Trying to Unravel Government’s Tourism Marketing Strategy

Adrian Loveridge - Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Adrian Loveridge – Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Is the predicted 6 or 7 percent fall in long stay visitors during the month of January directly as a result of reduced promotional expenditure by the national marketing agency, and if so, has anyone put a dollar value on the consequential loss of tax revenue collected by Government?

Is this yet another example of a failed policy decision, as when Government increased the level of VAT, only to find the overall amount gathered, went down and not up? According to the Central Bank (CBB)  from $683.4 million in 2011 to $666.6 million in 2012.

A 6 percent decrease in arrivals when compared to January 2012 would represent 3,157 less people and 7 percent 3,683. Last January was already down over the previous year, albeit only by 0.8 per cent according to CTO figures.

What we should be asking is how much those missing thousands would have spent and is the current dearth of funds to the Barbados Tourism Authority actually costing the industry and the nation’s coffers more than we can imagine.

It doesn’t just end with tax collection, but has to take into account increased benefit payments due to lay-offs and reduced spending by those fully employed. And how will this also impact on overall occupancy levels during the critical four winter months and economy of scale and expense caused as a result of lower lodging levels. Of course these precious winter months also command the highest rooms rates, which in many cases helps the individual hotels limp through the softer summer period.

Are ‘we’ being pennywise and pound foolish?

A regular long stay Canadian visitor asked me why the BTA did not exhibit at the recently concluded Ultimate Travel Show held in Toronto. With a population approaching 6 million people in the Greater Toronto Area, all of which live within an hour’s drive of Pearson International Airport added to which a BTA office in Canada’s largest city, I could not proffer an explanation. Given the climatic conditions, the time of the year and the falling arrival numbers, it didn’t seem to make any sense at all.

Then looking through the exhibitors list and seeing many of our competitors who obviously saw the value of attending the show. Why were ‘we’ not there at a national level? The only Barbadian representative was Swim Barbados Vacations. From the region, those who were present, included Aruba, Belize, Bonaire, Cayman Islands, Cuba, USVI, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, SVG and the Turks and Caicos. Of course its not feasible to be at everything, but could not some sort of collective presence with private and public sector partners be organised to avoid, what clearly appears another missed opportunity. Despite the sub-zero temperatures and snow, provisional attendance numbers were over 12,000 persons according to Show Manager, Julie Miller. Clearly, the vast majority visiting the event, were there for the purpose of choosing a holiday. Just maybe, they were influenced to book an alternative destination choice.

Ironically, a large BTA delegation went to the CHTA MarketPlace which took place days earlier in The Bahamas. With the obvious lack of promotional funds, perhaps this event was deemed more likely to be cost -effective than the one in Canada and could result in driving higher visitor numbers.

0 responses to “Trying to Unravel Government’s Tourism Marketing Strategy

  1. Tourism is now an ailing horse and the BHTA has no means to purchase medication. Some feel that Barbados can sell itself without a visual presence at these shows. Sad state of affairs. It reminds me of a dog trying to catch its tail.

  2. @islandgal

    Minister Sealy is on record in parliament saying that Barbados cannot afford the medai houses on Madison Avenue, we have to be creative. Is it working?

  3. Marketing has been poor! Rarely an ad or anything in Saturdays toronto star travel section.charging tourists tax on their personal smokes, hmm

  4. Sorry to complain again, another sat. has past and not one trip to barbados in the ottawa travel section. Two page article on Dominica the hidden gem of the carribean, as well as trips everywhere else but barbados.Ran into a friend at the coffee shop sunday he told me he is going to cuba last minute, just saw it in the paper and decided to get out of the cold.I asked why cuba he said no reason it could have been anywhere, he just saw the picture of palms and sand and wanted to go .Anywhere except barbados because they didnt have an ad in the paper…..
    I must comment on the lack of co-ordination between the travel editors and the tourism boards Great big two page article on dominica not one trip there advertized, same with other places. You would think the tourim boards would know when an article was about them was being done and and have many hotels ,villas, and flights in the same days paper.

  5. Adrian Loveridge

    David,
    The Minister is speaking with a forked tongue. The BTA’s advertising agency is MMGYGlobal (used to be called MMG Worlwide). They were appointed intitially on a three year contract (January 2009) for BDS$16 million.
    Their NEW YORK office is 245 Fifth Avenue NY10016

    Do you really think the office rental/freehold purchase is cheaper on Fifth Avenue than Madison Avenue?

    According to Clayton Reid, MMG’s CEO, they are still working for the BTA on a monthly retainer.

