De Souza: ‘ISIS driving tourists to Barbados’

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Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited Ian De Souza believes Barbados’ tourism industry is benefiting from the ISIS terror threat in Iraq and Syria, as well as low oil prices.

Although he provided no data to support his claim except for rising tourist arrival numbers, De Souza said he believed the uncertainties in the Middle East were driving more tourists to Barbados instead of venturing into those parts of the world or some parts of Europe.

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Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited Ian De Souza

“ISIS is driving people out of Syria, they are making a mess of Europe with all of the immigration [issues]. Sorry to use the word mess, but if you think of it, who wants to go to France today on a vacation?” he said, stressing he was not pleased with what was taking place there.

“So the thing about it is that those uncertainties are driving people to this part of the world. So we are benefiting, and in fact, I am sure you have all seen it in Barbados. In Barbados we have had a fairly good winter season and things are starting to look good,” he told members of the bank and the media during Republic Bank’s annual media mingle at his Vila Rosa, Royal Westmoreland residence on last night.

The banking executive said bankers were “in a privileged position of being at the top of the food chain” from where investors and businesspeople decided on what they wanted to do. It was against this backdrop, he said, that he predicted in early 2015 that the economy was on a path to recovery.

“So it is in that context I am very glad to see that there are things happening in Barbados and it is very interesting. You are now seeing the commentaries – Trinidad’s [economy] is turning down because of the price of oil. The price of oil is now helping tourism related economies because cost of travel is eventually supposed to go down,” he said.

The banker added that Barbadians had a lot to be thankful for, having gone through some difficult times and had to “eat the austerity pills that we did”.

“But from what we have seen now there are some green shoots there. The sun is starting to shine on us a little bit more,” said De Souza. (MM)

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