Daily Archives: November 25, 2012

Barbados national tourism marketing efforts yielded no growth in five years

Pray for cold weather in the UK, Canada and the USA, but not bad enough to disrupt travel!

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

With a little more than two weeks before the start of what may become one of the most defining tourism winter seasons in our recent history, many are left just to guess at what will happen.

Yes of course you can draw some comparisons with forward direct bookings, but with a heavy dependence on tour operator driven business for a high proportion of our hotels it is far more difficult to make any accurate predictions.

Clearly a number of factors have negatively affected the industry’s performance, and to put in perspective, I think it’s important to study the figures…

For the four years from, 2008 – 2011, we (Barbados), averaged 546,533 long stay visitor arrivals each year. In the previous four years, 2004 – 2007, the average was 558,632. Simply put, that’s a decline of nearly 50,000 visitors over the comparable periods.

Arguments could of course be made, and have in some quarters, that the average stay has increased – but without directly comparing this over a sustained period it is almost irrelevant.  And it becomes totally meaningless unless average spend has risen faster than the number of nights our accommodation offerings are occupied.

Certainly the steep reduction in arrivals from our largest market, the UK, would not have helped this equation. Without this critical information, it’s simply speculation about the overall performance of the industry and that does absolutely nothing to help devise meaningful solutions.

So perhaps, at least our winter destiny, might be in the hands of climatic conditions, with weather bad enough to stimulate travel, but not to disrupt it. Nor does the possibility of exceptionally cold spells in our source markets give us divine right to expect increased arrival numbers.

Without any coherent ‘national’ marketing campaign in place that directly converts destination interest into solid bookings at desirable rates, the industry is left to flounder on its own using any resources that it can individually muster to make a difference. Of course, an increasing number of tourism partners already practice this policy, preferring at least to try and control their own destiny. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Canadian tourist murdered in St. Lucia beach robbery

UPDATED: Sunday November 25, 2012 11:35am Bridgetown

St. Lucia Police arrest suspect

Sun News: Police arrest man in connection with killing of Canadian in St. Lucia

Colin Peter

Island and Canadian news media provide major coverage

St. Lucian Government, Police, Tourism representatives & citizens express horror and condolences

An elderly Canadian tourist injured in a daylight St. Lucian beach robbery has died. Colin Peter, 75, of Prince Edward Island, Canada, was attacked on November 16, 2012 while walking with his wife at Vigie Beach. Mr. Peter was beaten about the head with a piece of wood and robbed of his wallet, camera and other valuables. He died on November 19, 2012 in St. Lucia’s Victoria hospital as preparations were being made to fly him back to Canada. (The Guardian: P.E.I. man dies of injuries sustained in attack in St. Lucia)

“There aren’t words to express the outrage felt by the government over this incident,”

… Lorne Theophilus, Minister of Tourism, St. Lucia

Two island tourist murders: two different responses

The circumstances of the robbery in St. Lucia are very similar to the 2009 fatal attack at Long Beach, Barbados when Canadians Terry Schwarzfeld and daughter Lauana Cotsman were beaten with a piece of wood and robbed by serial rapist / robber Curtis Joel Foster. Mrs. Schwarzfeld died in a Canadian hospital after an emergency medical flight home. Killer Foster is currently serving 15 years after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

We at BFP cannot help but comment upon the different government, police, and news media responses to a tourist murder in the two island nations. It may be that St. Lucian authorities have learned from the shameful public relations disaster of the Barbados government in 2009, but so far St. Lucia is providing a model response that will go a long way to reassure prospective visitors.

In contrast to the Barbados news media’s silence and cover-up over the Schwarzfeld attack, the St. Lucian print and electronic news media gave full and immediate coverage to the initial robbery upon Mr. Peter and his later death. Government authorities including the Prime Minister, Tourism Minister, Police Commissioner and the VP of St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association expressed horror, concern and a desire for St. Lucia to assist the Peter family.