  6. millertheanunnaki

    @ Adrian:

    There is no tourism strategy to unravel. This government is both financially embarrassed and bereft of ideas.
    This winter season will not be bringing home the bacon as the Governor of the CBB was banking on. Barbados is now up a creek without a paddle and no political party can save her sorry tail.
    Poor Cinderella has lost both slippers in the snow trying to get to this Winter’s ball.
    But the government don’t care since they can always fool the people that the tourism industry is a modern form of slavery and will be replaced with the planting of unoccupied houses for the processing of specialty sugars along with the export of Solar Renewable Energy to Canada and the UK.
    Instead of the tourists from these blustery cold arctic temperature places coming to Barbados in an aluminum tube called an aeroplane to be pandered to, we can ship to them canned solar energy for sun tanning and heating. Never mind we will soon be unable to pay for our imported petrol and fuel oil from Trinidad. But we can always eat the houses that have been planted instead importing food when the foreign money runs out.

    Sorry to be so ridiculous by taking the ‘mickey’ but the response by this government to our bread and butter industry really is nothing but downright scandalous in light of the bad press the country has been receiving recently. The behaviour of this government in the face of such wanton dismissal and arrogant silence on such a grave matter vital to our economic survival can only be described as their intention of killing the proverbial ‘goose that lays the golden eggs’.

    Given your consistent and constructively critical contributions on the state of our most precious forex earning industry, don’t be surprised if some idiots called for your deportation if the DLP administration is returned to office. Nothing is beyond politicians. It has happened in the past.

  7. @millertheanunnaki | February 4, 2013 at 9:21 AM | My friend, you are not being at all rediculous. You have put it most correctly in a nutshell.

    @Adrian, take note, but do NOT back off. Any really concerned government will listen to you and heed your warnings.

    What the hell can you expect? Due to the lack of a justice system and any sort of respect by the courts or the politicians for the Constitution, Barbados has no civil rights or liberties and this has fatally prejudiced off shore investment. Due to the CoP and the DPP, Barbados has been internationally exposed as a country where tourists, if victims of crime, are treated as criminals themselves with no respect or empathy or sympathy shown to them and instead see torture used as an expedient means to extract “confessions” from the innocent. Meanwhile, there are MANY other warm winter holiday destinations competing that DO have working justice systems and do offer protection and sympathy and assistance to vitims of crime, without resorting to the torture of suspects and coerced confessions.

    Until these matters are comprehensively addressed, our tourism market and overseas investments will be terminally affected. Yet, no wannbe MP and no political party has seen fit to use this as a platform for election. So, we can expect more of the same, no matter who gets into office, until, as my friend the Miller has pointed out before, the leadership of these parties come into the hands and control of younger and more global thinking people like, dare I say it, the statesmanlike MAM

  8. Georgie Porgie

    THE PITONS ARE UNDOUBTEDLY ONE OF THE MOST GLORIOUS SITES IN THE WORLD

  9. “no political party has seen fit to use this as a platform for election”
    BECAUSEBOTH PARTIES HAVING OUTLIVED THEIR USEFULNESS ARE BOTH INTELLECTUALY BEREFT OF IDEAS TO MANAGE AN INDUSTRY WHICH CALLS FOR MORE THAN PLATFORM POLITICAL RHETORIC.

  10. Anybody see the Bahamas advert during the superbowl?

  11. @Peltdownman

    Word is that BAH ad cost 8 million?

  12. Jamaica got some good coverage.

  13. Fractured BLP

    Owen Arthur says 2013 is about LEADERSHIP .

    Why is he ducking from the leadership debate between himself and the Prime Minister ?

    But then again in 2008……as PM Arthur he DUCKED the debate with the then Opposition Leader !

    We found out why later !!!

    Miller , in case you forgot…..go and CHEQUE it out !

    2013 is heading the same way again….!

  14. millertheanunnaki

    @ Fractured BLP | February 4, 2013 at 2:51 PM |

    We all know you are just one fractured if not broken record stuck in the past of a pre-2008 political landscape of Barbados. The world has moved on and it would do both you and the DLP good to take on board the constructive feedback on our tourism industry that is freely given here on BU by those who have nothing but genuine interest and concern for this once beautiful and proud country called Barbados.

    Most of us –some near or past retirement age and heading for the departure lounge for the Light in the heavens- have nothing to gain financially or else wise other than NOT asking what this country can do for us or “what is in it for me” but what we as individuals can do to see this country move forward positively and not go the way of surfacing degradation and despair.

    We don’t want this country to be known as the blighted “Badbados” now fast becoming a shadow of her former self.
    Do you get where we are coming from, Fractured? Or is that too much to ask of your fried brain cells sautéed in yellow blinkered oil and the devil’s lying potpourri (DLP) sauce?

  15. Fractured BLP

    Miller , understandably you are a tormented soul .

    Go take a bush bath .

