Answer: A Long, Long Time…
Before Harrison’s Cave closed it was Barbados’s most visited attraction with around 150,000 people each year paying on average an admission fee of BDS$20, when children and tour groups are taken into account.
From media reports the upgraded facility will be re-opening shortly for ICC World Cup Cricket then close again until November 2007.
The adult full price admission will then be increased to BDS$40.
Therefore to recoup the $51 million ‘investment’ before any allowances are made for staffing and operational costs or repayment of interest, and wrongly assuming that each visitor will pay the full $40 entrance charge, at current visitation levels it will take eight and a half years to recover the debt.
Add on the interest payable, staffing and all the other associated expenses and it is difficult to comprehend how yet another Government owned private company can recoup the vast amounts of money ploughed into it.
The acting Caves of Barbados Inc., CEO quoted figures of 60,000 cruise ship passengers and another 40,000 long stay visitors attending the World Cup Cricket matches being held in Barbados, but are these figures really plausible?
Less than 30,000 overseas visitors attended the last ICC World Cup Cricket event and we have already been told hotel occupancy is only around 60 per cent.
Of the quoted 18 cruise ships mooring in Bridgetown, this is now apparently down to 11, including what can only be described as mega yachts which accommodate around 100 passengers.
Is this yet another GEMS in the making?
The Minister of Tourism has to explain the figures and justification for spending $51 million and exactly how this enormous figure is going to be repaid.
13 March 2007