Prime Minister of Grenada puts Barbados tourism officials to shame

Grenada scores tourism victory as Prime Minister lands Sandals

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

Prime Minister of Grenada, the Hon. Tillman Thomas, recently described the purchase of the former La Source by Sandals as ‘a potential game-changer for our tourism industry’. He went on to say that the entry of resort company Sandals to Grenada’s market is ‘a tide that could lift all boats’.

I think he is right, perhaps in more ways that we can initially anticipate.

What is remarkable about this ‘deal’ is the timing, which must make it at least a candidate for the quickest hotel acquisition ever in the Guinness Book of Records.

It was reported that La Source only closed around the 19th October, when 150 workers were laid-off. Yet, within three weeks the Government of Grenada ‘facilitated their (Sandals) investment with a package of incentives’.  While other administrations around the region hesitated, procrastinated and some may even imply, might have adopted a form of hibernation akin to prolonged sleep.

Perhaps galvanised by the negative consequences of revenue and employment losses and the danger of possibly losing airlift, someone picked up the phone and made the move.

Among the immediate benefits of the arrangement are, massive media destination awareness coverage, reaching millions of people worldwide without it costing the Grenada Board of Tourism a single cent. With a projected re-opening date of 15th December 2012, it will give a huge boost to the upcoming critical winter season. Many loyal Sandals clients will also want to sample the brand, in a new and exciting location. And as PM Tillman so astutely observed, was pleased at the ‘promise of the transfer of skills to Grenadians and an improvement of service in the industry’.

Sandals founder Gordon “Butch’ Stewart has indicated his intention to take the re-named Sandals La Source Grenada Resort and Spa from its current 100 rooms up to 265 guest rooms, private cottages and bungalows over the course of the next ten years. Many of which will be concierge and butler level including the brand’s signature Rondoval suites. As this happens, employment will grow and there will be a positive trickle down effect on the entire local economy.

Mr. Stewart wasted no time with an announcement and images already posted on the corporate website for the travel trade and consumers all to see around the globe. It appears a total win-win situation for everybody and kudos should naturally go to all those involved who made it possible.

A comparison with Barbados Almond Beach Village closure

It is difficult not to draw a comparison with the Almond Beach Village situation, where seven months after closure with the loss of nearly five hundred jobs, no happy conclusion seems to be in sight. Already we are suffering the negative effects of reduced airlift and as further time goes by it will become even more difficult to re-open the property in its rapidly deteriorating condition.

If it gets to a point where upgrading the existing plant becomes unviable, we all know just how long it would take to re-build and open a superior alternative. For those who can recall, Almond Casuarina provided a classic example of that scenario.


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

34 responses to “Prime Minister of Grenada puts Barbados tourism officials to shame

  1. A policy holder

    Barbados, as Mr. L. Knows so well, feels the world will come running to our feet. BY THE SAME TOKEN, I would be more than interested to see if the Grenadian Government has not GIFTED the hotel to Butch Stewart as he wanted our Government to do with Almond. BS is an expert at buying while outlaying little or none of his own money. BE THAT AS IT MAY, Gda should benefit magnificently from a SANDALS there. The Government may not see too much but the Grenadian workers should!

  2. The Watcher

    You know. This has really got to stop! Over and under, day in and day out, up and down, backward and forward, this damn foolishness about tourism is being pumped down our proverbial throats like it is the saviour of our economy and we should all sacrifice to see it reborn. It has FAILED!
    Grenada probably has a tourism product, they probably don’t mis-spend money wildly on lavish nonsense, probably Grenada is way cheaper a destination to visit than Barbados is, probably is proud of their local heritage and culture and promotes that element in their tourism product, I can go on and on and on!
    Let tourism DIE! Please! ( Do I sound like Mitt Romney here?) Its killing us with its parasitic nature and players. Its draining the country of whatever little life it has left in it. It is useless. People find this place too expensive. And don’t tell me shyt about our quality of life is being supported by these exorbitant prices. Its the upper class and certain “entitled” groups of individuals that are the cause and beneficiaries of this foolishness. The average man is not seeing or experiencing any of these benefits of this overpriced country. So STOP LYING!
    Case in point. Black Friday is coming. I’m sure many merchants will go lap up lots of big screen tv’s and the like at deeply discounted prices and then sell them at $200 below the regular retail value under the guise of a SALE. You go buy one, try to get it past Customs with your valid receipt and see what happens. Who doesn’t want a hand “greezing” will try to punish you for having something that they already have and would like you not to have. But the merchants will pass by quietly and be allowed to do as they please. Information about what happens here is now plentiful if you look away from the mainstream media.
    You see, whats happening in Barbados now is the flow of information cannot be controlled as it was in earlier times. People have access to lots more information these days. How they choose to use it is up to them,but they certainly have it. So tourism is under the microscope for all of the wastage and squander that has occurred in the past. Its time to look for something novel and radical to save this country foreign exchange and , or earn this country money. It is not tourism and I am tired of the beatings that we are putting into this dead horse.
    Probably, its time to get a third party going around here. One comprised of critical thinkers with novel ideas and a passion for change and advancement! ( Sounds nearly like it will be a party comprised almost entirely of foreign nationals). We can start a world revolution to enact political change much like the Arab Spring did in Tunisia. We cant just have the same old tired ideas and promoters of those ideas repackaged and brought back to us under the belief that something will catch on and germinate. For three decades it hasn’t and wont. So to those who come on this forum, and complain, murmur and moan about how tourism should be our mainstay so that their own selfish desires can be met I calmly say:
    Go find something else to murmur and complain about.

