Category Archives: Barbados Tourism

Barbados Tourism Marketing board about politics – not performance?

“If a sufficient proportion of the board is devoid of hands-on experience in marketing a product like a destination, how can it possibly judge if the persons actually managing the entity are doing a good job?”

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

If the media reporting on the recently selected board members of the newly formed Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc is accurate then I have to express enormous surprise at the apparent absence of a senior impartial member of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association.

It is almost inconceivable that you could not include someone who has a vested financial interest in the sector with proven experience and that would contribute to how the island is marketed. To me it raises the question of what is the purpose of the board.

Is it there to ensure due diligence, accountability and to ensure monies are spent in the most cost effective and productive way or is it simply for political window dressing?

If a sufficient proportion of the board is devoid of hands-on experience in marketing a product like a destination, how can it possibly judge if the persons actually managing the entity are doing a good job? Continue reading

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Eric North: Eight days of a fabulous Barbados experience

Barbados Hills View

Excellent Barbados photos on Eric’s blog!

Eric North Barbados“Everyone is very friendly and accommodating to tourists. Importantly, the folks from Barbados I’ve met on this trip are very passionate about their home country and you get this true sense of patriotism, an identity with a land that generations have called home in good times and in bad. As far as safety and security I feel comfortable walking about, taking the bus and enjoying as much as Barbados has to offer. My hope is that other people will want to have some of these experiences for themselves.”

Eric North

Read 8 days in Barbados on Eric North’s Stuff I’ve done on Trips blog.

Hey… thank you Eric!

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Great expectations for Barbados as visitors from the U.K. up 8% over last year

barbados-beach-sand-surf

UK long-stay visitors up, airline fuel prices down…

This has possibilities for recovery

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

A quoted 8 per cent increase in long stay visitors from the UK over the same period last year is very encouraging news. As often highlighted, it’s not just about the numbers, but the fact that the average British visitor stays longer and spends more, which is an equally important factor.

But with good news, it is often accompanied by bad and in this case the fall of the value of Sterling against the US Dollar resulting in Barbados again being perceived as a higher cost destination.

What could be the saving grace is the four year low price of oil and the effects that may have when it filters through to energy prices including electricity, water, distribution and airfares.

How long Government will take to positively respond to the dramatic fall will send a very important message to the industry.

For an obviously cash-strapped administration it’s a two edge sword. Lower fuel prices means less VAT collection, but if we are able to maintain a prolonged recovery in arrival numbers then this should be largely mitigated.

re-Discover Dining programme doing well

The 24 restaurants currently participating in the re-DISCOVER dine-around programme will soon have to make the decision whether to continue the initiative through the winter. There is no doubt in my mind that our visitors and locals alike are increasingly looking for value-for-money. No one can also reasonably question that it has galvanized more people to eat out. Continue reading

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Typewriter salesman calls for Barbadians to save his job by giving up their computers

Barbados Travel Agent

Okay, Okay… Indar Weir isn’t really a typewriter salesman – he is the President of the Travel Agents Association of Barbados and operates the Indar Weir Travel Centre. Indar and his industry are hurting badly because Bajans are booking their flights and vacation accommodations online – by themselves – and without a travel agent between the customer and the keyboard.

Barbados travel agents are pleading with Bajans to use their services instead of booking online “to save jobs and keep money in the country.”

In my little corner of this rock, charity will have to begin at home. I am not willing to pay the extra fee for something I can do myself online, after Google searching the millions of vacation options on the internet.

As much as I feel sorry for Indar and his colleagues, the writing was on the wall ten years ago. Mr. Weir and his colleagues tried to adapt, but were pushed out by the large online travel agencies. The travel agents’ plea in the latest Nation reminds me of the Luddites – who protested against newly developed labour-replacing machinery in the first quarter of the 1800’s.

Now that the Bajan economy is in melt-down with the government continually late delivering paycheques to employees, contractors and suppliers, most folks don’t have money to travel. Thousands are taking that “stay-cation” called unemployment after being made redundant.

Booking online is cheaper, easier, faster and offers more choices than any local travel agent. Sorry, but the world changed, and I will no longer be taking the afternoon off to pick-up my tickets from the travel agency.

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Harlequin’s H Hotel: Latest photos of an eyesore that spoils Barbados

Harlequin Barbados Disaster 39

Harlequin Barbados Disaster 500

by St George’s Dragon

As promised I went to take a few photos of the Harlequin H Hotel today.

The site has obviously suffered less than Merricks, presumably because it is in a more populated area. It looks as though it was secure until fairly recently, although when I went it was possible to walk straight in from the boardwalk side of the site as someone has ripped the site hoarding door off its hinges.

