Adrian Loveridge: So much wrong with the Barbados Tourism Authority

BeatDeadHorse

Adrian takes his cane to a dead horse called the Barbados Tourism Authority…

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

First in the interests of establishing impartiality, I think its important that I point out that I have never been a member of a political party during my sixty two years.

I vote, whenever practical, because it is seemingly my only tiny contribution to maintaining anything close to a democratic system and consider it both a right and a civic obligation.

When the current administration swept into office just a month short of five year ago, while observing entirely from a tourism perspective, a number of stated objectives were contained within their manifesto.

Included in these were to ‘restructure and strengthen the Barbados Tourism Authority’. At the time I remember asking the then Chairman, what was the time frame for this re-organisation. His reply still resonates in my ears. ‘Six months’ he confidently responded.

We all realise now that it wasn’t to be.

And that has left me asking the same question over and over again: If a private sector entity, spent hundreds of million of Dollars, employed upwards of 150 full and part time employees, consultants, contracted the services of advertising agencies, public relations companies etc., and didn’t produce any real growth for nearly five years, would it be deemed a failed business model?

Is it not overdue that the mandate of the BTA is revisited, to see if it can play a greater role in generating increased visitors, extending average stay and influencing a higher per-capita spend. Has in fact, any administration sufficient will and determination to address this issue and implement meaningful change?

Tourism White Paper: MIA

We are told that the much vaunted Tourism White Paper will appear during the first quarter of next year. But is this yet another woefully optimistic promise and how close to reality is this statement?

Only the Prime Minister can call an election and if the information contained on various Government websites is accurate, that requires a timeframe of a  minimum of three weeks and a maximum of six. Presumably, any draft white paper will have to be debated in both sections of Parliament and then circulated throughout the industry for comment.

Is it therefore even feasible or practical that this can be done, bearing in mind Parliament’s seasonal recess and that constitutionally, a general election must be held by April 2013? Once the ‘bell is rung’, the House of Assembly will be dissolved.

So not only are ‘we’ not likely to view even a draft document on where this industry is going, but the probability of enacting a Tourism Master Plan appears almost as remote now, as it was half a decade ago.

Many within the industry, whether currently employed or victims of the downturn, want to see in which direction we are heading and ascertain if there is a future for them in tourism. Those who have dedicated years of study at university, perhaps enticed by the constant message that this sector is our main foreign currency earner,  want to know their time has not been wasted and ultimately there will be career opportunities.

The dismal failure to restructure the BTA cannot be one of the many issues blamed on the global recession. In fact, if anything, it was even more critical to ensure that our national tourism marketing agency effectiveness and performance was dramatically enhanced.

This may prove  to be one of the biggest lost opportunities in any period of governance.

29 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

29 responses to “Adrian Loveridge: So much wrong with the Barbados Tourism Authority

  1. X

    Can someone help me with this: “constitutionally, a general election must be held by April 2013”. If the last election was in January 2008 and the limit is five years, how is it that this merry band of fools gets to drag it out till April?

  2. 16

    Article is just garbage

  3. 174

    Adrian….. the problem with Barbadians is that if you are smart enough to tell them they are wrong, they get so hurt that they try to make it out that you are the problem. Well we have a office full at the BTA, that are so lost in space that they are no longer in the milky way.

  4. lawson

    I feel very sorry for service industry businessmen and women putting your hard earned money on the line and not being represented well by the bta. The only mention of Barbados in this weeks travel section in Ottawa was one of the stops in a cruise package.Cuba Cancun St martin Dominican republic . packages are being pushed by sellers (signature, air canada etc ) I guess Barbados is full up this winter

  5. 60

    If you raise up the horse’s tail at the top and look under it you will see portraits of the top brass at BTA.

  6. Credit is due

    Why is Adrian Loveridge so hell bent on attacking our tourism industry. Please give our players some credit. We know where our bread is buttered and we have survived in this tourism business for a long time. If we did not know what we were doing we would have supported the Palestinian bid to become a member of the UN. We bravely abstained when our Jewish friends said that if we supported the Palestinians our tourism would suffer.

  7. repeat visitor

    I agree with all the posters, lawson and even “anonymous” (because people do react in that way). Call me callous or cynical but no one changes anything even when they are right unless there’s widespread support (think about Poland in the 1990s or whatever)…in Bbdos I see more fear and/or acceptance than any signs of widespread shock or revolt against the horrible failure of the BTA’s marketing efforts and its impact on the economy. Why? I remain puzzled. In my provincial Canadian newspaper , which should be a feeder to the Bbdos market, there was NO mention at all this past weekend of the island. Nothing, and a big full-page ad for Cuba. I should get paid by the BTA for all the good publicity I do for Bdos (in spite of some recently rough experiences). Adrian, you’re right, but you’re wrong or simply naive to think that change will come just because the current situation is so bad…

  8. I don’t understand why the hoteliers who have made millions over the years out of bims tourism product are incapable now of marketing the island, talking the weight off the taxpayers back. What have they done with all that money. The well is dry, the bottom has fallen out. The taxpayer caNnot be milked anymore, its time for the hoteliers to give back.

