Barbados Tourism Authority’s Taylor and Loveridge Go Stark Raving Mad… Or Are Misquoted and Misunderstood

The trouble with sound-bite reporting in the newspapers, broadcast media (and yes, blogs too) is that, of necessity, journalists have to reduce two-hour speeches to a few paragraphs – and they often get it wrong. The speaker later discovers that he or she wasn’t understood at all, or that an out of context phrase is wrongly chosen to represent their entire message.

Let’s hope that is the case with the recent Nation News articles quoting Barbados Tourism Authority chairman Ralph Taylor and board member Adrian Loveridge.

On the good side, whether they were accurately quoted or not, the articles may act as a catalyst to discussion about a real plan for our #1 industry.

It is unbelievable but true that after 15 years of BLP government, Barbados has no master plan for tourism, and no master plan for development.

(AS an aside, the previous Tourism Minister Noel Lynch is substantially richer than when he came into (ahem) “public service”. Too bad the job didn’t pay on the basis of results achieved. You know… like the real world.)

What Did Taylor And Loveridge Say?

According to a sound bite in The Nation News, Ralph Taylor addressed the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association’s annual general meeting and said…

(Barbados should) “earmark what is left of its existing coastline” for tourism development.

“This creates an opportunity to target American hotel brands, regional, indigenous and local brands capable of attracting the United States consumer… That will help to drive additional marketing muscle, create greater awareness to American consumers and would help to increase airlift from the USA.”

Taylor said Barbados could learn from Cuba, which has “earmarked every square foot of its coastline for tourism development and has clearly recognised that tourism is its best economic resource”.

Then Adrian Loveridge is reported in a second Nation News article as saying…

He supported a call by Taylor at the annual general meeting of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association for Barbados to “earmark what is left of its existing coastline” for tourism development.

Many Were Outraged… But Missed The Context Of Both Men’s Comments

On its own, the phrase “earmark what is left of its existing coastline for tourism development” brings to mind the horrendous situation on much of the West Coast where the sun is blotted from the sky by condos. Even when developers reluctantly leave a tiny little path to the beach that they call “access”, there is no place to park. (And don’t get me going about how the St. Charles developers strategically blocked off their beach so it is effectively private. Crawl under the jetty to access it and the security guards are all over you in a second.)

But is that what Ralph Taylor and Adrian Loveridge really mean? I don’t think so!

Adrian goes on to say the following in his Nation News interview (Ha… the Nation News interviewing Adrian Loveridge… how times do change!) Anyway, here is what Adrian says…

However, he said construction had to be pleasing to the eye, had to make allowances for green areas and recreational areas, and must not block out views of the sea.

He complained that the West Coast was turning into a “concrete coast” with huge condominiums blotting out the view of the sea.

“People do not want to come to Barbados and see every inch of the coastline under concrete,” he told the WEEKEND NATION. “They want to see some green areas, areas for recreation, jogging and so on.”

Loveridge Disagrees With Some Of Taylor’s Comments

We at Barbados Free Press fought long and hard when the previous government tried to push the Caribbean Splash waterpark slated for the Graeme Hall watershed, but we are not against water parks or tourist traps er… “tourist attractions” in general as long as they are properly situated and operate in the most environmentally responsible manner. Barbados needs more than sun and sand and we have to be much better than our Caribbean competition because we are at the very end of the North American flight routes and are more expensive to get to.

Barbados will never be a “mass destination” like Florida or the Bahamas. We are simply too far away from the major market areas – so we have to focus our tourism product on those market sectors where we can realize the best success. Young families with children will always love Disney World, and they will always want a cheaper destination. Barbados cannot compete in that market.

Mr. Taylor thinks that a water park is just the thing for Barbados, but we’ll have to disagree on that one. We don’t want to re-hash the whole waterpark discussion here, but there are dozens of abandoned or non-operational water parks in North America and dozens for sale. They don’t usually sell them if they’re making money, you know!

So… if Mr. Taylor can find an investor to build an environmentally responsible water park in Barbados – no problem. Just don’t ask taxpayers to fund such a risky proposition.

As far as major hotel brands go… I think we need them. But the whole thing must be done with a NATIONAL PLAN – not willy-nilly as we have seen for the last 15 years.

Adrian Loveridge has his own thoughts about some of what Mr. Taylor said, and he posted them on Barbados Free Press.

Here’s what Adrian had to say…

I think maybe (Ralph Taylor) was reflecting his personal views, because I certainly do not share the theme and waterpark philosophy, nor does it fit in with our tourism profile.