The St. Lucian authorities declared an all out effort to find and arrest the culprits, and to see if any preventative measures would have helped. Police Commissioner Vernon Francois also engaged in some self-criticism of the police when he talked with the news media about the low levels of police patrols on the beaches and the discontinuance of the Beach Ranger patrols some years ago for budgetary reasons.

St. Lucia responded to a tourist murder in a way that the world is bound to perceive as honest, sincere and human – and without a trace of a cover-up.

The story of the tourist robbery and then Mr. Peter’s death continues to receive major coverage in St. Lucia – and that means that St. Lucia cares. During the time following the 2009 Barbados robbery, the Canadian news media were outraged that Barbados news outlets covered up the attack.

The Ottawa Citizen had as a headline: “Bajan Media Ignores Attack On Women. Feisty Barbados Free Press Only Outlet To Speak Out For Schwarzfeld”. What a public relations disaster thanks to the Barbados government and our island news media! Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

Episode II: Blind Chris Leads Barbados to Economic Crisis

And for your further viewing pleasure: MisAdventures of Captain Freundel and the ‘Eager 11′ – First episode!

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Filed under Barbados, Politics

Barbados Police competence, brutality, in spotlight as ‘wrongful’ rape charges explode in worldwide news

Rape victim Diane Davies: “Barbados Police arrested the wrong man!”

“Signed confession after suffocated and beaten by police”

“Rachel Turner, 30, and Diane Davies, 63, are adamant that Derick Crawford, 48, was not the man who attacked them in Barbados.

Mr Crawford said he was overseas at the time of the attacks and signed a confession after he was ‘suffocated and beaten’ by police.

The women and a third British victim, Hillary Heath, have waived their right to anonymity and helped Mr Crawford hire a solicitor.”

… from the Metro story: British rape victims campaign to free their accused attacker

Two rape victims say Barbados Police charged the wrong man

THE EVIDENCE: No DNA testing… only a confession under alleged police torture!

Barbados Police Commissioner Dottin: Welcome to 2012. Nothing can be hidden anymore. Everything is eventual… and everything eventually rises to the cold clear inspection of the public. It’s called ‘the internet’ and it’s forcing news organisations to carry stories they wouldn’t carry before. Once upon a time the threat of removing Barbados tourism advertising was enough to keep the London Times and the New York Times at bay. Now those newspapers and all the others must print stories because to not cover the news would be too obvious.

Besides… this is one juicy story. Caribbean police arrest innocent man to protect the tourism business! No DNA testing! Two victims spend money, time and privacy to fight for an innocent man!

Woaloss! That is one ‘ell of a story!

Yes it is one hell of a story and the world’s news media are taking it up. See, Commissioner Dottin?… we told you so many times that the potential for a publicity disaster was directly related to tourist safety and the professionalism of the Royal Barbados Police Force.

We told you so, and we told the politicians who starved the police budget until the RBPF was 100 officers short and lacked the money to properly train, equip and retain the good officers we have.

Here’s a few from the hundreds of news stories running right now, world wide. Owen Arthur and Freundel Stuart: this is your doing as much as anyone’s.

We could go on for hours listing the news stories, but this should be enough to make our point…

BFP: Is Derick Crawford the Barbados rapist? Two victims say police arrested wrong man to sooth tourism!

The Independent: ‘Wrong man’ accused of Barbados rapes, say British victims at court hearing

BBC Television: Women defend man accused of raping them in Barbados

Mail Online: British women attacked by serial rapist on Barbados insist island police ‘have got the wrong man’ – and say real culprit is still at large

Daily: Anglesey woman says wrong man accused of Barbados rapes

The Telegraph: How two British women raped in Barbados declared their ‘attacker’ innocent

BBC News: Barbados rapes: Victims say innocent man charged

AOL News: British tourists raped in Barbados battle to free ‘wrongly accused’ man

Daily Post: North Wales woman raped in Barbados says police have wrong man

BBC Specials: Barbados rapes: Diane Davies defends Derick Crawford

Jamaican Observer: Rape victims defend accused

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Filed under Barbados