St. Lucia Getting Ahead Of Barbados – St. Lucia Tourism Minister

‘St. Lucia is going head to head with Barbados and I can see the island getting ahead’

These comments were made by Glen Beache, the Minister of Tourism for St. Vincent and the Grenadines in St. Lucia recently, whilst addressing the media with his St. Lucia counterpart, Senator Allen Chastenet.

Under a heading of ‘St. Vincent and St. Lucia team up for tourism promotion’ carried in the Wednesday 5th December 2007, edition of the Star newspaper, Minister Beache, went on to lament the continuing fall in intra Caribbean travel, citing rising airfares as a large contributor to the decline in regional travelers.

‘I agreed that airfares needed to go up’ he said. The extent to which they’ve gone up, I don’t agree with’.

Recently released long stay arrivals from the Barbados Statistical Service, show for the first ten months of 2007 a dramatic decline of 19 per cent visiting Barbados in terms of the regional islands combined.

The exception was Trinidad and Tobago which showed a drop of 12.2 per cent.

Tourism policymakers may have not as yet estimated the substantial negative economic effective this has had on the accommodation and ancillary sectors.

While most Caribbean destinations enjoy a fairly predictable busy winter season, the reality is that a bumper four month peak season does not pay the bills of operating 12 months a year.

Especially affected is the small hotel sector, which largely benefits from Caribbean people traveling in the eight long summer months.

But just about every other component element that makes up the overall tourism product suffers as well. Taxi drivers, car rental agencies, restaurants activities and attractions, shopping experiences and so on!

While, LIAT may be in a better financial state and once again enjoying a virtual monopoly, I really wonder if those political leaders guiding our destiny have added up the true overall cost to their nation’s economies in terms of lost tourism earnings.

Adrian Loveridge
5th December 2007

27 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business, Traveling and Tourism

27 responses to “St. Lucia Getting Ahead Of Barbados – St. Lucia Tourism Minister

  1. Anonymous

    not difficult to see st.lucia beating barbados in tourism!
    Barbados has in small part squandered its tourism charm, by big-headedly thinking it was THE only place on earth de white people an dem could/would come to holiday.

    Nice to see some lix sharing.
    Maybe a lil humble pie will get Barbados tourism product overall, back on track.

    here’s a hint.
    get rid of street paro’s like PETER THE CORAL MAN – if you at tourism board don’t know who he is…FIND OUT.!

  2. Anonymous

    I just made a booking with LIAT for a fare of over $600. A short while ago I was paying around $300 to travel to the same destination. I am so sick of these high fares, you can’t imagine. We were promised that before the end of the year a review would have been done. This year my travel was reduced by about 60% but I guess with the high fares LIAT would have done just as well. This state of affairs will do immense damage to intra caribbean travel; it will destroy CSME?

    The only way CSME will become a reality is if travel is affordable? Before CWC and these high fares., it was common to see the average working class person travelling throughout the region. That is no longer so common.

  3. lowbattery

    btw, adrian, do you know that these destinations market diving in the us and the UK, and that this represents a firm 7 to 10 % of their visitors?
    they track if you are coming to dive on the ED card.
    They advertise at DEMA and in the UK.
    and little old Barbados is about to put a marina up north, wreck diving that is almost as good or better than the barrier reef & mexico, and the BTA cannot get it’s act together as far as the indusrty os concerned.
    and that is just diving.
    money just too busy flowing into peoples pockets to be put to good use….

  4. Adrian Loveridge

    LowBattery…

    I really think we miss out on so many of these niche markets.
    Last year over 30% of all the foreign holidays booked by Brits were activity holidays, ie: sports, walking, kite surfing, diving etc.

    CanaNews article 4 December 2007
    ‘Officials at LIAT, the Caribbean’s lone inter-island carrier, are rejecting suggestions that high airfares are responsible for a decline in intra-regional travel’.

  5. Leviticus

    I went to BHTA meeting today and heard quite an inspiring address by David Thompson on DLP tourism policy. I was impressed with the proposed development of community tourism and the e-commerce platform for tourism players.

    Good stuff from the DLP.

  6. Private Pirates

    That man Beache would say anything. I think he is a political joker, always willing to make a laughing matter at Barbados and Barbadians alike, but little does he know, St. Lucia might be cathing up to where we are now, but by the time they do we would have moved on.