I really feel we have to go back to the basics of tourism and understand WHY visitors come back!

Its down to the level of service they receive, the surroundings, a feeling of safety and security and well being.

Get those basics right and almost everything else will follow.

We also have to look VERY carefully at our rapidly ageing target market.
5 years from now, what will they want to do?

10 years from now, again what will they want do?

Bearing this in mind, if I had the choice of turning Graeme Hall into a National Botanical Gardens or building a waterpark, guess which I would choose?

We have drifted, as the late Peter Morgan, so accurately described it, without a tourism rudder for nearly fifteen years.

Its time now, to stop, seriously consider and evolve a 10 to 20 year plan of EXACTLY where our tourism product is going.

… Adrian Loveridge post on Barbados Free Press

Further Reading

Nation News…

World-class ideas from Taylor

Loveridge: Surcharge Wrong Move

Barbados Free Press

June 6, 2007 – Our Barbados Waterpark Trusted Source Was Correct… (Will Matthew Kerins Go Ballistic?)

Oct 20, 2006 – Caribbean Splash Waterpark Developer Kerins – Ugly American, Or Just Losing It?

31 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Traveling and Tourism

31 responses to “Barbados Tourism Authority’s Taylor and Loveridge Go Stark Raving Mad… Or Are Misquoted and Misunderstood

  1. Cat Scan

    With oil prices heading skywards, due to demand outstripping supply are we going to have a tourist industry in 10 years? Are these people going to be able to travel? Are there going to be airlines to bring them here?

    The very rich will, but what about the others? We are going to have to consider some serious risk mitigation!!

  2. Straight talk

    Cat Scan:

    Exactly my own reading of the situation.

    Huge cruise ships for the blue rinse brigade spending their children’s inheritance on a one day photo opportunity, that could be our paltry future.

    St Lawrence will become a peaceful pedestrian precinct with no medium income tourists, but the bars for locals will survive.

    West Coast – from Black Rock to Speightstown will be wall to wall concrete condos “For Sale” interspersed with a very few villas for the mega rich, those so rich they do not need to be seen in the latest A-List resort, they just love Barbados.

    The BTA concentrates too much on subsidising bums (pun intended ) on aircraft seats when in the new world economy the unique product will be the deciding factor, not cost.
    What is our product?
    It was once quality service in a beautiful setting with a civilised background.

    All three of these USPs are now under serious threat.

    We are in danger of falling between the two stools of complacent marketing and the grab for instant returns.

    If we do carry on this path and become a resort of the lowest common denominator, we will lose out big style to the world leaders in mass marketing=
    Cuba, Mexico, Dominican, Spain etc. will have us in the relegation play offs every year.

    The challenge BTA now faces is not how to increase tourism, but how to support the few tourists who will be able to afford to visit us, and how we promote ourselves to continue being one of the must-see destinations of the world.

    A challenge for everyone on the board, because, for a change, throwing marketing dollars ain’t gonna work.
    It requires thinking outside of the comfortable box Best of Barbados has provided.

    We need a paradigm shift and completely new approach.
    I siocerely hope the board are up to it.

  3. htmlKode

    With luck, Travel Abroad will go right back to travel by ship!
    Catch a cruise-ship from NYC or wherever, to Barbados, drop you here for a week or two,
    and catch the cruise-ship back when you’re done with the island/s.
    Splendid idea!
    A bit of everything.
    Cruise plus Stay! Ha!

    Big atmospheric plus(nobody thinks of) when the airline industry starts flying seriously-less numbers of flights…less pollution being distributed at 10-35,000 ft. elevation where Nature intended none to be!
    Have you thought of that?
    Or are you still seeing things on a Human level,
    rather than a Planetary level?

    I thought so..

  4. BABFP

    Cat Scan
    “With oil prices heading skywards, due to demand outstripping supply” .. Bullocks friend, do your homework.

    Frankly I don’ care where they put their cement structures, as long as they are not placed on the ‘sea side’ of any of the remaining coast roads. Let’s have some under (the road with CCTV) passes to the beach. In fact Government HQ need’ relocating. That is some A-prime real estate.

  5. BABFP

    Cat Scan
    I am not sure you know what you’re saying.

    Anyway to me it doesn’t matter where they put their cement structures, as long as they are not placed on the ‘sea side’ of any of the remaining coast roads. Use under the road passes to the beach. Government HQ needs relocating. That is some proper real estate.

  6. Krzysztof Skubiszewski

    Words, words, words. “He said, she said.” Probably all of the above quotes are somehow accurate. So we can’t learn from this what Messrs. Taylor & Loveridge really mean.

