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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12 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

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

  1. Thewhiterabbit

    GAIA will not allow the Barbados Concorde Experience to advertise at the airport, so all those passengers with hours to kill before their flight do not even realize that a last minute wonderful experience is just a few steps away. All the Barbados home-port cruise passengers are allowed to languish for hours in the airport waiting for departing flights, giving them a last-minute negative image of Barbados. None of those passengers is given any concrete incentive to return as a long-stay visitor. No offers of a free night accommodation, nothing. BTA=dumb, dumber, dumbest.

  2. Sundowner

    The Caves price hike is crazy, I heard about this the other day & the general opinion was they will fail miserably. In a time when tourists are spending less, spending more time on the beach instead of touring attractions around the Island, & are making economic choices of where to visit. The Caves will now be low (or not at all) on their list! so instead of increasing visitors, which I assume was the aim, they will now see a smaller turnover.
    This truly is throwing money into a big hole in the ground.

  3. Josquin Desprez

    Each time I read this website, it amazes me that there are hardly any comments on serious matters in this country. However, if there are articles that deals in smut or politics, there are numerous comments, especially from the so called representatives of the political parties.

  4. RLL

    What a typical government boneheaded move. It’s almost like Noel Lynch is back. 🙂

  5. Hants

    $30 US or Canadian is probably a little high in the current economy.

    The rates I have posted below is to visit African Lion Safari near Toronto. It is a drive through wildlife park.
    Adult (13-59)………………………….$ 23.95
    Senior (60+)……………………………$ 20.95
    Children (3-12)………………………..$ 18.95

    I have a problem thinking in Bajan dollars. I live in Canada.

    Thats why I does get cuss in Barbados when I say food is not expensive. Lunch at Chefette for me cost the same as Lunch at Dairy Queen in Canada.

    Food for thought.

  6. ComeHere

    People from around the world have no concept of stupidity until they have spent any length of time in Barbados. The unaccounted expenditures and blatant corruption resulting in a “charge more to make up for our ignorance, or worse, give it away below cost tourist programmes” shows the pervasive inability of anyone here with authority to connect the dots. Idiots, all. The bigger hole in the ground will ultimately be The GEMS 2 investment in the Four Seasons. Criminal.

  7. Adrian Loveridge

    ComeHere,

    ‘In 2003 the Government of Barbados made a loan of $145,328,264.00 to Hotels and Resorts Limited.
    At the 31st March 2006 interest payments due were in excess of $37 million.
    The loan to Hotels and Resorts Limited is currently listed as an Advance in the accounts of the Treasury.
    An assessment of this investment should be made to see if recoverable.
    Currently there is not enough information available on the financial status of Hotels and Resorts Limited to make this assessment.’

    Auditor General’s Report – 2006

    4 years later, has this assessment been made?

  8. Can't Breathe

    The most successful volume tourist places in the world are affordable to the locals.

    And tourists come to Barbados for the clean fresh air.

    But in the case of Harrison’s Cave is it possible they are deliberately trying to keep volume down? Everybody knows that when you shove enough tourists down there the place gets real stuffy.

    Maybe our leaders are brilliant, and we don’t even know it.

  9. reality check

    The White Rabbit and Concorde

    Quite astounding! and to think what full government support and cooperation would do to make money and create long term jobs for Barbados?

    Where is our leadership?

    Thompson should have been down at the airport reading the Riot Act for such foolishness and waste of money and low lying fruit!

  10. Kammie Holder

    Adrian great article at least the operators of this blog are willing to publish your articles. What I am seeing more and more is the the local media houses are complicit in poor governance.

  11. Adrian Loveridge

    ComeHere,

    ‘In 2003 the Government of Barbados made a loan of $145,328,264.00 to Hotels and Resorts Limited.
    At the 31st March 2006 interest payments due were in excess of $37 million.

    The loan to Hotels and Resorts Limited is currently listed as an Advance in the accounts of the Treasury.
    An assessment of this investment should be made to see if it is recoverable.
    Currently there is not enough information available on the financial status of Hotels and Resorts Limited to make this assessment.’

    Auditor General’s Report – 2006

    4 years on, has this assessment now be made?

  12. ComeHere

    Adrian:

    The fact that there is “not enough information available..” to make an assessment speaks volumes of the massive fraud and subsequent cover up of the taxpayers’ missing dollars. SHOW ME THE MONEY!! I remember being naively excited when JAWS Mascoll promised to expose the whole lot; silly me. The golden parachute to the now nameless FAILED GM of this still-to-be investigated train wreck was and is beyond my comprehension. The “advance” slight of hand accounting entry and subsequent lack of audited financial statements would bring five to ten in a civilised, first world country. Sort of like the Clico advance explanation, I’m afraid. Or the World Cup cricket advance (NO LIGHTS BEFORE THE WORLD!!). Or the Turf Club advance, the Water Authority advance, the ABC highway double advance, or the thread of this blog, the yet to open Harrison’s Cave advance, and soon to come, the Al Barrack advance! To quote Forrest, Forrest Gump: “STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES.” Run Barbados, RUN. I admire your tenacity and FACTUAL presentation slash reality check of the modern day Barbados Zeitgeist. Port Ferdinand? Four Seasons? Can you believe the myopic insanity in our midst? God simply cannot be a Bajan.