2005 poster, noted that the figures are “not a concoction like the famous cartoon character Scooby Doo” but are real. She noted that those who do not accept these figures are questioning the integrity of not only the Ministry of Tourism & Culture and the Ministry of Planning, but also that of the ECCB, since they confirmed these figures.

Minister Baptiste stressed that this country is being recognised as a place for cultural and special events or festivities, hence their reason for focusing on different aspects of tourism. She noted that areas such as yatching, eco-tourism, weddings and cruise tourism are other distinct markets in tourism and have contributed to increase.

Baptiste also pointed out that cabinet has commissioned three persons to work out the economic impact of carnival, which she strengthened must be seen as a competitive business. She stressed that everything in the world is competition, hence the reason there is a Caricom Single Market and Economy and also the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

“We have stopped hiding behind some sort of veil, that we believe will protect us if we are not competitive but nice,” she said.

The minister noted that when she attended university in the 1970’s Barbados didn’t have a carnival and now they do. She said everyone is now pushing their way to be better than most, and mas men, designers and other persons in the performing sector must realise that.

The culture and tourism minister also emphasised the importance of having efficient air accessibility to ensure the development of the tourism sector. She said that is why it is crucial that the Caribbean Star dispute must be settled speedily since a 37 seater Caribbean Sun is expected to fly from San Juan, Puerto Rico to this country which will increase visitor arrivals.