    There is a way to find out.

    Get each one to give a public statement ‘on the record’ about the proposed 2nd marina at Six Mens, St. Peter. One that will cause equally as much (or more) havoc than the 1st marina which destroyed Heywoods Beach and ended the simple life-style of the locals in Six Mens, Shermans and Half Moon Fort.

    Mr. Taylor and Mr. Loveridge, “Do you support the building of another scandalous development or will you use your considerable prestige to flatly oppose it?”

  7. Thomas Gresham

    I don’t understand this. I thought that a key election platform was reclaiming the coastline for locals – in some hitherto unexplained way.

    If the government is serious about the latter, the best thing to do is to buy strategic parts of the remaining coast line and ensure that it is always to be used for public recreation (and not private tourism).

    I think buying strategic parts of the coast line would be a better route than the one proposed in the manifesto of using the planning laws to stop Barbadians selling their land to whoever they wish to sell it to (and thereby removing some of their rights and wealth). In fact such planning restrictions are now illegal under our international treaty obligations. But it seems this plan has been abandoned anyway in favour of “sensitive” tourism development for the last remaining bits of our coastline. Shame.

  8. NO MORE MARINAS EVER AGAIN

    Not only do the Port St. Charles gang believe they own Heywoods Beach their security squad recently told an American visitor he wasn’t allowed to swim across the channel they’ve carved into (and wrecked) the beach to allow their yachts in and out.

    When the visitor told the security guard to call the police to settle the matter the guard evaporated into thin air.

  9. 2hiMinded?

    Perhaps a public fund,
    put together by US,The Public,
    could buy small lots of sea-front real estate?

    If the land is going at $60 a sq. ft.
    I’m willing to personally put Bds.$60,
    maybe even $120
    to buy 1 or 2 sq. ft. of it – that’s my little affordable input.

    And so will you, and You
    and even YOU!

    Surely we can get 200/500/1,000 such public-minded Bajans
    to put their money where their mouth is?
    and together we buy small plots and stick a covenant on it
    that from this time on,
    this land is to remain open
    as a public window to the sea?

    Impossible? Too idealistic?
    Tell me…
    Can we get this together????

    Where there’s a will
    – there’s a way.

    Is there a will?

  10. 106

    What……? You think those little “sound bites” were accidently taken out of context? I don’t.

  11. J

    But I though Ralph Taylor was a capitalist. And now he wants us the follow the Cuban model?

  12. Bajanboy

    $60 a square foot??

    What dream is that?? You are looking more like $1200 a square foot.

  13. Big Works

    Here we go again! First they went back on their promises on Greenland and now they want to sell the rest of the coastline to the highest bidder after Thompson went on national TV promising otherwise. Some tourism masterplan indeed! Gee, how many times has Thompson slept in the presidental suite at Ralph Taylor’s Almond Beach Village since the election?

  14. Hants

    The new Chairman and Adrian L. were caught in the moment because of their new found power and prestige.

    They will soon be humbled by their struggles to survive the “recession”.

    What really bothers me is the lack of consideration for the West Coast fishermen and the old Bajans who like to get a regular sea bath.

    What about the other Bajan traditions like beach cricket? Oh no problem. Beach cricket can be played at the New Kensington Oval.

    As an unwavering supporter of the DLP I am pleased with their efforts so far except for lack of ITAL,but I have concerns about the mouthings the likes of Taylor.

    All windows to the sea from Bridgetown to Speightstown should be preserved.

  15. JC

    I am an avid DLP supporter as well. However, when something is wrong Hants like you, I kick up pist! Why? Because for toooo long this continuous rape of our laws and country have been going on.

  16. JC

    Seems as if they sneak in still!

  17. Waterboy

    All windows to the sea from Bridgetown to Speightstown should be preserved.
    —————————————————————–
    Hants, note that the land at Graeme Hall along the ABC Highway (Errol Barrow to Sir Gary Roundabout) is also a “window to the sea”.

    Not in the traditional sense of being on the coast but nevertheless, very much a “window to the sea” and a “green space” to be enjoyed by visitors and locals alike as they pass that section of the highway.

  18. Margaret Knight

    Hail up, Hants! I salute you for that post. I also agree that the Dems have been making some efforts in the right direction. I have just come back from a trip over to Six Men’s, where I had some very interesting conversations with some of the fisherfolk and residents of the area (and just between you and me, they don’t want to hear the name Owing See Through!) Watch this space for more (with permission of BFP of course).

