Why Is Barbados’ Marketing To American Tourists Failing?

UPDATED – Linda from My Barbados Blog chimes in…

“The BTA (Barbados Tourism Authority) spent $40 million to attract Americans, and the campaign failed. They could have paid me a cool million to give them some advice. If anyone over at BTA reads this, drop me an e-mail.”

Linda is not kidding… our fellow blogger at My Barbados Blog runs a very successful travel agency in the USA – so she knows what Americans want in a vacation and who of her clientel travel to Barbados. In response to Adrian Loveridge’s letter below, Linda has written a major article at her blog (link here).

After reading Linda’s article, it sounds as if no one at the Barbados Tourism Authority has any clue about marketing Barbados to Americans. Forty million dollars just shot to h*ll.

Original Article… 

In the following letter to the editor, Adrian Loveridge makes a good point… Barbados is subsidizing each airline seat with $300 of taxpayers’ money, and we still can’t fill those airplanes. Last year, the Barbados Tourism Authority spent US$40 Million Dollars in a failed bid to attract US tourists.

What’s going wrong?

We don’t know, and neither does Mr. Loveridge appear to have the answer – but at least he’s naming the problem, which is more than the Barbados Tourism Authority is doing with its “everything is fine” message.

Something must fundamentally wrong with the marketing of Barbados in North America.

‘We’ were not able to sustain a single weekly flight of the United States fifth richest state, New Jersey, operated by Continental Airlines.

Flights to both Charlotte and Philadelphia operated by US Airways have been severely reduced.

And now the latest blow is the cessation of the Trinidad-Barbados-Washington service by BWIA or the new company that is set to replace it come 1st January 2007.

In all cases these routes were operated by smaller aircraft, Boeing 737’s, Airbus 319’s and the occasional Airbus 320.

120 seats or less!

Deduct the accepted level of visiting friends and relatives estimated at 25% of our total long stay visitor arrival numbers, plus another 10 plus per cent that are connecting on flights to Barbados’s neighbours, we are then only really looking for around 80 passengers per flight for these aircraft to operate to capacity.

Put another way, if the economic break-even level for revenue passengers is 50 per cent, that number is reduced to just 36.

I cannot believe that of our four largest markets, with the United States receiving the second largest proportion of the BDS$80 million (US$40 million) spent by the Barbados Tourism Authority last year, we cannot ‘find’ these relatively insignificant numbers.

And it isn’t as if ‘we’ have to compete with our neighbours on equal pricing. Currently the Best of Barbados programme is using taxpayer’s monies to subsidise each and everyone booking a package by US$300.

So, even with selling the ‘product’ below cost, we simply seem incapable of sustaining desirable airlift.

It must now be apparent even to those wearing the most rose-tinted glasses that ‘our’ marketing strategy in North America is simply not working and must be dramatically re-visited.

Adrian Loveridge
22 September 2006
Barbados

37 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Traveling and Tourism

37 responses to “Why Is Barbados’ Marketing To American Tourists Failing?

  1. Littleboy56@caribsurf.com

    Spot on Loveridge! That is, your comment about the problems. However, we need to hear about some solutions to halt the “lynching” of the Barbadian product. Over-pricing of the product is one reason for the fall off, but the promotion of Barbados is antiquated. People(especially the scared cat Americans) need to interact with the ones they will find in their vacation “paradise”. I heard on radio some time ago a DLP guy suggesting what made sense. Sadly the newspapers did not carry it. He suggested taking a variety of locals on promo trips-not just the reps of the BTA and the “hoy-Polloy”. He also said that Barbados needs to use the trained locals to eventually move to a more authentic Bajan product. What happened to national pride?

  2. John

    Jobs for the boys

  3. Taxt2dMax

    Oh goody!
    Three hundred of my taxpayer dollars are being ‘used'(mis-used?)
    to pay for Amerikin airline seats.
    Can I arrange to pay more? Please please?
    I need to pay more taxes!
    I already pay (direct and indirect) taxation on the order of 45 cents out of every Bajan dollar I spend on this island, but I need to be taxed even further.
    I’m rich, and can afford to subsidise airline seats from Amerika’s 5th.richest State in the Union.
    Oh Bliss, oh Joy, oh RAMgate!

