Now That U.S. Citizens Must Have Passports For Air Travel, The Caribbean Is No Longer The Vacation Of Choice

Cheaper To Fly New York To London or Paris Than To Barbados

Not being in the travel business, I never thought about the impact of the United States requiring Americans and everyone else to have a passport to travel abroad by air.

Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) Secretary-General Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace spoke yesterday at the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association’s annual general meeting at the Hilton Barbados and he put it very simply… (paraphrased)…

“Before we had this (passport) rule that came in place, for those of us who could afford a vacation… but didn’t have a passport the only choice was to come to the Caribbean. As soon as I have a passport my choice is the world and suddenly we have an induced level of competition that we warned people about, that is going to make a substantial difference.”

“It’s cheaper to go from New York City to London for the month of October (2007) every single day than to come to Barbados. It’s much much cheaper to go to Cancun (Mexico). It’s cheaper in fact in most cases to go to Paris…”

… read his entire comments in the Barbados Advocate (link here – World Cup Let-Down

22 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Traveling and Tourism

22 responses to “Now That U.S. Citizens Must Have Passports For Air Travel, The Caribbean Is No Longer The Vacation Of Choice

  1. Sunniebgi

    I really don’t think you should blame the “passport” issue for people not coming to the Caribbean because of costs. As an American who has lived in Barbados for close to 15years, I have always felt that US Citizens should be required to have passports, just like everyone else in the world, to travel outside there own country. It’s a very small cost in the scheme of things and it’s the best form of ID anyone can have.

    Now the issue should be the governments and airlines working together to bring the costs down to get people to head back to the Caribbean. But also at the same time, don’t raise the price for those of us living in the Caribbean to travel to the US or anywhere else in the world. There are many times that it costs me double to fly to the US, while my family could fly to see me for 1/2 the cost on the same Airline. The problem with that is that we (those of us living in the caribbean) are paying for the Governments in the Caribbean to subsidize the travel of those people living in North American to “Discover Barbados” or “come to Jamaica” or whatever the slogan of the day may be, while the US and Canada or England for that matter, really doesn’t care if we head there to visit or not. (oh yes there are commercials, but the governments and the airlines are paying us to come in that direction.)

  2. Wishing in Vain

    Our tourism effort is fragmented and lacks direction when one listens to the idiot Lynch stating that India and Africa are going to be two big markets for our tourism in the coming months (this he stated at the time of CWC) it surely must give us some indication of the level of nonsense that we are enduring.
    When our tourism industry is being led by a total and complete arrogrant idiot such as Lynch is we have problems there can be little doubt about our future it is doomed to failure.
    Our failure to arrive at a reasonable level of costing of airline seats for both Caribbean Airlines and Liat will also put undue pressures on the hotel industry because caribbean people will and cannot afford these massive increases as exist now and by extension will result in lower hotel bookings, guess Lynch must have overlooked this in his planning.
    Whereas our effort should be concentrated in the UK and European markets we have this idiot Lynch harking that India and Africa will be growing markets, I am happy not to be in the hotel industry while this idiot drives it into submission.
    This idiot Lynch is stating that there is a grand plan in the offering for the tourism sector, I wonder who else in his ministry knows about this plan?? if we take past happens as anything to go by this may well be one of his pie in the sky lies that he is famous for.
    Such an idiot he is, why do we still have him destroying our vital industry???

  3. Littleboy

    For too long we have felt that visitors “had to come here”. Reality is that there are hundreds of tourist destinations worldwide.
    We are now allowing a model of high-rise CONdos that are spoiling the very “thing” that people came for, all in the name of “development.
    The monstrosities are turning away too many visitors…except for a few who have excess cash to invest/spare/launder.
    South America has been ignored for too long;so too Germany; Canada has been shunted aside after providing us with 60% of our tourism business in the 60’s and 70’s.
    That is what happens when square pegs are fitted into round holes…Shuffler,Donna Symmonds,Griffith,Stetson,Oliver Jordan, MM Lynch et al…
    How can they remove knowledgeable workers like Hugh Foster, Michael Scantlebury and Calvin Hope, Sylvia Lynch and others and expect success?
    Only a return to an experienced board and staff who WORK will save our tourist industry!!!

  4. J. Payne

    The Caribbean should have tried to replace tourism with global business…. If the Caribbean had large companies with global reach that would have been better. Then— you can hold shareholders meetings etc. in the Caribbean and allow that to spurr tourism to our shores. Afterall who wouldn’t want to go on a world class business meeting to the Caribbean and be able to head to the beach that evening all in the name of global business… Since the Caribbean missed that boat the next Industry the Caribbean can bank on is the aging US baby-boomer market. Most baby-boomers are going to be looking for retirement havens. If the Caribbean brings their hospital infrastructure up to the level of the USA and forms alliances with some US insurance carriers (Where Americans or Canadians could be covered in the region) they will reap the rewards.

