UPDATED: Adrian Loveridge Replies At Bottom Of Article
The increasing size of cruise ships and the tendency for the ship itself to be the destination has already produced profound changes in our tourism industry. There is no doubt that Barbados will have to continually adapt to capitalise from these changes.
The next generation of Royal Caribbean mega-cruise ships will carry 5,400+ passengers, 1200 crew and be almost 1200 feet long – and that is only one of many types of huge liners that will be coming into service in the next ten years.
I was reading somewhere (can’t find it now) that cruise passengers are becoming less interested in leaving their ships than they used to be. With so much to do on the ships and the attitude of “If you’ve seen one tropical island, you’ve seen ’em all”, in the future each one of us (and I mean every citizen) will have to work harder to differentiate Barbados and keep those tourist dollars rolling in.
We haven’t heard much from Adrian Loveridge lately and I wonder if he and our readers have any thoughts as to where our tourism industry is heading in the next ten and twenty years. The previous Tourism Minister Noel “Instant Millionaire” Lynch used to brag about the number of cruise ship passengers who returned to Barbados as tourists and winter-season retirees, but I was always skeptical about Lynch and his claimed statistics.
How about it, Adrian? How do you foresee the mega-cruise ships impacting Barbados, and is there anything we should be doing as a nation to predict, read and capialize upon changes in tourist patterns?
World Cruise Network – Genesis Class Cruiseliners
UPDATE: Adrian Loveridge Talks About Barbados Having No Tourism Master Plan for 14 Years
First, perhaps someone can confirm that these new Genesis Class ships can actually berth in Bridgetown Port. I know the port was dredged for QM2, but is the draft deep enough?
I watched a very interesting UTube video interviewing Edmund Bartlett, the Jamaican Minister of Tourism, late last year. (YouTube video of Jamaican Tourism Minister HERE)
2008 will see 2,000 new hotel rooms, 2 million long stay visitors spending US$2.5 billion and a new port at Falmouth to take the Genesis Class ships by 2009.
During the 14 years of the BLP Government there seemingly was NO tourism masterplan. As Ambassador Kellman so accurately described it yesterday, referring to the CONCRETE COAST.
The loss of 28 hotels, the conversion to condominiums is going to have a profound effective on the long term viability of the industry. This has to be addressed. Having half your entire hotel room stock empty for 365 nights of the year too, is a challenge, especially with diminishing airlift.
And from recent analysis of the statistics, 39% of our long stay visitor arrivals do not stay in registered accommodation.
A lot is going on in the background to change exactly how we do business and I sincerely hope that it is going to be enough to bring about positive improvement.
Adrian Loveridge (posted in comments section of this article.)