  4. Taxt2dMax

    ..Sorry, that’s SIX hundred of my Bajan taxpayer Dollars,
    per poor American tourist.

    I am so blessed.

    I say thank God they’re NOT coming, at that rate.
    I don’t think I can afford that sorta subsidisation, can YOU?

  5. Why NewJersey? It maybe one of the richest states in the American Union, but it is also one of the most expensive places to live, and travel money usually comes out of current income. I am thinking wrong market.

  6. LadyDi

    I am an American whose paternal grandparents were born in Barbados and I try to visit Bim twice a year. Many Americans have never heard of Barbados so they don’t know where it is. On another level, many Americans are cheap, and Barbados is an expensive place to visit (and live), so they would rather spend their money in a tropical location in a less developed place where your money goes much further. When you think about it, they are there to take in the sun, beach and to drink and party and if they have the option to go somewhere less expensive with the same amenities then they will. Plus, traveling to Bim is problematic due to lack of flights or long travel times. I always try to get the first flight out at 5:30 or 6:00 am so I can arrive at a decent time and not feel like I have been traveling all day. If I take a 11:00 am flight from Boston and go through Miami I won’t arrive on the island until 9:00 at night…a day gone.

    There are many groups that the Travel and Tourism board could reach out to. If they are looking for imput, I’d love to talk to them.

  7. Green!

    Listen to the lady.

  8. Stuart

    The two fastest growing in tourism are cultural tourism and environmental and related outdoor tourism. Older travellers with the most discretionary funds at hand want more than a beach and bar vacation, no matter how fancy the tourist digs. They are more apt to remember the Barbadian painter they met, or the new dance they learned, or perhaps the Bajan cooking class they took. I don’t think there is a thing wrong with the “market.” It’s the approach to the market, combined with a value-added cultural or other product that will make the difference. As long as Barbados tourism opportunities are painted generically in the marketplace, tourism will continue to suffer.

    Stuart

  9. LadyDi

    I likes your comments Stuart. I would love to see the tourism board expand their marketing to encourage people to come to Barbados for cultural and environmental tourism. Even though I have friends and family there, I would love the opportunity to meet local artists or take a cooking class or learn more about the environment and maybe participate in Hike Barbados (something on my list which I have never done.) But I think that when you set up inexpensive “Best of Barbados” packages, it encourages a certain type of traveler, in my opinion, who would rather stay at the beach than explore the wonderful people and activities that the island has to offer. Plus, if you are only on the island for 7 days, that’s not enough time to do any real exploring. Most Americans only get 2 weeks vacation.

    I hardly ever see ads for Barbados in high-end demographic American newspapers and magazines like Town & Country or NY Times or Wall Street Journal. If you want people with money then you need to seek them out. Perhaps they should be trying to get more articles written about them so people can learn more about Bim and get a snapshot of what they can experience.

    As a Black American, I also think you need to find ways to deal with white American’s perceived fears of traveling to a mostly black and brown country. That is a real issue and white Americans aren’t used to being in the minority and want to feel “comfortable” while on vacation. Most Americans, from any background, have very little knowledge of the islands except for the beach. I have a White Bajan friend who was giving a tour to an American who asked him, “who takes care of the people?” That is one example and he has had many more incidents of American ignorance.

    I also think they should think about marketing to Black Americans (30 million people) who would enjoy experiencing Barbados. And, South America is closeby, so why not pursue that market as well.

  10. Rumplestilskin

    It is apparent to all but a half-idiot that Barbados long term stay tourism is in a disastrous state.

    It is also apparent that the Government and private enterprise is putting (no pun intended) its money into Golf vacations, luxury condo homes and purely high-end tourism (with the exception of Cruise ships).

    The advantage of this is that once you get buy into these complexes you should have a long-term income flow, fixed jobs (albeit a smaller number than hotel).

