Barbados tourist arrivals down 12% despite Crop-Over. July cruise ship arrivals down 37%

We’re in trouble – no doubt about it.

by Passin thru

Statistics might be a science, but the use and presentation of statistics is an art – sometimes a liar’s art when politicians and other government people have a stake in those statistics or results.

The tourism statistics have arrived comparing July and August 2012 and year-to-date against the same periods last year in 2011.

We are in trouble. Big trouble.

Last I heard tourism was the foundation of our economy. Last I heard, we and our great great great grandchildren are on the hook for billions borrowed to prop up the last two governments, but we don’t have much to show for the crushing debt except some photographs of parties and a useless $150 million dollar hole that was supposed to be the Greenland dump. Last I heard the current DLP government is still borrowing like crazy and it’s all going into general revenues or other supporting programmes to keep the wheels turning and the lights on. It’s not like we’re borrowing money to buy assets or to create income: it’s all going into the mist where there are no specific measurable goals and the results of the spending are impossible to quantify or even point to.

But some things can be quantified and so we come to the July and August tourism statistics.

My oh my! What a disaster.

Stats reveal some things I didn’t know before

We are always told in the news media in sort of a general way about how the UK is our main tourism market, and then Canada, then the USA etc.


Have a look at the statistics below. The USA is actually our largest single country source of tourists, or at least it was until things dropped off the edge in 2012. Canada provides less than a third of the long stay arrivals that the USA does.

So why couldn’t we keep that vital Dallas-FortWorth connection? Why can’t we load one airplane a week out of the cold midwestern USA during the winter?

Smile at tourist today where ever you meet them.

Make small talk. Bend down and tell their children you’re so happy their folks came to visit. If it works out, maybe invite them to walk or talk to them for five minutes about some little piece of history they probably don’t know. Give them something positive to remember about Barbados and Bajans that makes this place special from the last island they docked at.

I remember when things got really really tough in the late 1980s and we got behind in the payments for the truck. And if the truck went there was no job and no income. It was as simple as that. Dad announced that he was going to set the alarm clock one hour earlier, start work an hour earlier and work one hour later every day. Over the course of his six day working week that was another 12 hours of work. He said he’d have to work longer and work better too, to make it through those tough times. He had to keep his customers happier than they had ever been before.

Dad did what he had to do and we kept the truck. Barbados needs to do what Dad did in the late 1980s.

The Statistics – Read ’em an weep




Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

21 responses to “Barbados tourist arrivals down 12% despite Crop-Over. July cruise ship arrivals down 37%

  1. Adrian Loveridge

    ‘He (Adrian Elcock – BTA Chairman) added that the BTA had spent BDS$250,000 promoting the annual Crop Over Festival which he said HAS been a major success’.
    Jamaica Observer – 7 August 2012- Barbados Hilton BTA Press Conference

    “HAS” is surely a past tense word and it would seem that this heady and optimistic prediction was a little premature.

    Does anyone think September, October and November is going to be any better?

    What about the Rihanna advertising campaign ‘that will be spread across social media and new media’ that was scheduled to be launched in September?
    Hopefully it will produce a better ROI (return on investment) that the $250,000 Crop Over promotion did.

  2. Pingback: Barbados Tourism Authority Chairman Adrian Elcock: We’re trying to copy what St. Vincent is doing. | Barbados Free Press


    Who wants to come to a dirty Island ?, when its cleaned up they will return if all is no paved over ..
    No law here just money making fraud.
    Lets see where the 250,000 went to . Put it on You-Tube and face book and kept the money?
    Maybe the Poor stayed home and the ones with work and funds came this year.
    What happens in America happens here NEXT. Its Barbados turn to feel the pain.
    People may return to Crop over when all this CRAP is over

  4. is it surprising when this publication slags off Harlequin who are potentially bringing both employment and great prosperity to your island, as they have done for St.Vincent (recently Awarded BEST Carribean Luxury Resort Award by the Tourism industry !) ? You alone are responsible for putting a great many people off visiting.

  5. clickticktock

    Sandy Gear, did Harlequin really win “BEST Carribean Luxury Resort Award by the Tourism industry” ?

    When was this? Who awarded this?

    I can’t find anything about it online. Please provide more details!

  6. Amazed

    You report that Barbados tourist arrivals down 12% despite Crop-Over.

    I would have worded it because of Crop Over. After the filth that was recorded on this blog as to what was taking place at Crop Over with obscene photos of Robin Fenty do Barbadians really believe that Ms. Fenty is going to be their Saviour?

    I agree with the poster above who says what ever happens in the US happens here.

    That is correct. This filthy immorality and corruption has been imported from there.and Bajans have lapped it up like milk.

    Keep on guys and see where Barbados ends up.

  7. J. Webster, Leeds

    The award that Harlequin received was the World Travel Awards.

    They self-nominated themselves.

    These particular awards are all about the industry. The voters in the main are the same people who make money from Harlequin. Take it with a strong dose of salt.

    When can I have my unit at Buccament Bay? It’s overdue by almost 7 years and they won’t give me back my money.

    The Voting Process

    The voting process is online and a year-long communications campaign encourages global participation.

    The votes come from qualified executives working within travel and tourism and the consumer travel buyer.

    Votes cast by travel professional count as two votes while the votes cast by non-industry voters count as one vote. Votes are internally audited to ensure the validity of each individual vote.

  8. Watcher

    It is over for Barbados as a competitive tourist destination unless there is a major realignment of the value of its currency along with a sprucing and cleaning up of the island.

