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Tourism

Barbados: Preserving paradise
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Taxi driver

Patrick Clarke
Taxi driver Patrick Clarke is concerned about the impact of large tour companies and all-inclusive resorts on his business.

Patrick started out driving vehicles owned by the Barbados Transport Co-op in 1987.

He has since built up his operation, often driving around tourists from one of the island's most exclusive resorts.

But he has found himself competing against large, local tour operators who have muscled into the traditional taxi drivers' patch at the Bridgetown port where cruise ships dock.

Although based locally, the tour companies operate through EU and US-based wholesalers to sell services to tourists who have yet to set foot on the island.

"The taxi guys have to depend on the passengers that are not organised by these tour companies," he said. "But we have to work with them, to see if they can give us a piece of the cakeÖ or else send our own people overseas to sell our service. We canít work against them."

Patrick is also feeling the impact of the self-contained - so called all-inclusive - resorts for which there is increasing demand in the Caribbean. He says he and his colleagues do not get as much business from these as from traditional hotels.

"It's not that the tourists don't want to go out, but there are so many activities they just don't get a chance to," he said.

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