    The disadvantages include money for the purchases of these ‘villas’ being paid overseas to the developers, thus not seeing these shores; staff are significantly less than those required to keep a goodsized hotel running; increased land prices for indigenous Barbadians; the money is kept within a ‘clique’ and only a person able to get their nose in as a cleaning company, landscaper, managing agent and a FEW staff will see the direct benefit.

    As for the cruise ships, ask any Bridgetown businessman…they dont spend money when they come to town. Only suppliers to the ships themselves, such as the water company which sells water to the ships, will benefit. Still some benefit, but nevertheless it m,akes the ‘number of visitors’ statistic a farce….they come, see, go…no spending. The ship itself spends for some supplies….who gets that…the large companies…where is the medium/ small businessman in this? Again, as for villa tourism….the money is in the hands of a clique.

    I am convinced that Barbados will never regain its tourism heyday of the 1970’s. Through competition, lack of Government direction, marketing , whatever.

    And God help us if Cuba opens up eventually (or do I say WHEN) and the US Gov’t releases travel and business to Cuba…our tourism will be dead. The investment from USA that will flow into Cuba would be astronomical. Those large hotel chains will invest AND market effectively. It will be cheap, both to travel to for an American AND other and it will be cheap to enjoy.

    I suggest the following:

    – Barbados needs Hotel chains such as Wyndham, Four Seasons, Ramada Inn etc. These chains market themselves…Government would not have to.

    – to get these we need casino licenses available to all four star and above ONLY.

    – the union needs to be practical. The Government must arrive at workable principles of employemnt with the union, including expat work licenses, work practices etc. Bearing in mind that we must be competitive.

    – That $40 million above should be spent instead on coastal development and small hotel development….for those visitors who cannot afford Four Season money.

    Unfortunately, casinos run by professionals may upset those here who ALREADY HAVE CASINOS…YES WE DO!!!

    But..who owns them….I guess their nose would be out of joint if Gov’t gave licenses to major chains……

    Arthur’s comment that Gov’t does not want casinos is ludicruous. What else is a casino but rows of slots, a few gaming tables and roulette…..we HAVE rows and ROWS of slots..but as I said…who owns them?

    Golf couses alone, villas alone wont do what we need re foreign exhange. We NEED major chains. That is it.

  11. I have a few answers from being in the travel industry. I posted a long article in my blog in reference to the article here.

    Barbados is not a cheap destination, and it’s true most Americans want it all – nice vacation, but cheap in price. I tell my clients that Barbados has something for everyone, but then not everyone can afford to vacation there.

    The Best of Barbados program has always been popular, but there were issues this year, and I’ve covered it in my blog.

    Barbados has always been expensive, but it has become a destination for the upscale traveler. Even my middle class clients here in the U.S. are in shock at the prices I quote. I’ve booked less travelers to Barbados this year than the last five years, however my agencies profit has gone up for Barbados bookings with upscale travelers wanting villa accommodations and high end hotels and resorts.

    Niche travel is hot, and Stuart is right – Eco-tourism, cultural travel, and upscale travel is on the rise. Medical travel is another hot niche, which provides cheaper foreign alternatives to plastic surgery. Every destination has a niche to offer, or if they are lucky, more than one.

    Barbados cannot compete with cheaper Caribbean destinations – so what’s the point, just a waste of taxpaper money.

    Since Barbados has, and is spending millions for the wealthy, the ideal promotion would be to market to the upscale traveler. Another excellent promotion would be historical sites for history buffs, and promote the eco tourist sites of the island for environmentalists and eco tourists.

    Wealthy travelers, sports enthuasists, and those with specific interests are always investigating new destinations, or returning to ones they have previously visited. While advertising is important, this group goes by word of mouth, they do intense investigation on their own, and even pay extra fees to travel agents to book their trips.

    LadyDi also makes a good point on marketing to the Black community. I’m also a Black American, and most Blacks do not know about Barbados, or even where it is located. As a whole, many Americans tend to opt out for the usual vacation spots either they or friends and family are familiar with. And Americans are very afraid these days.

    As for advertising in the U.S. media, Barbados has always done a poor job. I’m in the travel business, and when I do see an article on Barbados, it catches me by surprise – and I see hundreds of ads and articles every week. I did see Rihanna advertising World Cup on TV last night, and even my husband said that’s the first time he’s see any TV ad referring to the island in quite awhile.

