Kevin Greenidge: The sustainability of the tourism industry from a data analysis perspective

Keynote address by Dr Kevin Greenidge, Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, at the BHTAs Third Quarterly General Meeting, Bridgetown, 16 September 2023.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
18 September 2023

I am deeply honoured to address the backbone of our nation's economic vitality - our esteemed tourism sector. Today, I'd like to delve into a matter of utmost importance: the sustainability of our tourism industry as unveiled through data analysis.

Tourism, as we all know, is not just an industry; it's the lifeblood of our nation. It celebrates our vibrant culture, pristine beaches, and the warm Barbadian spirit. But, as the stewards of this vital sector, it is incumbent upon us to ask: How sustainable is our current trajectory?

At the Central Bank, our team has rigorously employed the latest in data analytics to answer this very question. And the insights are both enlightening and imperative. Today I will focus on five key insights from that analysis.

1. Tourist Demographics and Preferences Are Changing:

Our data reveals a shift in the demographics of our visitors. The younger generations, particularly millennials and Gen Z, are displaying an increasing interest in Barbados. The data shows that over the last two decades there has been a doubling in the share of visitors under 35 years (whereby now over 30 percent of our visitors are under 35 years), while those above 66 years have halved. These younger individuals are more environmentally conscious and seek authentic, eco-friendly experiences. They are more inclined to support businesses that prioritise sustainability. They are also more digitally oriented and integrated and thus prefer destinations with strong Wi-Fi connectivity, which allows them to work remotely and stay connected.