    Barbadians dont stay at one level, we were taught to impove on what we have and get better at what we do.

    As for LIAT (Leave Island Any Time), it has destroyed intra-regional travel, gone are the days of leaving on weekend getaways. But we as Barbadians should stop supporting Liat for at least a month or so and they will cry out, beleive it or not, we are Liat major customers.

  7. Thewhiterabbit

    Once upon a time all the enslaved people looked to the plantation for handouts of what was needed for life. Later all the freedmen looked to the plantation for handouts of what was needed for life. Later still, when the plantations were all gone or bankrupt, the descendants of those earlier people learned to look to government for handouts of what was needed for life. People now looking to government to “investigate” LIAT’s pricing don’t realize that government, just like the plantation, has its own interests at heart. Government will never curtail LIAT’s prices, as long as government remains the biggest shareholder. The stupidity of thinking that the demise of Caribbean Star and its affiliates would somehow result in a lowering of airfares is beyond belief. Name one thing government operates successfully, efficiently, and at a real profit (as opposed to the phony profit created by artificial pricing as in Arawak Cement, available at 1/2 the cost in St. Lucia as here)! You want lower prices and efficient transport? Bring back the free-enterprise competetive operators. Where is the long-promised inter-island high-speed ferry? Does anyone other than me think that CSME is a mouthful of political jargon that no one really wants?

  8. Word is also getting around that St Lucia has overtaken, or is overtaking, Barbados in another field- serious crime such as murders.

    Not that that is any consolation. But if we get our house in order by hanging on to the reputation we have earned over past decades, for stability and order, we can hang on to enough of the tourist trade to keep us going. There will always be increased threats from competitors, not the least of which will be post-Castro Cuba.

    As for inter-island ferries, that has been blocked by the politicians since m.v. Antilles stopped operating. Presumably to give LIAT protection from cheaper competition. No freedom of enterprise in our so-called democracy.

  9. Leviticus

    As for LIAT (Leave Island Any Time), it has destroyed intra-regional travel, gone are the days of leaving on weekend getaways. But we as Barbadians should stop supporting Liat for at least a month or so and they will cry out, beleive it or not, we are Liat major customers.

    ********

    If that is so, why did foolish Barbados buy more shares and become the main share-holder in LIAT while St. Lucia and St. Vincent and everyone else was pulling out?

    Who is the real Joker? Beache or Chastanet? Or Blarney Lynch?

  10. Adrian Loveridge

    ‘Silvanius Fontenard , General Manager of the St. Lucia Hotel Association (in) another key speech that stressed the importance gained by tourism for this island with yearly revenues of the order of one billion dollars’.

    Source; PrensaLatina 11 December 2007
    at the 16th Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEX)

    It apears that St. Lucia has ALREADY overtaken Barbados in annual tourism earnings and that has been achieved with a lower hotel room stock.

    In simple terms that means their hotels have enjoyed a higher year round annual occupancy with it producing more profitable properties.

  11. Anonymity

    It pains me as Mr. Loveridge aforementioned, how many niche markets the Barbados Tourism Authority has effectively panned over and ignored, so to speak, that we as a mature tourist destination could be reaping rewards in at this moment.

    Diving is big business in many of the major markets that we so desire to see increased traffic from, so why are we letting, relatively new comers to the Caribbean tourism arena come and take this rug from under our feet?

    The high air fares is one thing…but the continued LOW quality if existent service LIAT continues to offer for a premium now, is unacceptable…I say let American Eagle start a few more flights, Antigua-Barbados-Port of Spain, and we’ll see how quickly LIAT shapes up…maybe we’ll even see sandwiches and limited bar service on their flights in the advent of an American invasion on their politically protected home turf(s). A guy can dream…

  12. Anonymity

    Mr. Loveridge, is it true or just spin-talk that St. Lucia’s tourism receipts exceeded Barbados’ with a lower room stock? I need clarification before I comment further!

    Regards,
    Anonymity

  13. Adrian Loveridge

    Anonymity..

    I am just quoting from a Prensa Latina story carried under the head ‘Integration of Caribbean Tourism is still a Deam: Chastanet’.
    Castries, St. Lucia – 11th December 2007

    I have to assume that the General Manager of the St. Lucia Hotel Association is speaking from facts, just the same as when Sue Springer speaks on behalf of the BHTA.

