Daily Archives: October 7, 2006

Barbados Government Pays Carnival Cruise Lines To Send Tourists

After school and on Saturdays, I used to work in my Uncle Robert’s shop – where everything had a clearly marked price that was non-negotiable. As my uncle used to remind me almost daily, “Those who try to attract customers based on having the lowest price will always fail, because there is always some other fool who will sell for a lower price. You must make your service and your product worth paying a fair price for. Then your customers will be loyal and you will prosper.”

Uncle Robert believed that in his heart and his shop did prosper when others failed.

Welcome To Owen Arthur’s Cut-Rate Vacations…

It seems that the only way the Barbados Government knows how to attract tourists is to subsidize each one with your tax dollars. Are we that desperate or what?

In this letter received by Barbados Free Press, Adrian Loveridge again makes some intelligent observations about the train wreck that is the tourism policy of the Government of Barbados…

Letter To The Editor

According to media reports (Saturday Sun October 7th 2006) the Government of Barbados has signed a deal with Carnival Cruise Lines (Carnival Corporation) ‘which guarantees that it (Barbados) will earn BDS$156 million (US$78 million) over the next three years’.

This figure is stated to have been based on the average daily spend of each embarking cruise ship passenger.

‘The deal will account for two-thirds of the island’s (cruise) business for the next three years and will ensure a minimum of 1.2 million visitors’.

‘Guarantees’ and ‘ensure a minimum’ leaves readers in no doubt of what is expected from the tourism policymakers for the yet undisclosed financial commitment.

The Barbadian taxpayer has already been for five years heavily subsidising long stay visitor arrival by air under the ‘Best of Barbados’ programme by up to US$300 per person.

Vice-President of Operations for Carnival, GORDON Buck, who signed the agreement on behalf of his company, was perhaps a little less convincing, by stating ‘Carnival Cruise Lines and its sister companies had every intention of maintaining its present rate of cruise calls to Barbados, and increasing the number of visitors’.

And another publication quotes Mr Buck as saying ‘Carnival was now hoping to forge a renewed and better relationship, which he hoped would lead to them bringing even higher numbers of arrivals’

At least to me, ‘every intention’ and ‘hoped’ don’t seem to carry the same conviction or commitment as ‘guarantees’ or ‘ensure’.

I have several causes of concern!

Where does Barbados go from here?

‘We’ have already and consistently projected Barbados as a discount destination in three out of four of ‘our’ traditional markets in terms of long stay visitors.

Now it appears that the only way we can maintain cruise ship arrival numbers is to financially entice the operators through further subsidies.

Yes! I can see the rationale if Carnival were home porting in Barbados, where at least our hotels could substantially benefit, but just the revenue generated from a brief day trip?

Secondly, Carnival’s advertising is currently dominated with bold headlines like ‘One day we didn’t even get off the ship. We went for a morning jog on the outdoor track. Then we pampered ourselves in the spa- the couples massage to die for. After our lobster dinner we had champagne in our room and watched the ships and sailboats go by and we enjoyed the exquisite sunset from our balcony’.

Somehow, this doesn’t project the image that the company wants each and every passenger to disembark and spend money in the destination or reinforce the idea of a ‘joint marketing concept’

Finally, now that Barbados has committed to financially subsidising Carnival, will they be holding their hand out to every port they enter?

And if not, presumably the Barbadian taxpayer is effectively also subsidising every other port that is visited a cruise that includes Barbados.

Adrian Loveridge
7 October 2006

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Filed under Barbados Tourism, Business & Banking, Island Life, Politics & Corruption, Traveling and Tourism