Is Barbados Tourism “Growth” Really Just Inflation?

I have read the paid editorial Tourism File in the 22nd March edition of the Daily Nation three times entitled ‘2006 the best yet for tourism takings’ and frankly I am still confused.

I understand the figures are compiled by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation and taken from sample exit surveys completed by some visitors.

The article states ‘Last year, through a combination of factors, the island significantly increased its earnings from the industry to the tune of $1.9 billion’. ‘This was over $130 million more than the $1.7 billion generated in 2005’.

Then later ‘Growth in long-stay arrivals, by more than 16,000, contributed greatly to the destinations ‘.

So, a growth of 16,000 long stay visitors over 2005 but only a total increase in spending of 6.8% over the previous year.

But wait a minute, didn’t the central Bank state that the rate of inflation in 2006 was 7.2%.

Visitors are spending more, simply because virtually everything is costing more, so there has not been any real growth at all.

In fact with the increased long stay visitors, all indication are the average person is spending less.

I would be grateful if BFP readers would read the Nation’s article and post their interpretations.

Adrian Loveridge

22 March 2007


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Traveling and Tourism

8 responses to “Is Barbados Tourism “Growth” Really Just Inflation?

  1. Trix

    Ever heard of Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics?

  2. Patrick Porter

    I don’t know how they say tourism is increasing, as every time I visit Barbados I see less and less tourists
    So maybe in the Ministers mind he sees big numbers and dreams about them but I really don’t see them in the beaches, restaurants and hotels. Maybe they are the ghosts of tourism past that he is seeing

  3. Justasking

    It has been said by a sage somewhere “Statistics are like a woman’s bikini – what it reveals is interesting but what it coinceals is vital!

  4. Bajanboy

    The index that measures inflation includes many items that tourists do not purchase, and many of the items that tourists purchase are not included in the index. I would imagine that room rates are fairly fixed over a year, and may actually decline as hotels lower rates to be more competitive. I also do not think that the cost of restaurant meals has changed that much over the past two years, and the same with attractions and car hire. You would almost need a separate tourist price index, which tracks the changes in prices of items purchased mainly by tourists.

    Does anyone have stats on how much the government spends on managing tourism each year. This would include the operating costs of the BTA,BTII and the Ministry of Tourism. This would show that we are spending more and more, and getting less and less in return. That could also be compared to what the private sector spends on marketing their products.

  5. De Orginal

    Well there is some truth to the rumor Minister Noel Lynch refused to discuss integrity legislation on Brass Tacks how disgusting. He should be ashamed of himself I call on all Bajans once again to call on their parlimentary represenatives to account for their actions and their stance on accountability, integrity and transparency. Minister Lynch is not behaving like a man who is accountable to the people of Barbados he is behaving like a bully , stuck up and pompous. He is not what we wish our represenatives to be. He should be called upon to apologise to the people of Barbados and resign from the Cabinet. Mr Prime Minister we are waiting.

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  7. Casual Observer

    Maybe I’m being naiive but I assumed that when the CTO produces statistics, they publish the real values (which account for inflation), not nominal values. Let’s be sure that we know what we’re talking about before we start to lay blame.

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