  3. Adrian Loveridge

    The Watcher,

    Totally appreciate your various points of view, but meanwhile WHO pays the bills?


    Tours in the city , People telling half truth of the history of Barbados and other selling books on food and slavery , Is that the Best they have to offer and music ?
    It seems that Slaves still sell and Freedom dont? As far back as 1630 to 2012 all Bajans can talk about is slaves? To say white people want to hear about that over and over . Those slaves that were in slavery are now and long time DEAD.
    Nothing here to see no nature just buildings and sugar cane . Selling the land for money gains is the business not tourism .

    Coming to Barbados to buy fraud land and to see your lawyer is the biggest business here ,
    If you want to see trees and lakes, fish and dive , and relax
    Barbados is not the place.
    Guyana and Suriname is great and lot better .
    Try some thing new , Fly past Barbados to another CC Island.

  5. 254

    There is no question that our Goverments have no GUTS, and take forever to do anything.
    We saw what happened with Paradise Beach, Kings Beach now Almond and many others. Can we really afford to have these Hotels Closed ?
    GOVERNMENT has to pass a law that if these places are bought they be given a certain time to build, rebuild or refurbish and get back into business.
    Or else put up for Auction and sell to the highest bidder regardless to price, and stop the nonsence of people trying to fool some of us with their talk.

  6. Tudor

    Ladies & Gentlemen,
    Let not your hearts be troubled, the BTA has the solution – they will spend another $250,000 and Rihanna will have the Tourist flocking to our shores!! according to the BTA ” They are expecting the marketing power of Rihanna to drive Barbados’ finances as a tourist destination like never before” and in the middle of the worst recession in recent times!! what a load of BS.


    “they will spend another $250,000 and Rihanna will have the Tourist flocking to our shores”!!

    Yeah, I saw that post in the Nation today and had to laugh. BTA is nothing but a joke. I say to anyone involved in the tourism industry. Don’t depend on them to help you, cause it’s not coming.

  8. judyjudy

    I plan to visit Grenada next year after 30 yes of visiting Barbados ! Can’t wait.

  9. Sandals? never again

    Having visited La source in Gda and had a fantatsic time….I was planning a return trip when they went out of business…..I have also had the misfortune to have stayed at Sandals St Lucia (two of the resorts…or should that be prisons) and have to say what an absolute heap of crap their resorts are….the food is pretty dire, even in their signature restaurant it was average at best

    This is a double tradegy, firstly going out of business and secondly being taken over by Sandals

    why do people see Sandals as the way to go…not everbody wants the brash in your face american sandals crap……..Gda has sold their sole to the devil, their image will go down, the place may be busy, but not with the type of tourists they can handle….very short term gain

    Barbados is expensive and the the developers have killed the beachside beauty (especially sad as nobody wants to buy the majority of the concrete jungle they have built…and still they build…someone has money to bury for a long time)….but Barbados still has character and some style…even after eighteen years of visiting twice a year, Barbados will really have hit bottom when Sandals arrives

    What a shame as La Source was an example of how a all inc resort should be

  10. Mac

    Since 2008 Four Seasons has been about to re-start. Several months ago, Sinckler said it was just around the corner. When will it re-start? nobody knows. In the mean time the tourism product is failing. Virgin is cutting seats but the BTA remains ever silent & pins it’s hopes on Rihanna – to do what??