    When the government runs out of US$ to pay the import bill everyone going to feel it. There is a crisis looming. Large reductions in tourism arrivals coupled with government deficits is going to put a signficant amount of pressure on the foreign exchange reserve. Is it time to let the dollar trade freely so its true value can be seen.

  9. Brian

    Agree with Watcher. Also, while tourism is obviously an important market and probably always will be, being so reliant on it puts Barbados at the mercy of others. “In” destinations tend to change with the seasons, not to mention worldwide economics. Maybe the country needs to more seriously investigate diversification options where it could be more in charge of its own destiny. Unfortunately, that could mean major attitude readjustments wrt work ethic.

  10. The tourism product and hotels are in deep trouble. Don’t be surprised if we see more closures like Accra Hotel which have started getting rid of sraff as their occupancy is dropping drastically. For the month of september three manager were terminated along with a number of line staff

  11. 197

    Barbados is becoming toxic, boring, expensive, miserable, quiet, unhappy, dangerous, behind the times, poor and messy. The service levels are beyond terrible. We need to change things soon. Not sure if youve heard but people travelling to Barbados generally find Barbadians rude. Fact. Yes we were known as friendly people…no longer. People dont want to come here to deal with stress and bullshit they can get that at home for free! Somebody needs to stand up and make some changes because we are gathering moss and rolling downwards quickly.

  12. yatiniteasy

    @Sandy Gear,,,there you go telling lies again….The Award Buccament Bay won was Caribbean`s Leading New Resort.,,,,NOT Best Caribbean Luxury Resort Reward.
    Caneel Bay in the US VI won Caribbean Leading Luxury Hotel, and Sandals Emerald Bay in the Bahamas won Caribbean`s Leading Luxury All Inclusive Resort.
    Then again, you saw a video of the almost completed Harlequin Resort in Dominican Republic that has not even started yet.
    I appreciate that you are desperately trying to defend Harlequin, and perhaps your investment with them that you might lose, but stick to the facts.

  13. 2

    If we wanted to make a significantly positive change to Barbados, I believe we need only do two things provided each of us took personal responsibility to effect these things…1. Pick up the garbage. 2. Be nice to EACH OTHER. Significant and immense benefits will occur after a short while and will be followed by more benefits as the practice of just these 2 actions is kept up.

  14. passin thru

    Our culture is defeating our economy.

  15. 244

    I returned from Barbados last night after spending a wretched 7 days at the “Island Inn”. What made this a horrible, stressful and sad vacation was the way we were treated by server/wait staff. It was not buffet so had to deal with them if and when they chose to acknowledge you. We finally asked “have we done something to offend you?” I enjoyed last yr at the Crane but thought this would be more authentic. I am so shocked, angry and sad about the way in which I, my husband and 2year old boy were treated.

  16. Im in barbados right now … what a shity place … nothing seems to be open … the people are rude as hell… food cost an arm and a leg … and what the hell is cheffette… the only positive thing about the place is that i dont have to live here …

    and its seems like the bajan gov and other governments keep local people trapped here so they can leave…by not giving them visas or making it too exspensive to get a visa…
    why do i have to wait 2hrs for some of the nastiest food that cost over 50 USD…
    why do i have to pay 6BBD for a local banks beer..
    why is there trash everywhere…
    why is every body working is the tourist areas so dam disiterested in eveyrthing…
    why did I come to barbados …
    one good thing ,, the jammincats booze cruise was good …other than that dont waste your money on Barbados ,… Go to Greneda… good food is everywhere…and it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to get it it should be … people are ultra friendly … and they dont look at you like your a tourist ..

    oh .. I went to the crane to check it out and Michael a manager there basicly in the nicest way possible asked me and another person i was with to leave .. i guess we werent white enough. who knows …

    if anybody needs more info on how not to get ripped off in barbados … email me and i can run down a list for you ..

    bit if I were you .. dont plan a trip to barbados and think youre gonna party the night away … most of the time its a ghost town … and if its packed .. 30 to 40 bbd to get in the club .. then god only knows how much the drinks are ..

    Barbados.. you are the worst !!!

  17. i should have done a spell check … lol..

  18. 44

    I feel for you and totally understand. What is the country’s obsession with KFC and fried chicken?? Garbage on the beach from such “formal” people. The staff at Island Inn (they should rename it Survivor Inn) bowed to older British couples and showed some competence in their jobs when serving them. We weren’t white either.

  19. Proud Texan

    The wife and I stayed for a week at the Hilton the past September and other than the nice enough beach and strong rum drinks it is a mediocre Hilton at best. The rest of the island forget about it. Three words “dirty. unfriendly. Expensive.”

    Your Barbados tourist board should spend a week in Cuba at an all inclusive either Havana or the southeast. I’m not talking about price but the price is good. I’m talking about the smiles and welcome everywhere.

    Don’t Barbados people ever smile or say hello?


  20. rastaman

    @Texan.They are under too much pressure to smile and say hello.By the way,when I was in the USA ,no one smiled or said hello either..

  21. 156

    Why all the negative comments? I have visited Barbados the last 4 years, and I love it, maybe the problem is you? just saying . I am a Hebrew live in Florida, my wife and I will be buying a home there very soon, I own at the Crane & the staff has always been great; so with that said maybe those that don’t know how to have a good time or respect the country you visit than maybe you should stay away. The US isn’t the friendliness place. Barbados I have love for you!!