BHTA concerned about the impact of sargassum buildup on tourism Loop Barbados

The content originally appeared on: Barbados News

Barbadian hoteliers are worried about the piles of sargassum seaweed along the island’s coast.

Chairman of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), Ren?e Coppin, highlighted that the buildup of the sargassum seaweed on the east, south and even the west coast of the island, could damper tourists bookings.

“Barbados is very dependent on coastal tourism and with any deluge of sargassum on our beaches there are concomitant negative outcomes for the sector. Up to the time of this report, there has been some increase in the seaweed, mainly along the east and southeast coasts, which are the Atlantic Coastlines. One member also reported some occurrence on the West Coast, which is very unusual,” the BHTA chair pinpointed in an issued statement.

“The negative impact on bookings goes without saying,” she added.

(FILE) Ren?e Coppin, chairman of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association.

Coppin revealed that BHTA members reported a loss of beach access due to the pileup of sargassum seaweed on the shore.

“I have a member who has had to deal with pile ups of up to six feet at times with the accompanying loss of access to the beach. That member has spent millions to deal with this matter including investments in boom technology, the cost to constantly clear the beach and to transport guests to other beaches. This member is possibly at the farthest end of the continuum but there are many who can speak to the resources needed to manage sargassum inundation,” Coppin disclosed.

The BHTA chair called on the Government and private entities to find a solution to curtail sargassum from coming onto the shore.

“We are ever optimistic that there will be continued investment in research to mitigate the challenge, one which we know has been partly caused by global warming and human actions. It is our hope that the countries which have been the most significant contributors to this situation will also step forward with funding to help resolve it.”

“The reality is that the beaches can take thousands of years to form and so carting away portions of the beach, bringing in heavy equipment, which can destroy nesting sites, and some of the other interventions we use, are not ideal. We may need to find ways to prevent sargassum from coming on shore and to work with the natural currents, tides and winds to mitigate it,” Coppin stated.