Barbados Tourism Authority couldn’t care less about the small hotels sector
“Show me where you spend your money and I’ll show you what’s important to you.” That phrase goes way back to the Bible and it’s as true now as it was back then. In his latest article Adrian Loveridge says that the government “props up” Government GEMS hotels while ignoring the small hotel sector and he’s correct.
What he doesn’t say right out in this article is that the Government of Barbados failed miserably with every GEMS hotel it touched while hard working small hotel owners and staff who were successful made it on their own. The DLP and BLP governments wondered why nobody wanted to invest in the Barbados hotel business and the reason was the government was the “competition” and subsidized poor quality GEMS Hotels with hundreds of millions of tax dollars. What private sector can compete with that kind of government “competition”?
And even with the hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidization, the amateurs running GEMS Hotels couldn’t make a go of it. That’s what happens when the government hires managers who have no personal stake in the business and couldn’t make it in the private sector if they tried.
All things considered, Barbados is a very hostile business environment for the small hotels sector. I think that the Barbados Tourism Authority ignores the small hotels because they believe their first duty is to the government owned and lower quality mass market hotels.
The Barbados Tourism Authority might say they care about small hotels, but considering 0% (yup zero percent) of the BTA budget is dedicated to the small hotel sector, you don’t have to be a farmer to smell the cow droppings.
And just for the record, the following title “The Big Lie…” is ours. Mr. Loveridge’s words start with the quote below our title…
The Big Lie spoken by David Rice of the Barbados Tourism Authority…
“What needs to happen is this…we have to get out of this notion that the Government is here to prop up every business.”
David Rice CEO/President – Barbados Tourism Authority
Barbados Advocate – Thursday 24th February 2011
From a tourism perspective that is of course unless your business is called Hotels and Resorts Ltd (GEMS). In which case you will receive almost unlimited support to ‘prop’ you up, including a reported BDS$247 million (losses) or nearly three times the annual budget of Mr. Rice’s organisation!
The majority of our small hotels have been left floundering while GEMS has for over ten years been ‘propped-up’ by Government and allowed to practice persistent predatory pricing.
No part of the BTA’s nearly BDS$100 million budget is dedicating to marketing the majority of our small hotels and there is still no functioning committee to support this sub-sector with the private sector trade association (BHTA).
The BTA chairman, Ralph Taylor is quoted on StarCom news this morning that were ‘looking for value-for-money’, yet three weeks after
being awarded the ONLY hotel on Barbados to be recognised as one of the 11 Best Value Caribbean Hotels, our property has not been highlighted by the BTA at all.
Mr. Rice has given the impression that there has been previous support for the majority of our small hotels by stating ‘Local businesses in the tourism sector need to take on the responsibility for marketing their own product, and no longer rely on the government for support in tough times’.
At best this statement is entirely erroneous.
Peach and Quiet