“Trinidad and Tobago,” I patiently repeated for the second time.
“What?” She frustratingly retorted.
Although US and European tourists make up the majority of visitors to Barbados, T&T is a significant market for that island’s tourism industry. According to Stacey Hutchinson, business development manager of the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA), that is why Barbadian tourism offiicials are seeking to enhance relations with T&T through a series of seminars for potential visitors, travel agents and sporting groups. “It is only fitting and appropriate that we continue to strengthen our relations with our travel partners and the media, as well as encourage consumers to travel to Barbados for an amazing experience, or to attend one of our many events such as Barbados Gospelfest or Crop Over Festival,” Hutchinson told the T&T Guardian.
She was speaking at the recent BTA launch of a series of forums featuring hoteliers and tourism officials in San Fernando. “The Barbados Tourism Authority in association with its tourism partners has organised the event which provides a forum and a tremendous opportunity for us to engage and connect with our travel partners in Trinidad & Tobago and to provide an update on what’s happening in Barbados,” Hutchinson said. “The event also includes sports associations as we place great emphasis on sports tourism in Barbados. We want to maintain top of mind awareness of Barbados and to increase our visibility in the Trinidad & Tobago market.”
Chairman of Intimate Hotels, Renee Coppins, said Trinidadians account for a significant portion of the group’s business and sports tourism. She said intimate hotels represent 15 per cent of tourist accommodations in Barbados and attract small businesses and sporting groups with their cheaper prices. However, she added, the high cost of airfares is a deterrent. “Trinidad is one of our major markets so we do this every year in some form or fashion. We come down to Trinidad because this market is so critical to us. We know that Trinidadians love the Barbados product. We know it might be a little more expensive because of the airlift to get to us and Barbados is not necessarily the cheapest destination.“We are here in Trinidad because it is a significant market for us. We do a lot of sports groups and sporting activities such as cricket, squash and golf comes out of the Trinidad market. A lot of our business travelers coming to Barbados are small companies are looking for affordable accommodation. Again from Trinidad, they are coming to stay at our properties. Trinidad is a significant market for our group so that is why we are here,” Coppins said.