There are still a few items of plant and materials on site, although nothing of any great value.

Such a shame. So many people have lost money just to create an eyesore that spoils Barbados.

A lovely view for the tourists from the beach boardwalk!

A lovely view for the tourists from the beach and boardwalk! Click photo for larger view.

Editor’s Note: The exposed rebar is salt-drenched and rusted, with salt-laden water dripping down into the concrete. How long before no self-respecting structural engineer would approve further work? Has that time already arrived? Do we have an architects or engineers out there to comment?

More Photos… 
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Thomas Cook drops Manchester-Barbados route – while Barbados government markets to a low-income / high employment area of the UK

Thomas Cook airline

Sad news – maddening news

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

It would appear we are losing the summer weekly Thomas Cook Manchester-Barbados flight from early May 2015. Perhaps there is sufficient surplus capacity on the Virgin Atlantic Monday flights, but Thomas Cook provided a lower cost option for many and while we are lacking in empirical evidence, my guess is that this flight was used by many people who have a second home on Barbados and/or who stay in our lower priced accommodation options.

While Virgin currently retains their larger once-a-week Boeing 747 on the Manchester service during the low season, it may not prove a challenge at all.

But if Virgin decides to change equipment to the smaller A330 as they did from Gatwick, clearly less capacity and more demand will lead to the inevitable higher air fares and deter the more budget conscious holidaymaker who largely keeps the industry afloat during the eight long summer months.

For travel in April 2015, a return flight from Manchester with Thomas Cook is presently available at GBPounds 376. With Virgin the cost is GBPounds 638 over a similar period. In fairness luggage and meals are ‘extras’ with Thomas Cook, but there is still a huge price differential – particularly if a family of four are considering travelling.

What is also a little puzzling was our tourism policymakers had already indicated that there was going to be a special effort in growing the markets out of the North of England and Scotland.

And especially after the July long Barbados Summerfastic tour by a beautiful liveried bus in partnership with Capital FM which visited several northern cities and Scotland.

I totally agree there is tremendous further potential, but you also have to look at the demographics which should take into account average disposal income and affordable access to the airport serving the destination.

Unemployment is at its highest in England’s North East and North West with average weekly earnings considerably lower than the south of the country. Clearly the cost is often the ultimate deciding factor.

And now I make no apologies in returning to a pet-peeve subject, websites which are not kept current…
Continue reading

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Desperation: Over 6,000 apply for 600 Sandals Barbados jobs – police called in

Barbados sandals resort employment

Barbados Acting Tourism Minister “SHOCKED!” at large, unruly crowd – fights, pushing, fainting…

DLP Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner - Insulated from reality?

Shocked DLP Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner – Insulated from reality?

Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, Acting Minister of Tourism, told reporters that she was “shocked” at the behaviour when over 6,000 desperate Bajans lined up to apply for fewer than 600 available jobs at the new Sandals Resort.

No matter the astonishment of the political elites, the vast majority of ordinary Bajans were not shocked to see a once-proud populace begging for menial work serving tourists – and pushing their way to front of the line by any means necessary.

Clean that toilet? Sure, I’ll do that! Carry bags from the bus to hotel rooms? Pick me! Pick me!

Bring drinks to spoiled 20 somethings on the beach? “Sure! I’ll do anything. Anything at all. Please… hire me. Think of my family. Hire me, please.”

Barbados Government gave everything away to Sandals

What a deal! Sandals will pay no taxes, no import duties on building materials or supplies shipped in. The exact details of the concessions haven’t been released because… because… well… our Barbados government gave everything away in a move of desperation. Damn right they did, because after three decades of mismanagement, theft and giving the dole to anyone who wanted it, Barbados has nothing left.

Our nation of Barbados is as desperate as the Bajan job seekers – so our government put aside long-term considerations and totally caved to Sandals just to land a few hundred jobs. How many jobs really? Who knows? The deal doesn’t require Sandals to provide work for a specific number of Bajans. How many Sandals employees will come from other countries? Don’t ask! You’re not allowed to know – it’s part of the deal.

Rum? Hey… that will come from Jamaica at zero duty rates while our own (and superior) Mount Gay Rum takes a more expensive back seat. Chicken? All frozen from the USA. Vegetables? Ha! The Sandals policy is price first, quality and local supply second and third.

Don’t be surprised my friends. This thing that has happened to Barbados is not getting better. Every other Caribbean island increased their tourism visits in the last 12 months… except us. Look after your family and friends as best as you can…. you might need help next.

Thanks to The Nation for the photo!

Further Reading

Barbados Advocate: Rush for jobs

The Nation: Thousands rush to job fair

Dr. Tennyson Joseph: Sandals desperation

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