    And the Barbados Jazz Festival gets hardly any media coverage in the U.S. compared to other island jazz festivals. What’s up with that? Crop Over is at a time when flights are cheaper, but once again – NO media coverage.

    http://www.barbadostravel.squarespace.com/journal/2006/9/29/why-is-barbados-marketing-to-american-tourists-failing.html

  12. Green!

    If Barbados had done the brave thing,
    and devalue its currency back when Trinidad did so,
    we wun’t be in dis pickle, today!

    But NO, Bajan Pride maintains a way-overvalued Dollar,
    and heh-hey look whuh gone en happen,look..

    De island is FAR too expensive
    relative to what you get
    (whether resident or visitor)
    and ALL prices are Grade A prices,
    and ALL goods and services are either Grade B
    or(more regularly) Grade C.!

    I LIVE HERE,
    and I’m tired of being ripped off twice,
    on every transaction I make.
    I’m paying Grade A prices for crap quality.
    I feel REEAALL good about that, I gotta admit.
    And you want to know why we have problems?

  13. Hants

    I was told that the BTA hires the Best North American Advertising Agencies to do their Advertising.

    I always thought that a substantial amount of Advertising money should be spent on providing Travel Agents with incentives to sell Barbados.

    When a person walks into a travel agency they can be sold on a destination based on the information given by the agent.

    Just my opinion.

  14. cant really say anything that hasnt been said before. Americans frighten to travel sinc 9/11, there are cheaper places in the caribbean and they are all closer to the US in terms of travel time like the dominican republic etc so basically to really infiltrate the US we need to establish a little niche and not just be marketing the general sand and sun business.

  15. Hants

    As you are all aware, Barbados is preparing for CWC2007 which is going to have a huge impact on Tourism in the Island.
    However, there will be 30,000 non traditional tourist (cricket super fans) on the Island and on Cruise Ships for 2 to 3 weeks.
    I wonder if the BTA has a plan to maximise the benefits of this Event.
    The Black and South Asian market in the USA will probably be watching the Matches on TV so there would be an opportunity to target them with advertising.

  16. Me

    Can someone tell me why we have BTA and BIDC offices in Miami, Toronto and New York staffed by a large set of people? What are they doing? Why the need to maintain offices there if you hire agencies to do your marketing? Case of jobs for the boys?

  17. Green!

    Yup.
    That’s why yuh plays Party Politrix!
    So dat when Your Tribe get in,
    you gets a cute job out dey in The Real World,all expenses paid!

    Works for hundreds!
    Cool, eh?

    And my and your taxpayer dollar foots de whole bill.
    Remember.. Taxpayer dollars IS FREE MONEY:
    no need to seriously account for it,
    or to be too careful in how yuh spends it, coz there’s always more where that came from!
    I and I,D.Taxpayer am a bottomless source of funds.
    Big smile,now..!

  18. Littleboy56@caribsurf.com

    Linda I think you missed the point a bit.BTA made a big mistake by focussing for the “up-scale” visitor. We have a wide variety of accommodation and we need to “target market” as opposed to “niche market” this country. Obviously the travel agent will look for the bigger commissions but that is where the overseas offices come in. Their job should be one of “mass” marketing. ALL properties and the type of accommodation should be exposed.Again I say that Minister Lynch’s policy is warped.We are more lokely to find 10000 people willing to spend $10,000.00 on a holiday than 10000 to spend $10,000.00. Mass/target marketing is the way to go……By the way I have worked in tourism for 40 years so I believe that I understand Barbados as I have also lived here for all 57 of my years.

    We need an authentic Bajan product to market as well.The stupid pseudo-European cuisine just a’int cutting it!!!

  19. Pat

    No matter what any of you say, Barbados is too expensive. A Canadian colleague of mine spent her honeymoon in Barbados 25 years ago. They loved it so much, they went back every year. Four years ago, facing retirement, they decided to look around for some thing to buy and decided, the prices had creeped up on them over the years, where they could not even afford a one bedroom condominium, plus food. They went to several other islands over the last 3 years and are looking at settling in the Dominican Replublic or Dominica.