  11. yatiniteasy

    Rihanna is wonderful, but will not fix the following things that severely hurt our Tourism product, especially repeat visitors.
    1. Drug pushers on the beaches
    2.Drug pushers operating freely in St Lawerence Gap
    3. Garbage all over the island..increasing every day too.
    4.Loud “music” being blared out all hours of the night and early morning.
    5. Paros, homeless people and beggars all over Broad Street.
    6 High food and beverage prices (except for local beer and rum)
    7. Rude and indifferent immigration officers, store clerks etc
    8.High operating costs for Hotels, guest houses, apartments etc…one of the highest electricity rates in the world…high duties and vat, high taxes on profits etc.Slow moving Government approvals for everything.
    9.High costs to travel to Barbados from anywhere..compounded by high Barbados Airport taxes.
    10.Reckless driving and speeding on our roads.
    Taxpayers` Money would be better spent addressing these and other problems.
    The old model of throwing Media money out there to attract even more suckers will not work in the long term.

  12. Anon2

    yatiniteasy has nailed it.

    Sad that just a handful of individuals contribute to his first 2 points and they’re so easy to spot!

  13. Buggs Bunny

    Tourism, we know is vital to the life of Barbados and other islands in the Caribbean as well. Lack of tourism in Barbados and other Caribbean islands fell prey to the recession and now a weakened economy internationally. Rihanna cannot help this situation. Barbados, does indeed need toning up. Rihanna though can help that situation and possibly is doing so anonymously because of FACT she is Bajan. The DLP government, since 2008 seems to have contributed nothing of significance but possibly could not contribute anything of significance. Barbados according to Clyde Mascoll is flat broke. . . . so broke that if it was a private company, it would be declared insolvent and forced to file bankruptcy. Yes, agree, Barbados is flat broke. The DLP inherited a like position form the BLP (2008). Barbados before 2008 was not financially sound. Three S&P downgrades proves this.

    Barbados at moment is extremely ill (high unemployment, a weakened economy, etc.), atop all that lack of tourism. The DLP government is NOT TOTALLY RESPONSIBLE. They, the DLP since 2008 stood in the face of a lot of BLP mess, cleaned up some, what it could. The BLP gave birth to Al Barrack. The DLP in 2008 accepted Al Barrack without choice. Arthur reported to Midweek Nation that “REDjet Airlines might still be flying if the Barbados Government had honored its financial commitment to the collapsed airline” but [if] the BLP government made effort to solve the Al Barrack matter it would not have ballooned quite so large. Bajans owe REDjet nothing, absolutely nothing. They, however, owe Al Barrack millions. Al Barrack has in his possession a court ordered judgment, Bajans must pay.

    Arthur and those BLP folks really know how to put on a clown show and get good laughs. They, the BLP are now the fix it folks. Economy in a mess right now, we will fix it says Arthur. They, the BLP will now fix things. They will fix CLICO. They will fix it. They will fix the national debt, they will fix it. The Tourist industry, they will fix that too.
    The DLP house is not clean. They, the DLP entertained friends but the wrong ones, Leroy Parris and Lawrence Dupre. The BLP house is also not clean. The BLP, though, with audacity barks at its DLP foe as though its house is clean or cleaner, it’s not. The light of Greed and corruption shines on both parties, the BLP and DLP but idiocy without doubt weighs more on the BLP side of the road. This is NOT DEBATABLE.

    Owen Arthur and the BLP gave birth to AL Barrack. Three (3) S&P downgrades, massive land theft, those deaths at Arch Cot, Britton Hill, etc. All occurred during the BLP government with Arthur at the helm. Wait! Here is more, more BLP embarrassment, the Nigerian Water heater project and the 75,000 campaign cheque. Ohhhhhh The VECO Corporation, can’t omit The VECO Corporation. Really, VECO is the height of delight. Owen Arthur, Mia Mottley and Dale Marshall awarded VECO a government contract without tender. VECO built the prison at Dodds in St. Philip but had no record of building prisons and the prison project, low and behold extended millions over budget. They (Arthur, Mottley and Marshall) maybe now are slapping each other in the face like the goofy Three Stooges.

    The recent S&P downgrade was made MAJOR NEWS due to Arthur and the BLP. Arthur and the BLP surely had not forgotten that Richard Francis, an S&P associate in 2005. . . . stated that [Barbados] deficit of ten percent was too high and the debt level between 43 and 50 percent of GDP Although less than half of Jamaica’s and even smaller than St. Kitts-Nevis was unacceptable. Barbados before 2008 was not financially stable. Three (3) S&P downgrades proves this.