  16. millertheanunnaki

    @ Fractured BLP | February 4, 2013 at 5:40 PM |

    Au contraire, it’s well with my soul! The miller has already booked a one-way first class ticket; with a special massage with anointed oil on offer.
    What about yours, you Fractured fool, for on the 21st yours it will be required of you!

  17. @David

    CBS charged between 3.8 & 4 million for a 30 second Super Bowl Ad, if that commercial ran on the main CCBS feed it would cost about 8 million US. What is the Bahamian Tourism advertising budget? One other thing they allow Casino gambling in the Bahamas (not to locals) so that pulls in a lot of tourists.

    In Canada the Super Bowl is simulcast so unless one has a satellite with a US feed or make the trip to a bar you’ll see very few US commercials during the game.

    What do you think of this commercial?

  18. @Sargeant

    Bahamas can almost be described as the 51st state of the US, its main tourist market. There is justification in using the Superbowl opportunity for them in this context.Personally the BU household is split in out support of the ad.

  19. @Miller
    You should ignore “Fracture” and ask the BLP to accept the “constructive feed back” from the Hotelier come Feb.22-2013, since you are so sure that they will assume Office. But…. Mr. Loveridge tried to provide “constructive feedback” to the BLP before and as you know that “feedback’ was rejected and the former Minister of Tourism was so insulted when Mr. Loveridge posed a question to him on the airways that he stormed out of the studio muttering something about “a poor black man”.

    We have heard about the $64,000 question in the US, in Barbados our bar is set a little lower so that question became the $40,000. The DLP was so enamoured of Mr. Loveridge that when it came to power he was immediately placed on the BTA Board but alas that didn’t last long. So assuming the BLP regains power will the Minister be willing to listen to Mr. Loveridge? Will he let bygones be bygones? Is he older and wiser? (older he is ,wiser the jury is still out but given his attack on a man who is deceased I doubt that)

    I am assuming that a BLP Gov’t will see the return of the Minister after all he is still their spokesman on Tourism affairs (but he may be shunted off to some Dept. where he can do no harm e.g. Minister without Portfolio.)

  20. @David
    I heard conversation around this ad before I even saw it, there was no ad extolling the virtues of Jamaica during the Super Bowl but the subliminal message is priceless because Jamaica became part of the conversation and immediately people who want to get away will think of going there when they see the ad.

    The Jamaica Tourist Board received a “product placement” without spending a farthing.

  21. Around here good news is frowned on but the number of cruise ships in Bridgetown Harbour of late are fantastic to see. Glad to see taxi drivers on the go with happy tourists everytime you drive on Spring Garden.
    Dont expect to hear fromLoveridge and Bad News Dass on the cruise ship success because obviously a marketing strategy is at work.

  22. Adrian Loveridge

    Taximan,
    ‘a marketing strategy is at work’

    Interesting observations, but I am afraid the facts speak for themselves:

    CRUISE SHIP ARRIVALS 2012 (P)
    Arrivals DOWN 15.2 per cent (thats 92,408 LESS passengers)
    Landed Passengers DOWN 19.3 per cent
    Number of Vessels DOWN 8.4 per cent

    In fact of the total of 517,436 cruise ship passengers, ONLY 98,532 passengers left the ships for the whole of 2012.
    THATS LESS THAN ONE IN FIVE (or 19 per cent)

    Mr. Taximan if you are doing well. GREAT!
    But that is certainly NOT the result of any successful marketing strategy.

    Figures compliments of Barbados Statistical Service.

  23. @Adrian

    Walk us through the cruise ship numbers as posted by BSS.

    http://www.barstats.gov.bb/files/documents/Dec_2011_and_2012_compared.pdf

  24. Adrian Loveridge

    David, I think my previous posting to Taximan says it all, but to elaborate.
    Of all the 2012 cruise ship passengers, only roughly 19 per cent were deemed by the BSS as ‘landed’. In other words left the ship. Of this total 98,532 ‘landed’ passengers this included ‘direct-transits or transfer passengers, tourists and Barbadian Residents, so the actual number that COULD have spent any money is way below 98,532 or less than ONE in FIVE of total cruise passengers.

  25. The Guyanese immigration issue a few years ago exposed the inefficient MIS setup at the Immigration Department. What is the status?

  26. Piece Uh De Rock Yeah Right!

    @ David

    It still languishing but Ermine Griffith will tell you differently

  27. @ Loveridge ,David,

    Of all the 2012 cruise ship passengers,

    Hello peoples its 2013 wake up the Bridgetown Port is bursting at the seams with big arse cruise ships everyday I am a taximan you cant fool me.

  28. @Multimoniker aka Taximan

    BU will defer to your anecdotal view. It is truly the silly season.

