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Barbados outlines strategies to improve foreign exchange earnings
BRIDGETOWN—Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr. DeLisle Worrel Monday dismissed suggestions that the island could grow its tourism and international business sectors by lowering prices. “Barbados commands a tiny share of Caribbean tourism, less than five per cent, and a miniscule percentage of global tourism to tropical resorts,” he said at the opening of the Week of Excellence here.
“So long as our prices are right we can sell to our full capacity; if our prices are too high we're out of the market altogether; and if our prices are too low we are offering our customers a bargain at our expense, unnecessarily. “If our prices are right, why do we sometimes fall below capacity when global markets contract? That is because we are maintaining our productivity relative to the competition, but we're not improving.
The solution is not to lower your prices - in a depressed market that won't get you many more customers, and those that you do get will probably be pinching their pennies. “Rather, you want to get ahead by outgunning the competition, through improved productivity. That way you can grow while others are at a standstill, or regressing,” he told delegates. The Week of Excellence is being observed here under the theme What is meant by productivity in services and why it matters for Barbados economic future.
Worrell said Barbados’ economy is fuelled by foreign exchange and the sectors that sell services include tourism, international business and financial services and energy. But he said it was also important for Barbados to improve productivity so as to earn vital foreign exchange. “Foreign exchange markets are highly competitive, and to grow your market share or to grow with the market you have to keep pace with the competition, and find ways to get ahead. The way to outrun the competition in the international market is to improve productivity.”
He said to raise productivity in services Barbados would need to “cultivate the individual customer; aim to exceed expectations, in every transaction; never leave the customer without the product or service they need, or without assistance towards obtaining what they need”.
Worrel said in addition, there is need to give “excellent value for money” as well as “deal patiently, courteously and fully with difficult customers and problematic circumstances. “These might not be what we think of when we think productivity, but they are the real sources of productivity, because they produce improved real value for the same input of labour and materials.” Worrel reminded delegates that the future of the local economy is in their hands and “we must figure out for ourselves what is the way forward, led by our own wit and resources.
“Each worker can make a positive contribution to their own future and the future of our country, by becoming engaged, motivating and empowering ourselves and those that work with and for us, and caring enough for the welfare and prospects of fellow workers that everyone helps out when the going gets tough. “When that becomes the pervasive culture of organisations and the society, we will have become a formidable international competitor and a byword for excellence in the Americas, Europe and the rest of the world. That must be our steadfast goal,” Worrell added. (CMC)
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