Tourism minister says Barbados already seeing signs of modest recovery but there is more work to be done
BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — In recognizing World Tourism Day, celebrated on September 26, 2021, Minister of Tourism and International Transport Lisa Cummins revealed the government’s plans for revitalizing the critical industry, with specific emphasis on greater inclusion for tourism workers on the ground.
Cummins noted that some 46,000 Barbadians were employed in the travel and tourism industry in some way, directly or indirectly, prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that while the nation is “already seeing signs of a moderate recovery”, there remains more work to be done.
She noted that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has already been signed with the UN World Tourism Organization “in support of skills development, capacity building and employment creation globally”, but outlined other initiatives also in the pipeline.
“We intend to continue our work in investing in skills, supporting green tourism development and developing all of our community assets, especially among youth and women, who have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the tourism sector,” said Cummins.
As she noted that “inclusive tourism is also people-centered”, the minister added, “The time has come for the workers in the tourism sector, as distinct from the enterprises leading the sector, to have a dedicated seat at every single table…
“Our tourism workers have tremendous value and they too must be included formally as dedicated stakeholders with a seat at the decision-making table.
“It is my hope, my sincere hope, that out of the experiences of this pandemic, dedicated associations of tourism workers will emerge to support the development of new skills, new businesses and to support development for the people in the sector, both those in formal and informal engagements who are directly and indirectly employed but all connected to the tourism sector.
“Tourism by definition is an all-inclusive service sector; there are connections with agriculture, with manufacturing, with services, investment, international business and to the key infrastructure services including transportation and technology.”
Cummins assured her commitment towards “a shared pathway for tourism” becoming a reality in the country.
Product diversification and the same access to capital are critical; all create jobs, whether they’re creating two jobs or 200, and therefore all are to be included,” she said.
“All support lives and livelihoods and support families. All must matter as part of our recovery.”
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