    Really, that Arthur the BLP group is thrilling and suspenseful. Film producer, Michael Bay should consider them for movie making. Arthur in 2006 invested 2.4 million dollars in a Nigerian Water Heater project. No water heaters were produced and the 2.4 million dollars that belonged to taxpayers were lost and or unaccounted for. Also, Arthur during a budget debate could not remember that he actually chaired the meetings of cabinet to discuss VECO. He said he wished he was there. But when told by Minister Sinckler and the Prime Minister – ‘no Owen, you were there,’ he then said that he said something else. When pressed again, he again said something completely different and also said that he never said what he said on the two previous occasions the entire country heard him say it. Either, he was drunk, a suffer of Alzheimer’s, forgot taking his medication, or both.

    the BLP and DLP both are tainted with mountains of mess. The BLP mess mountains though are more immense and overly embarrassing. The most recent, Kerry Symmonds’ allegation concerning the molasses tanks. Barbadians know him (Symmonds) as a wife beater; his wife proved that. He is now a BALD FACE LIAR, Dr. David Estwick proved that.

    That’s all folks

  14. 174


    November 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm @ Well said WE see all that she-it also
    My true time is 434pm Nov 20th 2012

  15. 130

    I know the doctors who examined Kerry and his wife after their fracas and am advised that Kerry got by far the worst of the encounter…anyone who knows Andrea knows that she is not the sort who shirks from giving better than she gets, and in this case she borse Kerry’s ass.

  16. I say let Trinidad and Tobago take over Barbados, at least they are a businesslike and proactive people and don’t waste time with the small minded stop everybodys progress mentality. Nothing is going to change in bim until the people realize that their attitudes including those of governments, passing for culture has destroyed the country and any confidence investors had in it. Goodluck


    Tourists are no longer attracted to Barbados but Barbados itself is no longer attractive. Other destinations in the Caribbean are much more attractive with a lot less drama. Both government parties are responsible for the Barbados unhealthy condition though there is more blame and shame in front of the BLP. Can’t believe Arthur is racing for the title of prime minister again, also can’t believe that there are bajans supporting him. Can’t believe it, just can’t believe it.

  18. yatiniteasy

    To” well well”..if it were not for Trinidad`s oil production, natural gas etc, and the high prices of same over the past 10 years…Trinis would be in a big hole right now.There is much corruption in Government and big business, and the crime rate including murder is one of the highest (per capita) in the world.
    So no..Trinidad and Tobago is not a success story …how many people flock to their shores to live and work?
    How many Tourists are even interested in visiting, despite their beautiful country with mountains , rivers, beaches, and fauna and flora unmatched in the Caribbean?
    They are taking over commerce in Barbados, to be sure…even though you can`t spend a TT dollar here, or anywhere else in the world for that matter.
    Bajan`s are simply stupid and lazy to allow Trinis to “take over” while we even have to fight to sell Milk there. Can you buy a Banks in Trinidad? No…but you can buy Carib, Stag etc in come? are all run
    Now they are trying to take over the Banking sector…we are truly a ball less set of people!
    DLP BLP…it makes no difference.

  19. LOOK

    Barbados over the years have stepped down several steps – desperatesly needs a miracle. That miracle won’t be Rihanna or Owen Arthur/Barbados Labor Party.

  20. But having said that, trinidad has taken over bims banking system, and they did not have to try very hard. Trinidad can also buy up anyone of the other caribbean islands, you know why, they are business people. The ‘business’ bims governments practice only benefit the minority on the islandn bajans don’t understand the meaning to free enterprise, progress for all. Trinis don’t have time to moan about the damn value of paper, they generate paper. Paper will devalue regardless, the key is business generation. I could see them being successful even without oil, on sheer proactiveness and ruthlessness. They are not lazy and snobbish people. Bajans can learn a lot from them.

  21. I also must mention, I was in trinidad recently and with all their high crime rate, murders and corruption it is now one of the better shopping hubs in the caribbean. People are not going there to live and work but to spend their money on shopping sprees, I think u got my drift.

