International Business (Offshore) and Tourism in Barbados: Mutually Exclusive or Symbiotic?

Beverley Patricia Beckles
Terri R Lituchy
Barbados is one among many countries in the Caribbean whose economic fortunes depend on the services sector, especially tourism and international business. This research focuses on business executives travelling to Barbados in the international business sector. Over a three-month period, 32 interviews were conducted in Barbados with participants from the international business, hotel, restaurant, transportation and governmental sectors. A qualitative study using the grounded theory was conducted to establish four main objectives; 1) To discover the relationship between international business and tourism in Barbados; 2) To establish which tourism products benefit most from international business; 3) To discover what was the average time spent in Barbados by persons on international business; and, 4) To understand stakeholder perceptions on whether a decline in international business would affect tourism in Barbados. The results found that executives from the international business sector visit Barbados on an average of 2-3 days mainly during the winter period. The two sectors that benefit most from international business are hotels, in the form of accommodation, and high-end restaurants. The participants perceived that there is a strong symbiotic relationship between the tourism and international business industries and should there be a decline in international business; tourism will also be extremely negatively affected in Barbados which has the potential to destabilise the economy.