    I encouraged my next door neighbours to go. They came back and said even though the island is nice, they could not afford to go back. Prices are too high especially for food. A large box of cheerios cost $40 barbados, while it costs only $4 Canadian here. Now, explain, why the high mark-up? Someone somewhere are reaping megaprofits.

    In this weeks Nation Newspaper, a columnist complained that a large bottle of coffee last week cost $21 and this week the price had jumped by ten dollars to $31. A small two pound chicken cost $15. Vegetables are so expensive, I doubt whether many locals buy them. Brocolli is $16 a kilo, sweet potatoes $26, give me a break.

    With regard to the high end rental villas, these are owned by rich foreigners. That money does not stay in Barbados. It benefits only the landlord.

    I met a Canadian lady from MOntreal, who has been vacationing there for 30 years. Now that she is retired she spends 6 months of the winter in Bim. She said when she started vacationing there, everything was reasonable. Then with the price creep, she would take down her cereals, medicines, snacks etc. Then, she found that the things to take increased yearly, so that she shipped one barrel, then two, and now she ships 4 every fall for winter.

    My mother who is retired also spends her winters in Barbados. She is Bajan and every year the number of barrels she ships with her food increases. I find the cheapest thing in Barbados are the taxis. I use them all the time. That is the only good buy on the entire island.

    The fast food is greasy, tasteless and over priced. No wonder Bajans so fat. They eat too much fat in those deep fried snack boxes – chicken with the skin, french fries, macaroni pie and soft drinks. Rotis made with lard. A diet for obesity and heart disease.

  20. Rumplestilskin

    What Pat says is true (as most of you know). The prices are ridiculous and inflation out the stable door and galloping.

    Every time we go the the supermarket there is something that has gone up 50% from the prior years…just yesterday it was Bounty (small) paper towels rolls…cost $3 last year…now $5.55

    This is why most Bajans have Pricesmart and Shopsmart cards and buy in bulk when for those products where savings can be made…if they can afford it.

    Unfortunately, the wholesale and distribution is in the hands of mainly only two entities…….one the major conglomerate and another an old family business. Then the Pricesmarts and Shorsmarts…which have saved us personally a lot of money compared.

    We shop around.

    Inflation gone flying….but dont tell the Central Bank….they apparently dont know yet…

    We must be paying Guyana dollars…

    But then, maybe all part of the plan for the devaluation coming……..they putting in the cushion now….

  21. Rumplestilskin

    By the way…fastfood…who owns these….who owns the ‘casinos’…..?

    Objections whenever anyone tries to set up their own franchise…

    Hmmm…

    Ahem…

  22. Pat

    Cheese on bread, Rumplestilskin, I was only planning on bring down a few things next year for CWC. Seems like I may have to pack a barrel or two for the month I will be on the island. Is this price for a single roll of paper towels, or a pack of 6 rolls? I just bought a pack of 6 double rolls, 104 sheets per roll, two ply, for a total of $2.97, plus 7% goods and services tax.

    What about toilet paper, what are the prices like for Cottonelle, or Royale? Maybe I should bring my own too.

    The island is priced as high as Japan and people wondering why tourists dont come? Do they think everyone is rich? What about the middle class, or the labourer, who saves and sacrifices so as to have a good holiday somewhere? At the first hint of trouble the rich will take off for other shores. They and their money have no loyalty, except to themselves.

  23. Rumplestilskin

    >>Is this price for a single roll of paper towels, or a pack of 6 rolls? I just bought a pack of 6 double rolls, 104 sheets per roll, two ply, for a total of $2.97, plus 7% goods and services tax.
    >>

    Sorry PAT, $5.55 for a SINGLE SMALL roll of Bounty paper towels!!!

    Jeez, your US$ buying 6x that for just slightly more.

    Well, what about the labourer? What about the Middle Class?? Soon wont be any middle class, just poor and rich.

    And what happens eventually when people cant support their familes?

    You know where this is goin?

    I am NOT joking! It is very worrying.

