Daily Archives: January 15, 2010

50% increase in entrance fee to Harrison’s Cave but no re-opening date yet!

“Only a Government entity could consider hiking rates by 50% in the worst global economic recession in more than eighty years.”

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

Sometimes, (make that frequently) I really question whether or not ‘we’ are serious about tourism, even though we are constantly reminded that it is our single largest generator of foreign currency!

We recently received a letter from Caves of Barbados announcing that while they are not sure when the enhanced facility will re-open, when it does the entrance fee will be increased by 50% to BDS$60 per adult.

Only a Government entity could consider hiking rates by 50% in the worst global economic recession in more than eighty years.

Government and other social partners have pleaded with the Hotel sector to maintain employment, almost at any cost. That has only be achieved in many cases by dramatically discounting room rates and/or adding value with free nights, meals and other incentives.

Obviously this comes at a cost and you only have to read the recently released financial highlights of Almond Resorts Inc, to see this.

Even based on an overall annual occupancy of 75% across five properties, the BDS$62 million in revenue would only equate to US$74 per occupied room for an all-inclusive property.

Yes! there has been a significant investment in the Caves infrastructure, but will glass fronted elevators attract more visitors?

Correct me if I am wrong, but average visitation of the caves has rarely exceeded 150,000 persons per year.

With child, tour operator, local and other discounted rates even if the net admission price of BDS$50 per person is achieved, that is only an annual turnover of $7.5 million before repayment of interest and capital on the loan and operational costs. What contribution are the new shopping and restaurant facilities likely to make?

Once again, as with Hotels and Resorts Ltd (GEMS) the poor old taxpayer is being kept in the dark with regard to their investment.

Adrian Loveridge
15th January 2010

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism