Tag Archives: Barbados Tourism

Tourism Sector a Cadre of Beggars

Submitted by William Skinner
James Paul, CEO, Barbados Agricultural Society

James Paul, CEO, Barbados Agricultural Society says No MOU, no grant

The granting of concessions to the hoteliers, is a capitulation on the part of the Barbados government, which now finds itself with a one step forward two steps backward economic policy; trying to please an essentially lazy and backward corporate class while inflicting serious blows on the already poor and economically downtrodden.

The hoteliers in Barbados have clearly demonstrated that they have failed to capitalize on an industry that has been in existence for over sixty years. They have whined their way into the taxpayers coffers, on the spurious grounds that the concessions granted to the well established Sandals Group should be automatically theirs for the taking. In other words, while very few of them can ever boast or hope to come close, to demonstrating that they can ever reach Sandals’ heights, they have blackmailed the government into giving them similar benefits. It’s akin to a fourth division footballer demanding the same salary and perks of a first division superstar!

Be that as it may, they have also refused to sign on to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which will be used to monitor they operating in good faith with the agricultural community and other businesses, to ensure that the process is not exploited. In other words, the government wanted some formal agreement that the benefits will trickle down to local businesses. Low and behold, the BHTA said that it will not sign any MOU. Imagine a beggar being so bold faced, to be a chooser as well! It was very pitiful and embarrassing to witness a minister backing down from this group.

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Barbados Can Generate More Tourists from the USA by Subsidizing Travel

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge – Hotelier

While still a month away, September presents one of the most challenging times of the year from a tourism perspective, especially from our second largest market, the United States. With three flights daily, two from Miami, and one from New York, unless the scheduled aircraft equipment is changed that amounts to a total seat capacity of 16,680 in and out for the entire 30 days.

September 2013 recorded the second lowest US long stay visitor arrivals (6,198) for the last eight years, with only 2012 performing worse. Even if you factor in those travelling who are not counted in the landed passenger statistics, you begin to get an idea of the problem. Clearly this massive over-capacity or underutilisation is not good, either for the airlines or destination, as there is no profit in an empty seat or vacant room.

Is there anything ‘we’ can do? For many years I have tried to advocate the opportunities that frequent flyer programmes offer. From 7th September until 14th November American Airlines lower their mileage requirement to 25,000 for a return economy ticket from almost any city they service in Continental North America to Barbados. Of particular interest, due to excellent connection times are cities like Houston and Chicago where published round trip normal fares to Barbados would be at least US$789 and $673 respectively. Using miles only the add-on taxes are payable which amount to less than US$60 return.

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Discover re-Discover Barbados

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge – Hotelier

This last week has been what can only be described as an adventure in learning or how to maximise the results of a microscopic marketing budget while transforming a concept into a revenue generating tool.  Hopefully it will play at least a small role in maintaining viability and employment in our tourism sector. The very first lesson learnt is that you cannot expect to achieve this by yourself, but need ‘likeminded’ people who are willing to donate their time and often incredible skills to take the initiative to a higher level.

Another prerequisite is having a cluster of interested players who can see beyond normal existing boundaries or to coin a rather over used term ‘think outside the box’. It is then also absolutely critical that the initiative is supported at a national level rather than ruling out ideas that may appear to be emanating from personalities or messengers who may not garner universal approval.

Using the social media, I have frankly been amazed at the reach it is possible to achieve, at no or very low cost. By targeting specific areas and special interest groups, a higher take-up level is clearly attainable. The Barbados Tourism Authority have given their full support by compiling superbly written full page features in both local newspapers and have already, or are about to issue media releases throughout all major markets. Ideally these will be used by travel publications and trade press to spread the word to a massive potential audience.

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Barbados Tourism Officials Asked to be Customers for a Day

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge – Hotelier

Should we, as a sector or in fact a nation, be overly concerned that the Ministry of Tourism has not had a functional website for months? In this time when both foreign and local investment is absolutely critical to upgrading existing plant and product, what sort of message are we sending when a default statement ‘This site is temporarily unavailable’ is the response that greets potential users of the portal.

For those non-nationals not familiar with how things work on Barbados it could also be the first point of reference and a vital source of information, including contact details for the Minister, Parliamentary and Permanent Secretary together with other heads of department that may facilitate any possible investor’s plans. It should also provide important links to other agencies, both public and private to help facilitate seamless access to enable informed decision making.

Frankly from a prospective overseas investment perspective you are currently forced to plough through a multitude of websites. And that’s even assuming you actually know the names of the many agencies involved, which is highly unlikely unless you have intimate local knowledge. If there was ever a legitimate call for a single ‘one-stop-shop’ then this is a prime example. Yes! Continue reading

Sandy Lane Private Jet Service Launched

Submitted by Douglas
Sandy Lane Jet service

Sandy Lane Jet service

When the hoteliers on the island like Mr Adrian Loveridge rejoice in writing every week the trifle and myopic vision for tourism, I am forced to ask if he ventures outside and into the areas that are really doing business in tourism and that are the ones generating serious inflows of foreign exchange for this island .

Take for example this fantastic innovation being created by Sandy Lane hotel, for the Winter Season of 2014 – 2015, we have a first for Barbados a Private Boeing Jet Service flying from. Heathrow to GAIA bring some of the most wealthy to our shores and to our wonderful Sandy Lane Hotel.

We also are now aware that despite his vocal claims that hotels do not make money and the industry will die according to the former BHTA President Mr Gordon Seale, despite his gloom and doom he has amassed enough earnings from tourism to now further invest in the same industry he has continually cried shame on the same industry that has provided him with lavish homes in Portugal and Barbados, the same industry that has provided him the luxury of owning the top of the line BMW’s and sports cars, the same industry that provided him the opportunity to buy another hotel in Amaryllis but yet still guys like Seale and Loveridge continue to cry down the same industry that makes them millions.

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Tourism Practitioners Must Work Harder to Deliver Value for Money

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge – Hotelier

If there was ever a time when the expression ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink’ could be applied, then it was perhaps written to give life to a personal challenge over the last couple of weeks  while trying to resurrect one of the most successful dine-around programmes in recent history. Some restaurants understand and assess the merits immediately, even though it may not produce the profits that they would like or require on all business generated.

But in these days, guaranteed uniform profitability is not a reality. Almost all airlines use sales and other offers to fill a critical percentage of their seats just as hotels contract lower than rack rates with tour operators to achieve a minimum viable occupancy mass. Other tourism entities are not isolated from this actuality in the way business is now conducted. The target was to persuade a minimum of ten restaurants to offer a fixed price 3 course dinner menu at BDS$99 per person with a half bottle of wine, VAT and service charge included. Take away an average 10 per cent service charge and the establishment is left with $89 to provide the consumables and contribute towards the upkeep and operation of the premises. Valued Added Tax is exactly what the description implies, a tax that is offset against taxable input costs.

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Barbadians Need Authorities to Come ‘Clean’ About the Sector

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge – Hotelier

We are now midway through the peak winter tourism season and it is small wonder that the general populous becomes confused or even bemused when trying to monitor exactly how the industry is performing. Especially when there are a number of proclamations emanating from our policymakers, who many may feel should be better informed. Two of these recent utterings really stand out!

The first when a Minister of Government stated in the foreign press that we have had a good start to the season, when in fact December 2013 recorded the lowest long stay visitor arrivals for that month during the last eleven years. Meanwhile, while accepting the numbers are down, the actual Minister of Tourism partially justifying the dismal sector performance by stating ‘value-added’ is up, totally contradicting the Governor of The Central Bank in his latest video report on our economic condition, who clearly revealed that factually, it is down.

If these incidents were rare or isolated, perhaps it could be just brushed off as possible journalistic misquoting, but the latest ones come after a long list of heady predictions that simply have not materialized. Last year these included ‘a resounding success’, ‘upbeat about arrivals’ and ‘extremely strong’, when referring to Crop Over and July. Later in 2013, ‘it is already a November to remember’ and ‘November had been one of the best Barbados had seen in a while’. In reality, both months set new records over the last decade for recording the lowest stay-over visitors for comparable periods. Tourism interests are then left clambering to source accurate information on which to make educated choices and decisions.

And that’s when they are confronted by the next obstacle.

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