    Its certainly a fact they have less hotel rooms that Barbados does.
    But even that is changing. St. Lucia added nearly a 1,000 rooms this year.

    Over the last 13 years, we have lost 27 hotels.

    On the other hand if you follow the comments so far made by our Minister of Tourism this year and then read the Advocate story today ‘Air Challenge’, its not suprising people become confused.

  14. Adrian Loveridge

    Anonymity…

    Competition works, it drives improved service and keeps airfares down.

    If American Eagle/Airlines thought that additional routes within the Caribbean could be profitable and would operate them, then the only thing standing in their way is our Government.

    It looks likely that American Eagle will be sold on the recommendation of their parent AMR. In which case its going to be interesting to see who could possibily acquire them.

  15. Anonymity

    The Eagle sale will prove quite interesting for many Caribbean territories…a less dynamic corporation could mean the loss of Eagle service (worst case scenario).

    I’m just saddened when I see newer tourism destinations striving ahead and away from Barbados, we should be schooling them, not playing catch-up or run as fast as you can so that they can’t catch-up with St. Lucia! We’ve been sitting down on our butts too comfortably and not paying attention to the mix that works for tourism.

    Sun, sea, sand and exclusive up-scale hotels will not sell Barbados much further than a few hundred or so rich tourists…we are developing our tourism badly, and we need a more holistic approach.

    BTW I’ve always admired your outspoken approach to tourism development in Barbados Mr. Loveridge, and enjoy your section in the Business Authority, do you still write it? I don’t see it anymore…(the paper that is) to be honest…

  16. Adrian Loveridge

    Anonymity…

    If Eagle is broken up its going to open a huge can of worms and I cannot begin to think what the current network would be replaced with.

    Sadly, my column in Business Monday was stopped. The publisher told me that Government had threatened to withdraw all advertising in the Advocate, if it continued.

    The Nation occassionally publishes my letters but has refused to print a regular column.

    There really never has been ANY room for complacency in the tourism industry, especially when its your number one industry.

    ‘We’, (and I include myself in that), just havn’t done enough and sufficently questioned some of the spin that is put into the public domain on a regular basis.

    ‘We’ need a tourism master plan, where EVERYBODY is onboard and not subject to the political likes or dislikes of a favoured few.

    Maybe its not too late!

  17. Anonymity

    What Deb Thomas says is quite true, the Caribbean region is made up of islands, surrounded by the sea…it stands to reason that we should manipulate the most abundant feature of our island homes…the God-damned sea!

    LIAT, after decades of service should be running to major markets in the US by now and stop flogging (frankly dead) routes in the Caribbean while poking out the travelling public’s eye…

    The operation needs to be rationalized…the Caribbean just seems like a happily sinking ship.

  18. anon

    Adrian I am hearing Air jamaica may cancel Ft. Lauderdale service because it flies Bdos route almost empty most of the time. Do you have credible information on this? Who pays for this service Gob/Bta? Is Air Jamaica paying for the service. Bruce Golding recently announced government of of Jamaica will be divesting itself of Air Ja. The costs are a drag on the ailing Jamaica economy.

  19. A

    I am a watersport operator and have quite a unique product. Barbados has the worst docking facilities or should I say lack of them in the entire caribbean. It is virtually now impossible to find a place to dock your boat (unless of course you know someone in the government) most operators are on moorings, million dollar boats in the open sea well I tell ya.

    I for one will be moving my entire operation to St Lucia proper facilities, proper support from the government to move there not just b*****t from bti about duty free for this and that in 20 years. Guess what you get it straight away in St Lucia a pleasure to deal with their straightforward government officials. A real shame for barbados it is now almost impossible for me to run my watersports operation here so I will have to let all my bajan staff go, if only barbados had told the truth I would not have had to waste my time and theirs.

    And what about the people I employ what do I tell them, barbados should get its act together and build a marina that everyone can use not just 100 year old companies.

  20. ~B~F~P~E~

    Adrian Loveridge:

    “Sadly, my column in Business Monday was stopped.”

    What’s sad about that? For us it was a major cause for celebration.

