Why close “for renovations” in the middle of the High Season?
On January 13th, West Coast Blog described Almond Beach Village as a near ghost town (ghost town is our term), laying off staff and having trouble paying the remaining ones.
The next day, (January 14th) there was an announcement that Almond Resorts will invest $10 million (unknown currency) in refurbishing Almond Beach Village and is “partnering with the Barbados Tourism Authority” for the Celtic Festival coming next May. Nothing about when the “investment” or renovations will start.
Aside from wondering what the real situation is with Almond Beach Village, I’d love to know how much of the “partnering” with the BTA involves using government tax dollars to directly support a private profit making venture like Almond Resorts. I’d love to know how much of our tax dollars are directly subsidizing low end all inclusive mass tourism, and how much it works out to per room or client night at each of the big hotels. The little hotels and B ‘n Bs get nothing yet but I’d bet that they do far more good per visitor in terms of bringing dollars into the economy and surrounding community.
We have to have our large resorts, and I know that they employ many people, but as with the cruise industry we’ve never seen a serious accounting and bottom line figure about how much return we’re really getting for our tax dollars.
So what is the truth about Almond Beach Village?
Is closing for renovations in the middle of the high season really about renovations? Or is it about the place isn’t making money anyway in the middle of what should be the best times?
West Coast Blog has some ideas…
In yet another sign that all is not well in the tourism business despite the recent upbeat forecasts on Barbados tourism coming from the Central Bank, the Ministry of Tourism and the media which could all be just another smokescreen to cover up the dire reality, rumours circulating in Speightstown are that one of the major players on the west coast is about to close up shop. There is no question that Almonds Resorts is struggling terribly, particularly its flagship property in Haywood, St. Peter – Almond Beach Village. At what supposedly is the height of the tourist (winter) season ABV just had a major staff layoff and occupancy is hovering around 300 at a property accustomed to hosting well over a thousand guests at this time of year – even having to walk some customers next door to Port St. Charles and other nearby hotels when business was really booming.
Lately (Almond Beach Village) have had problems paying staff (on time) and settling debts with suppliers. There is a rumour that they have stopped taking bookings and that the hotel will shortly be closed for renovations. Why you would want to do something like that at the height of the season boggles the mind. However, we do know that the owners (the Trinidadian firm Neal & Massey) are in town and the fireworks have begun. One rumour is that CEO Ralph Taylor (who is also chairman of the Barbados Tourism Authority) has already been “reassigned,” whatever that means. Apparently, he is being blamed for under-performing properties in St. Lucia (particularly Almond Smugglers Cove) and stretching the company too thin with the acquisition of the Casuarina Hotel on the south coast which some have described as a “money pit.”
…continue reading West Coast Blog’s Is Almond Beach Village Closing?