    ***************

    BFP says,

    You are always welcome, Margaret – as are the vast majority of folks whether we agree with them or not.

  19. Kay

    Every problem that is highligted here comes back to the fact that covenants and rules and laws all seem to be made just to be broken. And common sense does not appear to be very common. What new laws we pass today someone will find a way to get around tomorrow.

  20. Toronto one

    Interestingly there is not one advertisment in the Canadian national newspaper “travel section” for Barbados. Travel agencies have come to the conclusion that Barbados is to expensive to sell. The cost of vacationing in Barbados is about 3 times the cost of doing so in Cuba, Mexcio and the Domincian. I do realize they are not same places but they are warmed by the same sun. Those living and working in the “North” like to escape the winter for a week or two. Current economic conditions will mean in most cases they will choose the low cost alternatives even more than they did previsouly.

    The longer term risk relates to what will happen to the tourist industry when those that now visit Barbados do not return (because eventually they die).

    I am reminded of a quotation “when you have a problem fix it, if you fix it wrong it will come back and slap you in the face, then you get to fix it right. Doing nothing is a comfortable alternative but that is a diasterous way to run you life or your business”

    Can the tourism industry exist with cruise boats visiting and long term condo occupations? Time will tell, but there is very little doubt it is time to take a new look at fixing the problem but that can only be done if it is conceived that there is a problem to be fixed.

  21. Adrian Loveridge

    Toronto One,

    In my humble opinion you have raised some very good points.

    Of the 147 REGISTERED accommodation providers (Hotels, Guest Houses and Apartments) on Barbados, some 120 are classified as SMALL (under 75 rooms).

    Many of these small properties offer outstanding value for money despite our considerably higher costs than in the other destinations you mention.

    7 nights at our property (Winter or Summer) costs as little as US$356 (or CAD$) per person. Add on breakfast and dinner daily and it brings the price up to US$605 per person.

    Tell me a 4 acre oceanfront (or lakeside) hotel in the Toronto area where I can stay for that amount?

    Yes! the airfares are too high, so travelsmart.
    Use your AIRMILES.
    With American you can fly from Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto, Halifax etc., for 25,000 miles during the fall.

    Short of any more massive increases in fuel costs, I think you will find airfares from Canada come down this winter.
    Increased Air Canada capacity and the new four times weekly service with WestJet, will ensure this happens.

  22. PiedPiper

    Toronto One: You have touched on subjects that have been raised by other posters but I truly wonder if the current government can stop the “bolting horse”. Much of what is currently taking place in Barbados can be laid directly at the feet of the Owen Arthur and the previous government. These land sales and developments were approved by an administration that cared little about the impact it would have on tourism and the very essence of what defined Barbados. Those baffoons were only interested in lining their pockets and have sold Bajans out to rich foreigners who will only further desecrate the Bajan way of life. There are still contracts out there that have been signed on the dotted line by the previous administration that, barring protracted legal actions, will go forward with their condominiums and yacht ports that will forever change the landscape of Barbados.
    You mention in your post that tourists will go to cheaper destinations, yes, cheaper but also, islands that still retain that old world Caribbean charm that is a major selling point.
    Why would anyone seeking respite from the stress, traffic, overdevelopment and noise of their home countries come to Barbados?
    I first started visiting Barbados in the early 80’s and it is appalling to me how much it has changed.
    PM Thompson needs to step forward and be the man that everyone thought he would be, all those people that voted him into power, hoping that he would stop this wholesale rape of Barbados.
    This issue is obviously on the minds of all Bajans and he needs to issue a statement of reassurance that he intends to protect the right of Bajans to determine the destiny of their country.

  23. Thomas Gresham

    Dear Mr. Loveridge,

    I have much respect for you, but we cannot have our flagship industry dependent on airmiles. There is no point us maintaining an inexpensive hotel sector, if the cost of getting here becomes very expensive. Price sensitive visitors will consider the whole price. Moreover, while $600 per person for a week (is that $1,200 per couple?) is not as high as some destinations, being a small island, our key competition will come from destinations that offer a better service per dollar than our average hotel – though I am sure yours is very different. Service is an area in which the small hotel sector can challenge the rest.

    If we want to be both a competitive destination and a high wage economy, we have to (1) offer superlative levels of service, (2) maintain the social and physical beauty of our island and (3) make sure that our infrastructure – airports and roads – are top notch. We are making progress, whether by strategy or not, on each of these fronts, but where we are most deficient is in the levels of service. Somehow despite the schools and initiatives, it is still rare to come across an employee in the service sector who gives the impression that they want you to come back, as opposed to giving the impression that it is a real chore for them to be there. I speak in general terms and I know that many small hotels are based around repeat visitors. Today tourism is about the whole experience, not just about getting away from the normal grind.