  5. J. Payne

    Michael Lee-Chin (The Jamaican-Canadian) multi-billionaire touched on this a bit as to his investment policy for the Caribbean.

    I agree with some of what he says. I think he may be on the money. Esp. with respect to there being almost no uninhabited land on the US sea coasts. Thus Americans have to look elsewhere like the Caribbean for their dream beachfront homes.

    Michael Lee-Chin outlines acquisition strategy
    Al Edwards
    Friday, May 12, 2006
    http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/Business/html/20060512T000000-0500_104419_OBS_MICHAEL_LEE_CHIN_OUTLINES_ACQUISITION_STRATEGY.asp

    [SNIP]Chairman of Canadian mutual fund company AIC, Michael Lee Chin, who is also the chairman of Jamaican banking house NCB Group, continues to extol the investment opportunities the Caribbean holds.[end SNIP]]

  6. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Barbados: Caribbean Vacation?

  7. Two Sides

    excuse me….it is about time Americans were made to travel with passports like ….lets see….the rest of the world. Give me a break. Probably we will now get quality instead of quantity. I can really see the Parisiannes jumping for joy the they are now a preferred destination…lol. Really, I think we will now get visitors who are actually interested in BARBADOS and want to come here and not some island with warm weather, sea and white sandy beaches where they can get a tan.

  8. Gino

    Well, believe it or not that is exactly why most people travel to an island for vacation: sun, sea, tan, relaxation and fun. It helps if the place has a good infrastructure (i.e. lodging, restaurants, roads, entertainment, natural beauty), a friendly and (at least apparently) welcoming population, and a competitively priced quality offer. BIM has most of these, for now. Let’s ask ourselves for real what is the differentiating competitive advantage of Barbados? Why would people continue to pay increasingly more to come here compared to some other island in the sun closer to where they come from? What will happen when/if oil prices continue to go up, sea levels continues to grow, etc.? Do you think that Chinese tourists will be the answer to our dwindling arrivals from traditional markets? Europeans for instance (outside the UK) have a hard time getting here even if they specifically choose BIM as a destination and despite being prepared to pay a lot on airfare–there simply isn’t much airlift to choose from out of Europe. Intra-Caribbean flights and those from the US are dominated by AA and the prices are going up significantly. Can any of you guys out here who are in the tourism and travel industry help answer some of these questions for our clarification? What would be possible solutions and who can come up with them? Not pleased with planning from govt. officials? How about send them proposals from industry associations if anyone has viable ones?

  9. UK Passport RIP-OFF!

    went to get a machine readable passport from British High Commission.

    “only” Bds.$490 !!
    – that’s the equivalent of US$245 !
    – for a passport?

    doubt me? give them a ring at 430-7800

    four hundred and ninety dollars for their passport!

    Geez lady, I wasn’t asking about monthly rental for a suite,
    just a passport! ..y’know?

  10. yatinkinkiteasy

    I think US citizens who dont have pasports and who dont wish one are idiots and that should stay in their trailer parks…we dont need them…besides, they can go to Disney World if they want ….without a passport.

  11. J. Payne

    The USA charges US$190 for a brand-new machine readable one. AND after you send it off you have to wait 10 weeks.

  12. J. Payne

    Imagine if a FAMILY wanted to travel Internationally??? That’s $200 for each to have a passport….

    Yet I think you can still goto Mexico/Canada without passport if traveling by car or boat.

    According to http://www.connect2canada.com/bordertravelupdate/

    The US passport thing is just annoying. It all started because they now allow illegal aliens to get state drivers licenses in some states. So since they can get a drivers license, they would have been able to get back into the USA too by just flashing that ID. It is all a racket. Meanwhile the US borders are still wide open. As most Americans say it’s all a plot to keep the Americans in…

  13. reality check

    anyone been to Miami lately?

    Tower after massive ugly tower ( many empty ) of condos strung along the coast.

    Barbados must differentiate what it has to sell rather than simply sell what every one else in the world has to offer.

    Let the people who have their own money at risk and know what they are doing run the tourist industry ie the Fosters, the Goddards and even the Loveridges of the world. They can team up with the international chains. The alternative of having a government run tourist agency pi___ing our money away and led by a complete moron is intolerable.

  14. Lady Anon

    Just read that they have suspended the visa/passport requirement because of the backlog.

