Sealy: Cuba may be a threat
Published on: 3/20/08.
THE CUBAN TOURISM MARKET will likely open up
at the passing of Fidel Castro, which might cause problems for Barbados'
That concern came from the Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy at last
Thursday's post-Cabinet Press conference at Government Headquarters.
"The morning that [Castro's] eyes don't open,
and Cuba opens up in a big way, we can have some problems in this part
of the world.
"It is going to be largely untapped and will have
a lot of potential as far as tourism development
is concerned," he warned.
The minister said that although the threat might not come in the form of
mass-based tourism or even take away from Barbados' arrivals, "what
might concern me is our capacity to attract investors who would find
themselves going into Cuba".
He said Cuba might offer cheaper land and business which would make a
more attractive return to investors.
"I have already started to make some changes with the Barbados Tourism
Investment Inc. (BTI) with the specific view to readdress this issue of
of investment in our conventional tourism plan and
I would think those efforts will be undermined when those opportunities
really open up on Cuba.
"So we need to monitor it and continue to make sure that we are nimble
and do what we have to do as
policymakers to make it easier and more attractive
to invest in Barbados," he said.
In addition, Sealy said he believed it was important to focus on the
traditional markets before looking into new ones, like Asia.
"My view, frankly, is that [Britain] should be treated separately and
any foray into new markets cannot be at the expense of our traditional
markets that have been good to us and continue to be good to us," he