    The levels of service offered by hotels in Asia today is on a different planet to our average offering. Thank God, Asia is a long way away for our US/Canadian visitors, but we do compete with Asia for our UK visitors.

    If we fail at changing our service challenge, our tourism industry will be part of our history. You have an important national task. I wish you luck.

  24. Hants

    Adrian L. says “Short of any more massive increases in fuel costs, I think you will find airfares from Canada come down this winter.”

    Every Economic forecaster in Canada sees fuel costs increasing for the forseeable future.

    If you want to increase the number of visitors from Canada, a comprehensive Marketing effort must be made.

    Advertise,Advertise,Advertise.

    Barbados should work to increase their share of the Canadian market. The operative word is WORK.

  25. Pat

    Mr. Loveridge;

    Are you aware of how much money has to be spent, over several years to build up 25,000 airmiles? On top of those airmiles, you still have to add GST, airport tax and fuel surcharge and now a green tax. You should also be aware that in Canada one can now use airmiles to purchase a diverse number of goods, including groceries.

  26. Adrian Loveridge

    Pat…

    Fully aware!

    I have been an AAdvantage member for over ten years.
    I use a ScotiaBank AAdvantage MasterCard to pay every bill I can, including paying land taxes, post office purchases and buying a car recently.
    For 4 months ScotiaBank had a promotion that offered TRIPLE miles of EVERY purchase made using their card.

    Even allowing for all the various ‘add-ons’ you mention (which you have to pay anyway), I can still fly from BIM to Vancouver for less than CAD$100 return.

    What would it cost otherwise.

    I currently have enough miles to obtain ten return flights to North or South America simply by selecting HOW I choose to pay my bills.

  27. John

    Adrian L.

    I never stop learning from your contributions.

    I probably don’t travel nearly as much as you do but even so, I qualify for a free flight in less than a year of travel.

    The miles do add up quickly.

    Had I used my head and availed myself of what was on offer, I’d probably have more.

  28. Islandista

    Hmm … you sure were generous in giving Taylor the benefit of the doubt – all the stuff about misquoting and misunderstanding and sound bites.

    The thing is Taylor was not paraphrased. I actually heard these EXACT words “Barbados should earmark what is left of its existing coastline for tourism development” first on CBC news the night before it appeared in the Nation.

    I was appalled by it then – I actually said to myself “Self, Taylor seriously went and said that?” I was also surprised that it was so calmly reported when it seems to go directly against what this government had said was their policy for what is left of our coastline. I was further appalled when I saw it calmly reported in the Nation the next day.

    When I did not even see it on my ‘number shit-disturbing’ site BFP I started to wonder if I had gone crazy and was hearing voices coming out of Taylor’s mouth.

    How else do you interpret his statement? Especially coming from a pioneer of the all-inclusive resort in Bim?

    I definitely take the point that Loveridge, despite the fact that he said he agreed, clearly does not from his other statements about needing green spaces and so on (even if he thinks he agrees) but Taylor’s comments are not exactly ambiguous.

  29. Littleboy

    Is Ralph Taylor as “Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Authority” not subject to the Minister of Tourism and by extension, subject to the GOVERNMENT of Barbados?

    How then can he make statements counter to the manifersto of the DLP and remain as chairman?
    He should be fired immediately!!! In any other country he would have been made to resign. True enough, he has made his name in the “all-inclusive” sector, but that does not make him an untouchable guru.

    WE Bajans need our beaches and Taylor appears to be giving solace to the Bamfords,Rausings,Sixts,Pembertons and others of that ilk.

    WE do not want that type of person heading such an important Government agency…
    Send him home NOW!!!

  30. Hants

    from cbc.bb Business.

    “Bathing in waste water

    Barbadian consumers can significantly reduce their water bills if they tap into a new system being offered by a local company.

    Dajj Water Solutions based in Martins Terrace St. Philip is partnering with a German company Huber Technology to introduce WASTEWATER technology specifically targeted at homes and smaller businesses.”

    How about catching and purifying rain water from your roof?

  31. MK

    Mr. Taylor should concentrate on paying the contractors at Almond Smugglers Cove before he tells other people how to spend tax dollars. He has not paid 8 contractors from Barbados for the project in St. Lucia. He wants them to finish the job but not get paid. Well over $100,000 USD owed to Brabados contractors.