  9. lawson

    The population of Barbados is what would be considered a small city, but it seems you have a lot of well heeled politicians and govt workers. If tourism is the main source of revenue on a coral island (short on natural resources) Hoteliers do not seem to be the only ones who have benefited from people choosing Barbados to vacation. Barbados needs a serious strategy for tourism before it is too late but it will be hard to accomplish when no-one wants to take a haircut to compete.

  10. Efficiencies

    “I don’t understand why the hoteliers who have made millions over the years out of bims tourism product are incapable now of marketing the island, talking the weight off the taxpayers back”

    I fully agree!

    Scrap the BTA and give half of the money to those whose livelihood depends on tourism and let them market their own product. The BTA is a complete waste of taxpayers money and a dinasour waiting for a Comet.

  11. 83

    There lopping heads off in mexico and can still get 1.6 million canadians a year to visit, where as Barbados gets 60 thousand.I am not saying decapitation is the way to get tourists, but if they can put a figure on who is not doing there job to get tourists here heads should roll.

  12. lawson

    Mexico gets 1.6 million canadian vistors a year and they are lopping off heads over there. Barbados gets 60 thousand canadians I am not suggesing decapitation is the way to go to get more tourists but if they can put a finger on whos inaction is causing less to come heads should roll.

  13. Sith

    The problem is bigger than the BTA. It is about a low comparative value when compared to other destinations along with a lack of ability to pick up trash and keep the place tidy.

  14. The problem is people as usual are not doing their jobs, and hoteliers knowing this still continue to sit and wait instead of picking up the slack, its ur livelihood, the majority of hotel workers do not make millions off the product. The people who did benefit handsomely hid. the money in accounts all over the world and are now complaining about the BTA that have the same crowd of visionless people working there sucking on taxpayers dollars trying to make the exhausted public believe the rihanna will turn around tourism by getting nekkid and showing everyone in bim how to roll the biggest marijuana blunts to smoke. Am wondering if these people ever look at themselves in a mirror.

  15. Anonymous

    Poor Rihanna if this scheme fails obviously she just didnt do enough if it works boy arent we the smartest tourism authority ever. You can just hear the conversation at the Bta the heats on they have noticed less tourists get a scapegoat quick or we will all be out of a job

  16. an observer

    Plain and simple Barbados has manoeuvered itself out of the average tourist budget, The lack of friendly service also does not endear visitors to return – so what do you expect?

  17. Anonymous

    I was always amazed that when someone was reprimanded or layed off in Barbados , a wildcat strike would insue or the island would shut down whether the layoff was warranted or not so that might be a contributing factor in the poor service or the I dont care attitude. I have only two weeks vacation and I dont care about your problems I am trying to get away from mine

  18. In all fairness to rihanna, she is absolutely clueless about what is required of her, given that a young age she was used as a sex object to make money, she has no training or experience in being an ambassador, giving someone a title because they became famous does not automatically make them intelligent or trained in a required field. Where do all of these idots come from???. That does nothing for bims tourism, and anyone in bta who is expecting her to be able to turn things around should be jailed.

  19. Adrian Loveridge

    Long stay visitors –

    September – DOWN 6.6 per cent
    October – DOWN 8.4 per cent

  20. Rastaman

    @Adrian : Oct 8.4 % further down on Sept?

  21. Adrian Loveridge

    Rastaman,

    Figures shown are when compared with same months in 2011.
    This follows: July Down 12 per cent and August Down 13.6 percent

  22. Rastaman

    But we seems to be getting better ????.LOL

  23. lawson

    but your bta just won an excellence award you must be wrong

  24. Adrian Loveridge

    Is the MOT living in Cloud Cuckoo Land – Barbados Advocate 10 December 2012 – ‘we have seen some pretty impressive increases in the Canadian and Caribbean performance’ –

    Now the reality:

    Jan-Aug – Canada UP 0.9 per cent – across ALL markets DOWN 4.8 per cent.
    September – Canada DOWN 5 per cent – Trinidad and Tobago DOWN 22.4 per cent – Other Caricom DOWN 5 per cent.
    October – Canada DOWN 4 per cent – Trinidad and Tobago DOWN 18.5 per cent – Other Caricom DOWN 9.1 per cent.

  25. Sith

    @adrian

    The mot did see increases that were impressive. They were not in Barbados though. He was quoting increases at other destinations that Barbados competes with.

  26. Rastaman

    @Sith: Good one,If it was not so serious ,it would be hilarious

  27. Rastaman

    Maybe he is bending over backwards and seeing the world from a different perspective

  28. Rastaman

    Or should I say forwards????