  24. Rumplestilskin

    ps Holiday? With what?

    LOL!!!

  25. In response to Littleboy56, our agency mass markets the island of Barbados. I have devoted more pages on my agency website to Barbados than any other island, and started a blog to expose the mass market to the island.

    The average travel agent in the U.S. makes $20,000, so it’s the LOVE of travel that keeps most agents in the business, along with travel perks – which are only offered to top producers.

    In our mass marketing campaigns, we gather profiles of who is buying the product, and who is not – what is working, and what is not. In the past 14 months, the profile has shown that upscale travel to Barbados is up, and the average traveler has turned down vacationing in Barbados ONLY because of the price.

    Barbados does have a variety of lodging. The “Intimate Hotels of Barbados” members offer a variety of small to medium sized lodging which appeal to the budget of the average American, but many times not to their expectations.

    Our profile shows the average vacation budget is $3000 – $3500 per week, and the expectation is roundtrip airfare (for two), a good rated hotel (3-4 star), nice room, good service, good beach, activities, and all meals (whether all inclusive, or eating out). And 82% of the female clients say they do not want to cook while on vacation – so kitchens are not plus – except for a microwave. Another profile shows that once travelers visit Barbados, they are likely to return – that is if they didn’t max out their credit card doing it.

  26. BFP

    Thanks Linda. As usual, you present a realistic assessment of a tourist issue, and your love of Barbados always shows through.

    Marcus

  27. Economix

    Barbados offers Grade A prices and costs
    for Grade C services and goods.

    A proud tradition – 100% Bajan!

  28. Littleboy56@caribsurf.com

    Thanks Linda

    Our perspectives are not that far apart. It boils down to value for money. However I do not buy the fact that agents sell countries for love of it. At the end of the day the bottom line is what really counts in business.
    I still hold to the point that MORE mass-marketing and target -marketing must be the focus of our BTA. After all, any drop in statistics will reflect on them, and the BTA is deficient in their marketing efforts. Additionally, the Minister of Tourism (although he is trained in marketing) has declared a policy of aiming for the luxury market.That is myopic!!! Economies just do not have that large number of very wealthy who can fill our 6000 rooms. Our destination also lacks a BONA FIDE, AUTHENTIC, whatever-you-choose-to-call-it Barbadian product. After all, we have been training people in tourism up to university level for too many years to be still following.

  29. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » Barbados: Marketing to US tourists

  30. Pat

    Barbados does not have much to show for a country that was settled in the 1600s. Most of the old buildings have been demolished. All the small stone slave dwellings are no more. Very few sugar cane factories left. Does anyone give tours of a factory when the cane is harvesting? There are no waterfalls, no rivers to canoe on. No rain forest. No mountain climbing. Only golf and more golf. All the other islands have what Barbados has and more. They have beaches, people and all the things mentioned above. Their food is different to food in Bim. It is distinguishable and has ownership.

    I have been on 3 caribbean cruises. The night before we land we go for an orientation of the island. The purser usually says where the good buys are, tours that are worth the money, what taxis cost, good restaurant, local activities, etc. In all cases, we were told that Barbados is not the place to shop, except for rum. They insist that better buys could be had on the other islands for the same product/service. They invariably say, wait until you get to this/that island, or buy your gifts and souvenirs before you get to Barbados. On my last cruise, a passenger at my table had an upset stomach and went into Knights on Broad Street for some Pepto-bismal. A small bottle maybe 4-6 ounces cost $40 barbados. I had bought a bottle 16 ounces for my aunt for a grand total of $1.99 on sale and it came with a sample 4 ounce bottle attached. So I got 20 ounces for two bucks. If he had told me at breakfast, I would have given him the small bottle.

    I believe that on some islands a commission is paid to the pursers, as we are usually asked for the name of the ship we came on if there are 5 or six in the harbour. This information is written down. So the purser has an incentive to direct passengers to those islands and shops where there is an arrangement. (Just my opinion.)

    Would you believe that Mount Gay is cheaper in St. Kitts at the duty free than it is at the harbour in Bridgetown?

