Tourism CEO move welcomed, says Govt despite GSD criticism
The decision to base Gibraltar Tourist Board’s CEO in London is supported by the local tourism industry, the Gibraltar Government said, following criticism from the GSD.
The statement from the Government is the latest in a row with the Opposition over the relocation of the tourism boss.
The Government said the Opposition’s assumption that the Gibraltar Tourist Board “will lack direction and leadership” because its CEO will be based in London “shows a complete lack of understanding of the day-to-day operations of the Board.”
The Minister for Tourism, Vijay Daryanani, said: “It is difficult to believe how the GSD cannot see the benefits of having such a senior person based in London.”
“The UK is the most important source market for overnight tourism.”
“London is the business capital of the world, where many of the negotiations and meetings with airlines, tour operators, and cruise lines take place.”
“The GTB’s sales efforts to the consumer and the trade are all concentrated in the UK and in the future, this market will be even more important.”
“Clearly, the GSD cannot see this and would have some believe otherwise.”
This response comes as the GSD this week questioned how shifting the role to London ties in with the strategic approach to tourism that it says is needed after the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But, on Wednesday, a statement from No.6 Convent Place said the GTB has an extremely well established and experienced team that looks after operations on the ground and will continue to do so in a very professional manner.
“The new CEO will regularly visit Gibraltar and with today’s ability to communicate virtually, the new CEO will be more than capable of carrying out any of the administrative and organisational tasks required both from London and in Gibraltar,” the Government said.
“In a virtual meeting with all the local stakeholders from Gibraltar’s tourism industry the Minister for Tourism has received complete support for the relocation of this task to London.”
“The industry shares the similar foresight that the Government has with the future of the tourism industry, not the stagnant policies of the GSD.”
“It is the industry that should be listened to at all times.”
For his part, Mr Daryanani said the GSLP/Liberal Government has been proactive in taking steps to “market Gibraltar, sell the destination and invest in the product in an unprecedented manner.”
“The results are there for everyone to see in the improvements carried out on the main tourist product and the increase in the number of visitors pre-Covid,” Mr Daryanani added.
“Even now in these difficult times, to see that this summer Gibraltar will have more airlines operating more routes to the Rock than ever before, is a testament to this Government’s unfailing efforts to attract new business to Gibraltar for the benefit of our economy.”
“As we look forward to a recovery in the tourism industry following this pandemic, there will be no doubt in the minds of the industry and in our community that the Government has been very proactive and that the professionalism of our teams and those of our tourism partners will bear fruit.”
“This last statement from the GSD just confirms that as usual they always lack substance in their thinking.”