Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Kerrie Symmonds.
Tourism Recovery Task Force on track
This island’s Tourism Recovery Task Force, which has been set up to aid with the management of the present COVID-19 crisis and also assist in transforming the local tourism sector, is on track with its work,though its launch comes just a few days after the scheduled timeline.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Kerrie Symmonds, recently outlined the mandate of the Task Force, which has a number of key responsibilities, whilst stressing that tourism officials have been using the current downtime brought about by the pandemic, to reassess a number of operations in the tourism sector.
“One of the things that the Prime Minister felt extremely strongly about, was that we should have a Barbados Tourism Recovery Task Force,which would enable us to deal with or manage the response to the
COVID-19 crisis,” Symmonds explained.
“The Task Force therefore has two mandates: one – the management of the COVID crisis and the second one – the transformation of the tourism sector and the tourism industry in Barbados; and in that regard, we feel that we have done an adequate amount of service to the opportunity that now presents itself during this downtime” Symmonds said during the launch of the Tourism Recovery Task Force over the Zoom online platform earlier this week.
He noted that Dr. Kerry Hall serves as Chair of the Tourism Recovery Task Force, whilst Mr. Peter Odle is the Deputy Chairman and there are about four committees operating under the Task Force, to ensure that the sector can bounce back in the future. He added, “We are highly indebted to the Committee on Research and Development, for being able to get this up and running. The Prime Minister had given us a mandate of being ready to start by the second week in May. We are a few days out, so we have not done badly,” he said of the official launch of the Task Force.
Speaking to the need for the tourism sector to be transformed, he noted that it is the country’s lead sector and as such, now is the right time to make any adjustments the sector needs.“There is a more substantive aspect to the challenge which confronts the tourism sector in Barbados and in my view as Minister, I would be failing the country if I did not speak frankly to the fact that we in Barbados have to look, not just because of COVID-19, but we have tlook because of the fact that this is our lead sector and our lead sector has to be evaluated and re-evaluated and carefully assessed to make sure it is delivering those things that it is expected to deliver. And in my judgment, we have for a long time taken a lot for granted and we must now be prepared to do that kind of evaluation and where necessary, be prepared to embrace the reality of a need for transformation,” Symmonds said. (RSM)