The torture of properly planning a vacation can at times outweigh the benefits one hopes to enjoy while on a vacation. One has to take into account a number of factors when planning a vacation, including where to spend the vacation, the type of accommodation (hotel, villa, Airbnb), how long the vacation should last, and how much one has in the budget.
Speaking of a budget, the amount of money a vacationer has can also determine whether he/she will truly have an authentic experience in the country he/she visits and the types of opportunities one can enjoy like sightseeing, eating at a local restaurant, or enjoying an event.
Then there is dread of readjusting to the workplace once the vacation is over. “Did I give myself enough time to prepare for returning to the office?” one may ask.
With all these challenges, the Government of Barbados believes that it has identified opportunities that will make vacation planning a breeze for those considering the island as a destination of choice. In fact, the island’s authorities are hoping to target a niche sector of the vacation tourism demographic — working vacationers.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced that her Administration had been mulling the introduction of the 12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp to allow visitors the option to work remotely from Barbados for a year at a time.
Mottley explained that the stamp concept, now being refined for promotion, would allow “persons to come and work from here overseas, digitally, so that persons don’t need to remain in the countries in which they are.
“You don’t need to work in Europe, or the US, or Latin America if you can come here and work for a couple months at a time; go back and come back. But in order for those things to truly resonate, what does it mean? It means that what we offer has to be world-class and what we continue to offer is world-class,” she continued.
While at the official reopening of Primo Bar and Bistro in St Lawrence Gap, Christ Church, the prime minister further noted that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had highlighted some of the challenges associated with short-term travel, including the inadequacy and unavailability of rapid tests for short-term travellers.
Subsequently, in an interview with Dermot Murnaghan of Sky News, UK, she explained: “COVID-19 has presented tremendous challenges to those countries that are tourism- and travel-dependent and we have reached a position where we recognise that part of the challenge relates to short-term travel … So, if we can have a mechanism that allows people who want to…take advantage of being in a different part of the world — of the sun, sea and sand — and … a stable society; one that functions well, then Barbados is a perfect place for you to come.”
Indeed, Forbes contributor Michele Robson points out in her article ‘Working in Paradise, Barbados Offer Year Long Stays for Remote Worker’, that one of the advantages of the pandemic is the realisation that many jobs can be completed remotely.
While she acknowledges that short-term travel — business travel and short vacations — may take a while to rebound, she also notes that technological innovations such as Zoom and Teams, which facilitate online meetings, can make working lifestyle more flexible and achievable.
She further contends that introducing the stamp, which would allow visitors to the island to stay a whole year, would reduce the stress of security searches, overwhelming airport traffic, and the frequency of testing and quarantining visitors.
By implementing the stamp, Barbados may be able to strike a balance between importing COVID-19 cases and the loss of short-term tourists to the island’s economy.
Furthermore, it also works in favour of the avid traveller who can balance working remotely, meeting deliverables and enjoying the sights and sounds of Barbados.