IDB loan will enhance the appeal of Barbados as a cultural destination
With support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Barbados will increase the appeal of its tourism attractions, with a focus on encouraging more spending by visitors on its unique heritage and cultural products, enhancing the digital visibility of Barbados in the global tourism market, and increasing the country’s international aviation connections.
Tourism is the main driver for the economy of Barbados. The tourism industry in Barbados has repeatedly experienced cyclical peaks and valleys in terms of its total number of visitors and receipts. In 2015, tourism contributed 12% of Barbados’ gross domestic product, approximately 37% of total employment, and 60.4% of total exports.
A $20 million loan approved by the IDB will finance the implementation of three components linked to tourism development and governance in Barbados. The first component will finance the development of new tourism venues with an emphasis on uniquely Barbadian cultural and heritage assets, including: a new Visitor Centre in Bridgetown’s Old Town Hall Building; the enhancement of an urban tourist route through historic Bridgetown; and improvements to the National Museum at the Garrison and the Oistins Waterfront. The second component will increase the digital visibility and market awareness of Barbados as a cultural tourism destination in coordination with the private sector. The third component will fund the design and implementation of a new mechanism to select operating airlines to reinforce air connectivity between Barbados and new markets.
It is anticipated that this project will help the Government of Barbados by increasing the resilience of the country’s tourism sector, enhancing the appeal of the Barbados tourism brand, and connecting Barbados with various new markets. The program will be executed by Barbados Tourism Investment, Inc. (BTI), which is the official government agency responsible for facilitating infrastructural development for tourism. Several tourism entities will collaborate with BTI in the execution of the project in their respective areas of expertise.
The loan is for a 25-year term, including a 5.5-year grace period, at a LIBOR-based interest rate.
About the IDB
The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.
- Christopher Barton
IDB Project Team Leader