Ezine Business 2004
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Dr. Marrion Williams
Monday 09, February-2004
by Marva Cossy
Once again, tourism will be the limb on which Barbados’ economy will grow. Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr Marion Williams, made this clear at last week’s Press conference, which was called to review the economy’s performance in 2003 and to present the forecast for this year.
Williams said economic activity would expand by between three per cent and three-and-a-half per cent this year, on the strength of increased growth in tourism, construction and wholesale and retail activity.
Land-based and cruise tourism is expected to be “promising” this year. Airlift for the current winter will increase to satisfy demand for special events, especially the upcoming West Indies/England cricket Test.
She also said that tourism led the 2.2 per cent growth in the economy last year.
The data showed that value-added in tourism increased by an estimated 7.7 per cent in 2003, following nearly two years of recession. Long-stay visitors rose by 6.6 per cent in contrast to a 1.8 per cent contraction in 2002.
Williams linked that recovery partly to the early relaunch of the Best of Barbados programme and increased seating capacity out of the major markets.
Cruise ship arrivals rose by an estimated 10.8 per cent in 2003, largely on account of an estimated 30 per cent surge in passengers during the fourth quarter when several major cruise ships made Barbados their home port, Williams said.
When asked if she was not concerned about the economy’s dependence on tourism in this era of concerns about security in the travel industry, the Central Bank governor reminded the Press that the Caribbean was a reasonably safe location. She added that judging from the number of visitor arrivals and the fact that so many cruises were homeporting, the travelling world seemed to think that way too.
Referring again to the dependency on tourism, she said although it was a risk, it was a calculated risk.
Williams added that after global travel was affected by terrorist activity elsewhere, the record had shown that travel diverted to a destination like ours.
Compliments of the Nation News
April-2004 by MARVA COSSY
Dr. Williams told reporters: “This is the largest increase in a first quarter . . . for a decade”.
It also marked the eighth consecutive quarter of positive movement for the economy, which slid into recession during the April to June period of 2001 and continued on that downward trend until the third quarter of 2002 when a 1.4 per cent improvement was registered.
Yesterday, Dr. Williams told the Press that given the record over the last ten to 12 years, an average economic growth of about three to three-and-a-half per cent was usually quite sustainable for Barbados.
“Sometimes, if you go over three-and-a-half per cent, unless you can change the structure of production and consumption, you can encounter difficulties,” the Governor explained.
Williams, who was speaking at a Press conference to review the January to March performance, linked the most recent economic improvement to an estimated 7.1 per cent upturn in the traded sectors, mainly tourism. But she said this was supported by broad-based growth averaging around three per cent in the non-traded sectors.
The Governor’s report also revealed that tourism, which led the economy’s expansion, grew by 14.4 per cent, the highest first quarter growth rate in ten years.
She attributed this to ongoing economic recovery in Barbados’ main tourism source markets.
The sector also benefited from the use of Barbados as a homeport for cruise liners, increased airlift capacity, and the third cricket Test match between the West Indies and England, Williams said.
Sugar production fell by 9.4 per cent due to the late start of the crop; non-sugar agriculture and manufacturing also declined.
The wholesale and retail sector recorded a robust growth of 4.8 per cent, which Dr. Williams said was directly related to a rise in demand resulting from the strong tourism out-turn.
Output in construction rose by 3.3 per cent and inflation, propelled by rise in food prices and transportation, rose by 1.5 per cent.
GOVERNOR of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr. Marion Williams
has identified another condition for capital market development is the
establishment of ‘credit culture’ as an important plank for
capital market development.
According to her, it can be said that the development of capital markets has been retarded partly because of the lack of an entrenched credit culture, and conversely, that a credit culture has not become entrenched because capital markets are not sufficiently developed. < Read more >
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