  29. Gabriel Tackle

    @David
    Yesterday’s Telegraph(UK) carried a story on a study done by PWC for BA,Virgin,Ryanair and Easy Jet and it’s calling for the abolition of the APD tax,currently estimated to yield 10-12Billion UK pounds to the treasury but which the study forecast can lead to an immediate boost to the UK economy and input 16 Bn Pounds by 2015,pull it out of its current recession immediately and provide 60,000 jobs in the UK by 2020

  30. we better hope AL-Qaeda dont bomb one of them cruse ships or that done.
    as for barbados.the world now knows what barbados is.i have spoken to several white women who were robbed,cheated on,and used to get a jet ski by bajan men.so the world is catching on to the bajan way.lies and filth.
    http://wp.me/p31iji-2p

  31. Taximan meets taxman I made nothing business really bad… no ships

  32. Adrian Loveridge

    Taximan,

    ‘bursting at the seams’

    Hopefully this will continue past February.
    To make that happen 2013 will have to average an almost 18 per cent increase in cruise ship passengers JUST to make up for 2012, let alone show a meaningful increase
    How likely is that Mr. Taximan?

  33. Jus Mekkin Sport

    Lets leave all the extraneous destructive elements to our tourist industry to one side for a minute.
    “Charity begins at home”
    We have enough “home bred” destruction at large .
    How many would be tourists to Barbados ,give us a miss because of :

    The Police Comissioner Mr Dottin,who makes ” Clusoe” appear as a genius,who infers that whites are so stupid as not to know one Bajun from the next,.
    Who absolutely instills confidence ,that tourists will be safe in Barbados.
    While at the same time,women tourists are raped ,prominent visitors are stabbed as they enter the multi million $ house they have rented.
    Then we have:
    A Director of Public Prosecution Charles Leacock.
    Who Allows Murderers to “get away with Murder”
    Makes statements that women who refuse sex to men are “Provoking” the men therefore justifying,these same men to kill them.
    Allows men who torture and kill a young white girl to plead Manslaughter .

    All of these matters receiving massive International press coverage that far out weighs the pityful coverage of the “good side ” of Barbados ,therfore negating the value of advertising visiting “Heaven on Earth”
    It would appear that the chances of visiting HEAVEN are vastly increased by simply VISITING Barbados,when these two individuals are allowed to hold the posts they do in Barbados.

    What happens when the Learned Professor and his good lady return to UK and announce that they had a wonderfull time in “Heaven” and barely escaped with their lives.
    This fast on the heels of the ladies who were raped and were ignored by the police.
    Not forgetting the young white girl violently tortured and Hanged by two killers at her home in Barbados.

    How much damage do the Police Comissioner Mr Dottin and DPP Charles Leacock do to the Barbados Economy??
    Why we tolerate them to still be in a position to inflict still more blows to the MAINSTAY of the economy of Barbados.
    They should be INVITED to resign at once.
    The MASSIVE negative publicity that these two INCOMPETANTS have generated contributes greatly to the perception internationally ,that Barbados is NOT the place to visit.
    Lets fix the things we can fix ,then worry about those we are not able to influence.

  34. Commissioner Dottin indicated at his most recent press conference he may have to open his file on the Crawford matter. What is stopping him from doing it now? Is the matter ‘sub judice’?

  35. Former Minister of Tourism Noel Lynch has accused the government of not paying its bill in the sector, we assume BTA obligations. Will Minister Sealy feel inclined to rebutt any time soon?

  36. David is the Commissioner stating that he has a cold case now?

    Jus mekkin sport….I totally agree with you, it seems that no one is capable of cleaning up the mess. TOTAL INCOMPETENCE!

  37. Adrian Loveridge

    David, Is this the same Noel Lynch that stood up in Parliament and said ‘No loan (categorically) No loan by Government to charter the Carnival Destiny’
    or the same as left the BHTA with tens of thousands of dollars of UNPAID VAT or a number of small hoteliers with unpaid bills for various sporting events while he was President of AAA?
    Lest anyone has a short memory!

  38. @Adrian

    The said very one but does it make his question moot?

  39. Adrian Loveridge

    I think the point in question is that I have never heard Minister Sealy deny that the BTA owes money, but I have heard several things that the former MOT has said that were completely untrue. I suppose that I am questioning honesty and integrity against not saying anything at all.

  40. Georgie Porgie

    What has become of CCC- THE DLP PIMP ? iS HE DEAD?

  41. Nice Hants fabulous advertising for Barbados, you know who is not going to like this. You entering?

  42. Check-This-Out

    I see in Barbados today that The Minister of Tourism announced plans to provide more avenues for tourists to spend more money in the island.

    Has nobody told him that tourism was down 5.5% last year; in part because it already cost more to visit “The Island” than to visit other islands. Tourists are looking to spend less of their hard earned money on discretionary spends like vacations.

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