    “The Bush administration on Friday temporarily waived some of its new, post-Sept. 11 requirements for flying abroad, hoping to help irate summer travelers whose trips have been jeopardized by delays in processing their passports.

    The change would aid those fliers awaiting a U.S. passport to meet the new rule requiring one for travel to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. But it won’t clear the way for travelers who haven’t already applied for a passport.”

  15. Adrian Loveridge

    The six month waiver for US Citizens to require a passport to re-enter the United States will certainly NOT help Barbados for those travellers yet to make a destination choice for this summer.

    Barbados already requires a valid passport for entry by air.
    Not by cruise ship of course, as the cruise ship operators effectively lobbied and placed sufficient funds behind the lobby to delay any compulsory implementation of the passport requirement for at least two years.

    US travellers that have not yet applied for passports and that are considering travelling to the Caribbean will obviously opt for a destination still accepts photo ID.

    Its yet another challenge to the tourism policymakers.

    Reduced US visitors!
    Reduced Intra Caribbean visitors!

    Perhaps Minister Lynch and Dr. Hudson Husbands are right, with all the legacy benefit from CWC, the droves of Indians, South Africans, Kiwi’s and Australians are going to more than make up for it!

  16. Gino

    Please (anyone, Mr. Loveridg?) correct me if I am wrong but the passport issue seems to me less dramatic then the cost of airfares and increasingly high cost of coming to Barbados. Most US folks who travel at all for vacation abroad have passports because they have been traveling to other destinations that always required passports. Anyway, since passports will eventually be compulsory for US folks going anywhere, this will blow over within a year most likely. The cost of travel, increasing airfares on the back of higher fuel cost and less competition, could harm Barbados even more pricing it out in comparison with other Caribbean and further afield destinations. Or perhaps only rich folks will come (and be welcome) to Barbados but will they be enough to support this tourism economy? Or maybe we hope the Chinese will come in such numbers and spent such money as to make it prosperous and sustainable?!

  17. Bajan George

    For repeat tourists, Barbados does not offer much. Dollar for dollar, they get a better deal in Hawaii, Mexico, and other tourism venues. Barbados will have to do some major and honest soul-searching if it wants to compete with these markets.

  18. Adrian Loveridge

    Gino…

    I would first like to congratulate you on your general tourism comments. You have thought about it!

    Barbados, will never be able to get away from the fact that geograpically we are further away than other major destinations, so therefore the airfare is likely (but not always) to be more expensive.

    Therefore, you have to get around that problem.

    The best available option is by targeting Frequent Flyer or Mileage programmes.

    The biggest (50 million members) and oldest (26 years) programme is American Airlines AAdvantage.

    Between 7th September and 14th November they can travel to Barbados from ANY Continental North American airport they serve for 20,000 miles.

    Thats the same for San Diego, San Francisco or Vancouver as for Miami or New York.

    Instead of costing US$1,500 plus for a ticket from the Pacific or Middle West, THEY can reach Barbados for 20,000 miles.

    Imagine, a typical North American family using an affinity credit/debit card as a preferred method of payment to settle their water, electricity or other utility bill, supermarket purchases, insurance premiums, etc.
    Thats why AA has a MasterCard AAdvantage Card and others have followed suit.

    My personal thoughts are that we have to get back to the basics and give value for money.

    The question isn’t what it costs, its whether visitors think they have received value for their money.

  19. Anonymous

    “…we have to get back to the basics and give value for money.
    The question isn’t what it costs, its whether visitors think they have received value for their money
    .”

    Good grief…I LIVE here and I feel that I don’t receive value for money. not by far!
    Taxed to death we are. With a cost of living like London, where are the subways, the Museums, the West End Shows…yeah I know I’m dreaming.sorry

    Go to
    http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=124
    and have a look at what cruise-ship people think of Barbados The Destination.
    Some good some bad, of course
    but it’s nice to have the Outside View.
    One guy even said he found Barbados to be clean!
    Where did HE go?

  20. J. Payne

    Wasn’t Jamaica was offering to PAY for US people’s passports so long they book a flight to Jamaica next year?

    I wonder how that programme was going for them?

  21. iriebrown

    Littleboy,

    RE. How can they remove knowledgeable workers like Hugh Foster, Michael Scantlebury and Calvin Hope, Sylvia Lynch and others and expect success?

    Do you think you can explain this comment as I am having trouble understanding the logic !!

    What exactly did they do that was so fantastic and knowledgeable for Tourism in Barbados in their time????

    Am I forgetting something. My memory serves me quite well usually.

  22. Let’s start promoting travel to the Caribbean. Let’s look for alternative markets like Latin America.