Barbados needs lots of middle-of-the-road tourists
by Netta 1465
Niche markets are all well and fine but the super-rich are not going to keep an entire island afloat. For tourism to flourish, Barbados needs middle of the road tourists and lots of them. The type of people who come often and talk it up with their middle of the road friends.
Other islands have what they are known for. Right now, even though I think (I am biased) that Barbados is hands down the best island in the Caribbean, only people who have been here actually know this. Gotta sell it to regular folks who spend US$2-3,000 on a 4 night all inclusive locked up on a prison resort in Jamaica.
I think Barbados needs to open up itself to more mass tourism and not concentrate on the small small market of people who can afford to vacation a different place every other month. These people, when they come, will spend many $$ on grand lodging but because they can, they will not come often enough to keep any island afloat.
I still say reign in the taxation and spend some money on the smaller hotels and restaurant’s and getting the word out that Barbados is another island with great beaches for the day and loads of nightlife only much classier than Cancun.
Condos and their lesser cousins, timeshares, will wreck the economy of your island because too much property will sit empty. All-inclusives are also devil’s work to an island’s economy.
I believe Barbados’ smaller lodging options and intimate, local-owned eateries are what vacationers would fall in love with and return over and over and over again.
Short story: I came in May, 2009. I had a blast. Small hotel, small restaurants, great nightlife and beautiful beaches. That was the extent of my visit. To date, I have been back to Barbados 6 times since May, 2009. The intimacy of the island is what I can’t get enough of. I feel like I am home when my plane lands. I have at least two trips planned for 2012. I can’t stand the thought of an all-inclusive or a large resort. Who needs them?
That is what Barbados wants and needs. Get the little guy and get him hooked. . . . He will come, come often and bring loads of friends and family.
Taxation in Barbados is way over the top.
However, Barbados has developed a social structure whereas they offer European-styled social services (free health care, higher education, housing assistance, etc.) to their citizens. This is great but the burden of paying for this falls on the taxation system, which is what drives tourism away.
As a frequent visitor to Barbados over the last couple of years, I can say that although I am a shopaholic at home (I shop EVERY weekend at home) and in other locations, besides food and booze, I have not made any purchases other than absolute necessities in Barbados. Because of the tariff and taxation, Barbados holds no appeal for the average tourist-shopper to do more than enjoy the less expensive amenities of the island.
Something will have to eventually give. Perhaps Barbados needs to come up with an austerity plan of its own so that it can lower the tax burden that is placed on business owners as well as visitors.
Every single thing on the island does not have to be taxed to death. That is just plain government greed. There should be some things or some place where tourists can go and spend and spend and spend and not leave 200+% of the real value of the items behind because of tariff and taxation. That is just crazy and bad math.
Netta1465 has vacationed in 15 Caribbean nations and is a Barbados destination expert at TripAdvisor.com
This post is a compilation of two comments by Netta1465 in response to BFP’s post Where is the Barbados tourism master plan?