    And bigger and better is planned… just wait till we stop your LIFE.

    ~B~F~P~E~

  21. Santa ~B~F~P~E~

    Jingle Bells lyrics – BFPE Version

    Dashing through Inch Marlowe
    In an unmarked vehicle
    From the crime scene we go
    Laughing all the way
    De big boss phone will ring
    Making spirits bright
    What fun it is to laugh and sing
    An arson song tonight

    Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
    Jingle all the way
    Oh, what fun it is to burn
    A hotel to the ground
    Jingle bells, jingle bells
    Jingle all the way
    Oh, what fun it is to burn
    A hotel to the ground

    A night or two from now
    I think I’ll take a ride
    Matches and gasolene
    All seated by my side
    Loveridge will be asleep
    Misfortune seems his lot
    Police will say they can’t be sure
    What happened on that spot

    Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
    Jingle all the way
    Oh, what fun it is to burn
    A hotel to the ground
    Jingle bells, jingle bells
    Jingle all the way
    Oh, what fun it is to burn
    A hotel to the ground

    Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
    Jingle all the way
    Oh, what fun it is to burn
    A hotel to the ground
    Jingle bells, jingle bells
    Jingle all the way
    Oh, what fun it is to burn
    A hotel to the ground

    Y U H

    R A S S H O L E ! ! ! !

  22. Fred

    I can confirm that today’s Ft Lauderdale was cancelled due to a lack of pax, this is a fact of life I was supposed to have had family on this elusive service.

    Was I mistaken when I seem to recall the idiot for a Minister of Tourism telling the nation that with the start of this service it would boost our tourism arrivals? I

    It would appear to be a bit of a joke with more flights being cancelled than providing a service directly to Barbados that this could be considered a viable and real option.

    Lynch take a bow you must rate as the biggest idiot to ever have graced the halls of the House of Assembly or a Ministry, what a sad excuse for a minister really sad.

  23. Adrian Loveridge

    Anon…

    I am not sure how the Air Jamaica Fort Lauderdale service is doing but I will speak someone who knows and report back.

    Its no wonder, the general public gets confused.
    In one newspaper (Nation) you have the Minister of Tourism uttering how wonderful things are and that ‘tourism is on the up and up’.

    While the other (Advocate) under a headline ‘Air challenge’ stating ‘During the first nine months of the year, overalll (air) capacity decreased by 67,519 seats or six per cent’.

    Some airlines (American) have been replacing larger capacity aircraft (B757 or B767) with smaller ones on certain routes like Miami (B737).

    And did I hear the Minister correctly last night?

    A new company has been formed to operate Oistins fish fry.
    Was it Oistins Bay Gardens Inc?
    Strange that I could not find it registered at the CAIPO.

    Perhaps the Minister could publish the registration number.

    Yet another Goverment owned company. I wonder if they will publish their accounts or will it be another Hotels and Resorts Ltd, where we have not seen audited accounts since 2001.

  24. Adrian Loveridge

    WestJet, Canada’s second largest airline and a low cost carrier flying into St. Lucia and shortly to Montego Bay.

    I wonder if the BTA has approached them to operate a Halifax/Barbados service?

  25. lucianyute

    St.Lucia is opening on Rodney bay marina,make one in castries and plan’s are ahead in making one in the south also. We will be adding about 2,000 room’s or a little less soon. The harbour in castries, there will be opening on it also the airport in castries and the int’l. Because BIM once in transit passenger’s to pay departure tax so the SLU Government sees another way to bring tourist in.

  26. Adrian Loveridge

    Lucianyute,

    I think you have brought up some very good points.

    re: the intransit departure tax.

    We have noticed (and the guests are telling us) a noticable drop-off in overnights enroute or return from other islands like St. Vincent and The Grenadines because they resent paying this additional tax just to intransit Barbados.

    Where possible many people are now flying in to Port of Spain and connecting there

    For a long time our little hotel has had a policy of trying to convert overnighters into longer staying guests, and to a degree it has worked to the national interest.

    One nighters become two or three nighters and then often stay for a week in subsequent years.

  27. natasha

    it’s not for the sea, it’s to see the endemic birds….and the unspoiled habitat….rainforest, etc….

    Barbados is way over developed

    too many ghastly hotels

    not enough natural habitat left

    such a shame