Tourism Minister: B’dos will continue to be a service-based economy

Though Barbados will continue to be a services- based economy and will still heavily rely on its tourism sector to keep it afloat, the country can certainly bolster the economy by seeking to expand and develop its energy sector.

This was the view expressed by Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy as he spoke on in the House of Assembly last week, during debate of the Offshore Petroleum (Amendment) Bill, 2017, where he shot down suggestions that Barbados should move away from tourism in favour of establishing an offshore oil-sector. He stressed that there are oil-rich countries which are now looking to get involved in tourism as well and as such, Barbados should hold on to what works for the country.

“We are of the view Barbados is a services-based economy and that will continue to be the case,” Sealy said.

“The proceeds that come from this (offshore oil) sector have to be plugged into…the renewables that naturally have an extended life. The resources from the hydrocarbons are finite and therefore we have to think of this sector with the long view,” he stated.

“That thinking is not entirely original. Countries with far greater resources, countries with billions of barrels in known reserves, that are producing millions of barrels of oil, they are thinking of life beyond oil. They are looking to get into services, including tourism services. Some of them are trying to learn from Barbados, believe it or not. Oil rich countries are thinking about life after oil and here it is, we have potentially some reserves and we are talking about getting out of what we do best. No!,” he further commented.

“We think that we have to remain a services based economy and this in essence has to be seen as an opportunity to give a fill-up to what we are doing and that’s why it needs to be developed so responsibly,” the Tourism Minister added.

He meanwhile stressed that there is a clear vision on the part of government with respect to going green and being environmentally sensitive in generating our energy needs, noting that the vision is to be completely renewable in a half century. (RSM)

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