Goodbye REDjet, goodbye re-DISCOVER the Caribbean Show, goodbye Return on Investment

As this story from Adrian Loveridge went to press, REDjet announced the airline was suspending service. That is the end of that potential increase in intra-Caribbean tourists to Barbados. At the same time, Adrian reports that the annual re-DISCOVER the Caribbean Show may not take place – and what a tragedy that would be because as he points out the show costs practically nothing and has a fantastic ROI Return on Investment.

Take it away, Adrian Loveridge…

Unbelievable! Barbados Tourism Authority backs out of re-DISCOVER the Caribbean Show

BTA “not even being prepared to ‘man’ a stand for the two days of the event.”

by Adrian Loveridge - small hotel owner

By now, much of our energy would be going into fine tuning the annual re-DISCOVER the Caribbean Show, which usually takes place in late April. Just in time for the longer and leaner eight summer month tourism season.

Sadly, unless a major sponsor comes forward, it will not take place this year and this may prove to be one of the biggest mistakes ever.

The Barbados Tourism Authority lost interest in what would have been the eighth annual show by reducing their already limited financial support and not even being prepared to ‘man’ a stand for the two days of the event.

This despite a compliment of over 130 staff members and the enthusiastic support in the past by the current Minister of Tourism.

In fact, before entering office, he won and enjoyed one of the spectacular prizes donated by our many exhibitors.

It became ever more difficult to explain to the twenty other participating Caribbean countries, who were willing and enable to send a delegation, often at considerable cost, when the national marketing agency of the host country was half-heartedly supporting the endeavour.

If three of our main traditional markets, the UK, Canada and USA, fail to show some sign of growth during this summer, it will be largely down to the extra air capacity being generated by REDjet within the region, to give any hope of maintaining visitor arrival numbers this year.

The event itself, brought in over 400 overseas delegates annually, who all needed hotel accommodation, with secondary spending on meals, taxi transfers, car rental etc. Many extended their stay to take into some of our tourism offerings and/or visit travel agents.

Even at the height of their support, the BTA cost contribution was under BDS$60 per delegate or less that the departure tax each attendee would have paid, let alone the VAT and taxes collected on other goods and services.

We calculate each overseas exhibitor stayed an average of 4.4 nights and spent around US$1,200, so it delivered a 40:1 ROI (return on investment).

Putting  that in perspective, the Best of Barbados (BOB) programme attracted a direct subsidy of up to BDS$600 per person, and that’s even before the additional costs to promote it were taken into account.

The lead-in BOB package price including flights and 7 nights accommodation was as low as US$459.

Or analysed another way, when you compare the same ROI that re-DISCOVER delivered to the quoted $4 million Rihanna concert, it would have produced $160 million in tourism revenue or the overall BTA annual budget, a staggering $3.76 billion.

I have no doubt those managing REDjet, fully understand the critical importance of filling their aircraft in both directions. And that was always a considerable component part of the motivation behind the show concept.

Now that the BHTA’s Staycation website is linked to that of REDjet, the lower fares offered by the carrier makes it the perfect match for other Caribbean territories to take full advantage.

With the end of what hopefully was the more lucrative winter season less than a month away, the Olympics on the horizon, increased APD levels and with seemingly no national marketing initiative on the horizon.

It appears again that it is going to result in some sort of knee-jerking retroactive response, maybe launched so close to the sell-by date, that any effect could be limited.

NOTE: This column was written before REDjet announced its suspension of services.


Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

7 responses to “Goodbye REDjet, goodbye re-DISCOVER the Caribbean Show, goodbye Return on Investment

  1. what will they think of next

    My goodness,”Cap-in-hand-Adrian” again.

  2. Adrian Loveridge

    what will you say next,

    Cap in hand ey!

    Just like you did with the TIRF funds from the taxpayer eh!

  3. Anonymous34

    RedJet was clueless from the very beginning…even before Flight Number One.
    It comes as noooo surprise that they folded within their first year.

    RedJet thought that they would sashay in here and just clean up!
    They were clueless about inter-island arrangements re. civil aviation authorities
    that delayed their startup for months. Remember?
    That was just the beginning of their learning-the-hard-way.

  4. 57

    It was a good initiative to cap high airfares. There is no reason why the consumer should pay high fares to travel to nearby islands that are only 30 minutes away.

    I believe Redjet could have survived but the bureaucracy in the Caribbean is bitter. Competition is important for growing economies however it appears that the monopolistic carrier wins the day.

  5. 129

    You need to know that fares are still moderate.
    What doubles up the “fares” are TAXES!!

    My wife recently rec’d. a gift from her dau. living in a neighbouring Carib. island.
    It was an airline ticket to go see her dau.
    The ticket costs were conveniently broken down, incl. tax by tax.

    What it boiled down to was…
    the actual cost of the airfare was around Bds.$300
    the rest that made up the total cost to Bds.$606 was TAXES.
    Taxes here(Bdos) -taxes there(other island) …VAT, this and that….

    My jaw dropped as I realized that about 49% of the total was TAXES of one sort or another
    and about 51% was the actual airfare!

    So don’t immediately blame the airline, OK?

    Blame the island governments (plural) who daily soak our asses with what is referred to as “Income-by-Decree” …i.e. the usual way Governments “earn” their money…BY DECREES called Taxes.
    Nice way to make a living, huh?

    When I grow up, Dad, I wanna become a GOVERNMENT.

  6. Trust in Wood

    @ Bizzy

    Put up your hand man and let everyone see you.

    Admit it, this REDjet thing never went beyond an amateur attempt to take some of the annual subsidies paid out by Governments to other regional airlines like LIAT and Caribbean Airlines did it?

    Bailout an new start-up airline which has not served the region for a year yet? Offers one (1) cheap flight on an entire aircraft and then charges the rest of passengers thru the nose with hidden fees?

    I really had to laugh when I hear that REDjet flying to St, Maarten for Bds$1,800.00. Wunna was serious or it was a big joke with the head men eating caviar and saying ” these bajan real stupid doh”

    Wunna kidding or are we playing a the schoolyard game of Ali Babba and the Forty Thieves?

  7. rastaman

    As the old saying goes”There has to be more in the mortal than the pestle”.
    I am sure that RedJet would not have gone into this venture without some committment from the Barbados Govt but it now appears that the Govt has renegated on whatever was agreed.
    Maybe all will come to light. Don’t hold your breath though,if PM Stuart has anything to do with it.LOL