Assessing the Uptake in the Provisions of the Economic Partnership Agreement by the Barbados Tourism Industry

Ayanna Young Marshall
Sherma Roberts
The Economic Partnership agreement ( EPA) was signed by a number of Caribbean countries including Barbados in December 2007 and aimed at achieving sustainable development by establishing a trade partnership which promotes regional integration and the gradual integration of CARIFORUM countries into the world economy ( CARIFORUM/EU Economic Partnership, 2008). The EPA completes the trade provisions a set out in the Contonou Agreement, particularly Article 24m which deals with tourism; and makes provisions that enable Barbadian and other CARIFORUM entrepreneurs to establish businesses within the EU. In addition, the agreement allows access to independent professionals and self-employed in eleven sub-sectors to enter the EU and provide services which are relevant to the tourism industry (Article 83.3). Furthermore, the EPA provides unprecedented opportunities for small business to operate in some EU states and to obtain resources for capacity building and research. In general then, it was felt that the EPA would boost the competitiveness of the CARIFORUM countries’ hospitality and tourism industry as a result of trade liberalization.

Against this background, this paper examines the extent to which the tourism industry in Barbados has taken advantage of the provisions set out in the Economic Partnership Agreement and the factors that have inhibited and/or facilitated their actions. The paper utilizes a quantitative (online surveys) and qualitative methods (semi-structured interviews). The data has not yet been collected and therefore the abstract cannot speak to the actual outcomes. However, polemic and anecdotal information suggest that the uptake of the EPA provisions has been low among players in the Barbadian tourism industry.