Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association calls emergency meeting

Something has to be done!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

As we rapidly approach the softer summer season, should we be concerned over the current viability of our tourism industry?

When one of our largest hotel groups recently published their accounts for the financial year ending 30th September 2009, it sent a powerful wake-up call to our tourism policymakers.

A total of 1,530 rooms spread across five hotels, three of which are here in Barbados managed a total turnover of BDS$62 million.

Even at a virtually impossible occupancy rate of 100 per cent, that is an average room rate of US$110 per night. At a more realistic rate of 75 per cent that average drop to just US$74.

Clearly to maintain a 4 star standard on an all-inclusive basis with continuously escalating costs, this cannot be sustainable.

Discount Wars, Canceled Flights

Discounting has become a way of life for many hotels and other tourism players, simply to maintain the numbers and staffing levels.

‘We’ have added 80,000 new airline seats annually alone from the United States, a market that has not registered any consistence growth over seven years. Already, even before the end of the peak winter season, flights are being cancelled, so what happens post Easter?

Despite the appointment of a new Advertising Agency, a new website and a massive increase of the marketing budget in our second largest market, we still seem not to be able to influence the numbers in relation to the monies spent.

Apart from the Tourism Industry Relief Fund (TIRF), the private sector has largely been left to survive on their own, forced to absorb constantly increasing operational costs, while being encouraged to safeguard employment.

Killer Taxes & Airport Fees in Europe and the Caribbean

Meanwhile Governments appear to be impervious to lowering the cost of travel. The cheapest return flights from Gatwick to Barbados with either scheduled airline, is according to their own websites UK Pounds 590 for travel in June. A staggering UK Pounds 192.80 of that figure is made of taxes and add-ons.

Travel within the Caribbean is no different.  Out of a US$276.50 return ticket from St. Lucia to Barbados with LIAT, US$112.50 is for taxes and add-ons.

The Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association has convened an emergency meeting later this week to discuss marketing ideas for spring, summer and winter 2010.

The notice is aptly headed ‘Something has to be done’!

I hope that the meeting will be well attended and that the very best minds in marketing with new ideas and concepts will be listened to. And just maybe their suggestions will be implemented.

‘Something has to be done’!

Adrian Loveridge
9th March 2010

6 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

6 responses to “Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association calls emergency meeting

  1. reality check

    Government needs to get out of the Hotel business. They are wasting millions of taxpayers dollars including decision making by members of the BTA, many of whom have never had to run their own business.

    The hotel business needs to be run by those who have experience in running successful businesses. A whole new pro business strategy needs to be in place to permit capital to come into Barbados where investment money feels welcome and is treated with respect.

    And oh yes, it doesn’t help your tourist product if some of those few hoteliers left are personally threatened or their homes are torched.

    You reap what you sow.

  2. crossroads

    Adrian, the general public is being told that the visitor numbers are up, is this accurate? if yes, we are getting the people here. My concern is that the vistors are not spending as freely as in the past. How will Barbados encourage vistors to spend, when they have set themselves tight budgets?

  3. dismanhey

    @crossroads
    A very interesting point about the figures.What appears to be happening, is the figures are being extrapolated from an assortment of information ie bookings , load factors and then present it as an indicator for what is currently happening or the immediate future. Obviously “dessed up” for no one wants to be the bearer of bad news. But then, when Central Bank looks back to the previous quarter, the bad news of what was, is then presented. So the impression is always that we are on our way out

  4. yatinkiteasy

    Does anyone have a list of Hotels that went out of business(failed) over the last ten years, and how many rooms and jobs went with them?

  5. BFP

    Hi yatinkiteasy,

    Adrian Loveridge did up a list like that. I think we published it. I’ll look but I’m not sure where.

    george

  6. Tourist

    More urgent is the crime and ignorance of the police.. i set 2 hours on a police station after a robbery, at sandy beach. Where it is a major problem. The officer in charge was so unpolite if we where the criminals. And when i want a copy if the statemate i must come back next day. I come next day for appointment no officer, i come back
    1 hour later he lets me wait half hour !!! and guess what is said the copy machine is broke down…
    Come back later i hope with this that tourism will drop down to ZERO !!!! i tell al my friend dont come back to barbados… It follows trinidad and jamaica…
    The whole island one garbage dump