  22. LOOK

    Arthur and the BLP will fix things. “Economy in a mess right now. We will fix it” says Arthur. They, the BLP will fix it. They will fix the economy. They will fix the national debt. They will fix it. They will fix lack of tourism too. They will fix it. Interesting, Al Barrack, they (BLP) didn’t fix that, didn’t make effort to fix it. Bajans at moment, owe Al Barrack millions because they, the BLP made no effort to fix it. Al Barrack has in his possession a court ordered judgment. Bajans must pay. Barbados at moment is financially unstable; it has a growing national debt. Barbados, though BEFORE entrance of the DLP government (2008) was financially unstable; it had a growing national debt.

  23. Getagrip

    The best thing the tourism industry in Barbados could do would be to establish and support a hospitality/catering school. The South Africans have been doing this for decades, and it works a treat.
    The program is government funded, and any tourism-related business which sends employees to the establishment is permitted to various deductions from their tax demand.
    Far better to spend your money on education and development, than on a fading pop star.
    As a regular visitor to Barbados over the years I am saddened at the island’s fall from grace. There is no leadership, a total lack of understanding of the world tourism market, and a shocking work attitude from many of those involved in the hospitality business.
    If the ship is not turned around soon, there will be a sinking of Titanic proportions.

  24. I can’t for the life of me understand why the gov thinks that a pop star will turn around a whole economy and bet taxpayers money on that. Popstars hav a short shelf life, they come with expiry dates, very few last 20+ years, they are a dime a dozen and one is spat out evey other day. Which country in the world has anyone seen, hinge taxpayers dollars on a popstar, especially one that people who know wat morals are, will not spend their money on, she is no Bob Marley. Can it get any worse??

  25. LOOK

    Arthur and the BLP group will fix it. “economy in a mess right now, we will fix it’ says Arthur . They will fix the economy they will fix it. They will fix CLICO, they will fix it. They will fix the national debt. They will fix it. Also, tourism, they will fix it. Well, we shall see. LOL

    The BLP upon approaching the 2013 general election has made a lot of promises. Opposition Spokesperson, Mia Mottley in her reply to government 2012 – 2013 budget outlined a number of measures the new Barbados Labor Party (BLP) government would IMMEDIATELY put in place. We shall see. LOL

  26. LOOK

    The BLP upon approaching the 2013 general election has made a lot of promises. Opposition Spokesperson, Mia Mottley in her reply to government 2012 – 2013 budget outlined a number of measures the new Barbados Labor Party (BLP) government would IMMEDIATELY put in place; “what happened in the past cannot be changed” [Massive land theft, Al Barrack, VECO & the Nigerian Water heater project, etc.], “but the BLP has a proud and enviable reputation of keeping promises” Well we shall see.

    Barbados no doubt is ship wrecked, likewise Rihanna’s image and personal life. Because of her chaotic personal life and image, she, Rihanna is not a person of high esteem. This is possibly detouring Barbados tourists rather than luring them. Tourism in Barbados is barely breathing. Arthur and the BLP group will fix it. “Economy is a mess right now, we will fix it” says Arthur. They will fix it. They will fix CLICO, they will fix it. They will fix the national debt. They will fix it. Well, we will see.

    Barbados over the years have stepped down several steps – desperately needs a miracle. That miracle won’t be Rihanna or Owen Arthur/Barbados Labor Party.

  27. LOOK

    Although wounded by corruption in both the BLP and DLP, offenders of crime and a nonchalant judicial system is hurting it [Barbados] even more.

  28. Think they care, as long as they get to lord it over others in their pettyminded state for how brief a period, they could care less about state of island. Sickening.

  29. Analyzer

    I’ve lived in Barbados for over 30 years and I visited Grenada a couple years ago for the first time and I found it is just as expensive as Barbados. I think they have to import everything. they don’t even make milk there. You can buy American imported milk! Barbados has a much better infrastructure and is more beautiful in my opinion but one thing that stands out is how polite the people are. If you go walking up the road, everyone will tell you good morning or good afternoon (from school children to adults). I think we were asked a couple of times on the beach if we were interested in buying something but don’t remember feeling harassed at all. That’s just my two cents contribution.

  30. Rastaman

    @Analyser:” But one thing that stands out is how polite the people are”
    You must mean in Grenada not Barbados!!!

  31. Rastaman

    @Analyser: And obviously you have not been in St Lawrence Gap recently

  32. Analyzer

    Yes, Genadians seem to be polite people. I drove through St. Lawrence Gap the other day, what happened?

  33. I think Analyzer is speaking in general. Most people here are polite when you meet them on the street. That is something I love about Barbados. It’s the customer service in businesses (small and large) that is lacking at times. Unfortunately, that definitely is no secret.