Within the first 5 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional tourism already afflicted by a downturn in visitor arrivals faced delayed payments from major international tour operators.
According to the CHTA, by May 2020, 69% of hotels had reported being owed from US$200,000 up to US$15 million. In response, a Barbadian start-up, BookBarbados.com, was launched at the close of 2021. The e-commerce and travel marketing platform allows users to buy hotel and long term stays, local tours and Airbnb rentals.
So far BookBarbados.com has reportedly on-boarded 70 accommodations, 20 attractions, 30 experiences, and 20 car rental companies. The platform also received the endorsement of the Government of Barbados and was recently accredited by IATA. According to Josea Browne, Managing Director of BookBarbados.com, “With our commission structure, the one thing we do to make sure that we have inclusivity is that we absorb all of the credit card transactions; we absorb that part of the operational cost for the supplier.” All payments are processed in Barbados, either in U.S. dollars for international transactions, or Barbadian dollars for local transactions. (SKT)
Extract from the CARICOM BUSINESS Newsletter Vol 5 No 2
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