    Rumplestilskin:
    I am in Canada, so your one roll of paper (single) costs the same as my 6 double rolls. Just stop buying it. Use rags instead or pick up some cheap wash cloths in Swan Street. What you need down there is a Walmart. Then Bajans will get some good competition. Only problem is, they dont unionize.

  31. Pingback: Barbados vacation - New Passport Amendment Passed (Barbados Vacation | Barbados Hotel | Barbados Vacations)

  32. Call me an Irish-American snob but I think Barbados is attracking the right kind of people. Be they black or white as long as they are rich is all that matters. When I think of what USA affordable
    tourism has done to some of the other Islands I get sick to my stomach. I propose that Barbados spend it’s ad budget attracking even more rich people and stop appoligizing for it. Be proud of Barbados and stand up for it. Barbados is a gift of God and we should take care of it as precious in the eyes of God. We would not be doing that if we turned it into an island Las Vegas. Deliver us O Lord.

  33. Adrian Loveridge

    Francis…

    If only it were that simple.

    Yes! Barbados does reasonable well attracting ‘rich’ people but that is not how it survives in the real world of tourism.

    St. Lucia is on the brink of surpassing Barbados in national annual tourism earnings with less rooms.
    Although they are adding more and more each year. Around 1,000 rooms this year alone.

    Barbados has lost 27 hotels over the last 13 years, being either simply closed down or converted into condominiums.

    Offering value for money accommodation in Barbados is difficult but not impossible.
    You only have to Google News ‘affordable Caribbean’ and you will see our small property has attracted substantial media coverage over the last month, including:

    New York Sunday Times
    British Daily Telegraph
    Toronto Star
    Florida Sun Senitel

    Our most espensive room in the peak winter season is US$109 plus tax per night.

    That is why we are full until mid April.

    We havn’t had to discount room rates or offer an up to US$300 per person taxpayer subsidy which has been the single marketing tool of the BTA for six years.
    You only have to look at the TripAdvisor website to see where Barbados is failing, in terms of level of service delivery and value for money.

    Filling your hotels with botton end tour operator business may help maintain the arrival numbers, but it does not sustain meaningful growth and improvement.

    Again, Google News ‘Air Challenge’ and you will find a story which appeared in the Barbados Advocate recently.

    We have lost over 67,000 airlines seats in the first nine months of 2007, but here you have a Minister of Tourism stating ‘the jury is still out on condominium conversion’.
    67,000 seats is the sum total of loosing a daily B777 or not having the benefit of British Airways at all.

    Until you start listening to people with proven expertise and ability, then I honestly see further declines both in terms of arrival numbers and average visitor spend.

    We are not even keeping up in terms of the rate of inflation currently.

  34. Honeymoon Bound

    I agree. I’m currently planning my destination wedding / Caribbean honeymoon package and Barbados seems like a great place but I haven’t really heard much about it! I feel like with $40 million invested I would have heard something? Maybe they should target people planning honeymoon travel?

  35. Pingback: Something must fundamentally wrong with the marketing of Barbados in North America « Barbados Free Press

  36. G. Gray

    Want to improve tourism?

    1. Teach the customs agents at the airport how to smile, they are the first contact with tourists.
    2. Have the police start to enforce traffic laws and control the mayhem on the roads. It’s almost impossible to drive around the Island and not be terrified by inconsiderate drivers.

    3. Enforce the noise by-laws, both from automobiles and loudspeaker systems, shut them down at 2:00am.

  37. BaRes

    Honestly, as beautiful as Barbados is, there are a dozen more islands as beautiful as this one… and as LadyDi explains: much cheaper.

    Barbados needs to diversify it’s tourism industry. You can say high-end places are our diversification. Sure, but not the cheapest either.

    Barbados also needs to open up their economy. What is up with all this import duty taxes? Sure, the government needs more income than just tourism but this drives up the costs for tourists! So it’s a vicious circle in my eyes.

    Not to mention the fact that it increases costs for the ones living here, reducing our spendable income.

    Food is so expensive here, and when you travel you can see how cheap and much better quality the food products are elsewhere.

    Has anyone noticed they have been stacking up expired or near expired products at the supermarkets?