If you ask Barbados’ Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Kerrie Symmonds where travel agents fit in the island’s plans, he’ll answer succinctly: “Agents are important to us because agents influence the market.”
In this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press, he explained that in an age of technology when more and more people – particularly, Millennials – like to be able to “shape their vacation on their own,” there comes a point when people can’t find the information they need easily; they need a question answered; or they need someone who is familiar with the destination and that’s where travel agents fit.
“So we continue to work with the travel agents and we are still bringing them to Barbados on familiarization trips,” the Minister said.
Barbardos Tourism Marketing Inc. CEO, William Griffith agrees, noting that while Google is great, “what has happened is they’ve given you too much stuff. If you Google a destination or a hotel and they give you 50 or 60 different options and you don’t know which one to choose and that’s why you end up going back to an agent. There’s so many options now. So much stuff flying around out there that you need somebody to really get you into focus.”
Griffith also pointed out that for agents who specialize, Barbados offers so many different niches that include multi-generational groups, golf groups, destination weddings and honeymoons and a whole lot more.
And the Minister continued: “The other thing about Barbados is that it works for agents because we represent – and I’m not beating the drum now, because the truth of the matter is I just think it is true — not many destinations represent the cross-fertilization of experiences that Barbados represents. If it is multi-generational travel – you can tick that box for Barbados. If it is health and wellness experiences – you can tick that box for Barbados. If it is your honeymoon destinations – you can tick that box for Barbados. So that on a small island, depending on what your tastes are, there is a variety of things to do and I think that that is one of the things that makes it [Barbados] a more marketable [destination] for the travel agent.”
For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press .