Barbados hotels expect government to head off developing tourism disaster

empty seats Barbados

Empty seats a dangerous sign in High Season

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

Having sat on the board of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association briefly, you get some idea of what a complex and challenging task it is for any Executive Vice President and the juggling act he or she has to perform on a daily basis.

Keeping everybody happy is, in my view, a near impossible task. On reflection I believe the BHTA and its members have been extremely lucky, with very few exceptions, to have attracted the calibre of people who have held the position of EVP.

When Sue Springer was recently interviewed by one of the other media outlets, you could sense the passion and genuine unease in her quoted words. Even the journalist prefixed her title with ‘frustrated’. I don’t believe that anyone should view her comments as alarmist, as she is reflecting the obvious concerns of the members.

The article was headed “Layoffs looming” and pointed out that “the sector may have to brace for problems if the current state of the industry did not improve this summer”.

Why are many of our neighbours bettering us in tourism?

Ms. “Springer warned that the first quarter of this year was already looking bleak” and this was clearly illustrated in the 8.2 per cent fall in long stay visitors in the peak month of January. Recently one of our returning guests to the UK reported that the ten rows of seats behind them were all empty and that one flight arrived with 24 people in economy. As loyal regulars to Barbados, I have no reason to doubt them.

‘We’ cannot go on thinking that this is a global problem affecting all our competitors. As already pointed out in last week’s column, almost all the rest of the Caribbean recorded strong growth last year.

The new administration has a very small majority and surely I cannot be alone in thinking that all the elected officials can pull together in the national interest. By the time this column goes to press, I would expect that a new cabinet is in position and we can only hope that the best qualified persons are placed in the positions where they can make a positive difference.

I cannot think of a single private sector player who makes a living out of tourism that doesn’t think some form of radical reform has to take place in the way we market the destination. We can go on burying our head in the sand and pretend there are no solutions, but it simply cannot be business as usual any longer.

Hoteliers are often targeted with disparaging remarks and I would be the last person to agree with them all, but you also have to look at the current crisis in tourism through their eyes. Almost always, they have made the single largest investments. Yes! they largely have the most to gain in the good times, but conversely the most to lose in the present climate of low occupancy, discounted room rates and hugely increased costs of operation. Any Minister of Tourism that chooses to ignore or downplay this fact, is clearly out of touch with reality.

The hotels too, are probably the largest contributors in annual subscriptions to sustain the Association, the main representative trade organisation and clearly expect to be listened to.

Further Reading

Barbados Today: Lagging on tourism

Editor’s note: Barbados Free Press created the headline ‘Barbados hotels expect government to head off developing tourism disaster’ and the two subtitles in black. As submitted by Mr. Loveridge, the original title was “Tourism Matters – (129)”

18 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

18 responses to “Barbados hotels expect government to head off developing tourism disaster

  1. Rastaman

    But I am hearing from a reputable tourist guide that all the flights are full. So who is right?

  2. 54

    Misinformation from tourism professionals. The countries that normally have huge tourists volumes into barbados, I cannot see how they are expected to keep up financially given that their countries are facing bankruptcy, these people are now barely surviving themselves. I think it’s unreasonable to believe that much can be done to change the trend of low tourist arrivals for quite some years to come, unless and until hoteliers recognize it for what it really is and start targeting countries, including caribbean countries, that are not staggering under financial strain, in the hope that their citizens are interested in travelling to an expensive destination such as barbados, You will notice I left out BTA, I am not sure if they know up from down and did not want to take the chance, no insult intended.

  3. Adrian Loveridge

    Anonymous,

    A recent quote from Beverly Nicholson-Doty, the Chairwomen of the CTO –
    ‘all the signs suggest Caribbean tourism is rallying’ and ‘the 5.4 per cent growth rate (Caribbean) outpaced the REST OF THE WORLD’.
    This refers to 2012 in comparision to 2011.
    The problem is NOT in the Caribbean, it is in Barbados.
    As I said, we cannot go on blaming the recession and APD.

  4. Green Monkey

    A menace – Robberies of visitors for gold hurting tourism

    Four daring daylight robberies of visitors in the space of a week have the chief of two popular hotels at his wits’ end.

    And the leading hotelier has had enough.

    He wants to see authorities take a fresh look at the cash-for-gold enterprise, a phenomenon he believes is the biggest threat to Barbados’ already struggling tourism industry.

    Requesting anonymity, the chairman and managing director of the two South Coast hotels said he had already written the president of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA) about it, but planned to raise it again at the next monthly meeting.

    He revealed that on one day last week two guests were robbed of their gold jewellery at 11 a.m., and a couple days later innocent tourists using the popular Richard Haynes Boardwalk in Hastings, Christ Church, were also relieved of their precious metals.

    “I’m convinced this type of action is to do with the cash-for-gold business. I’m hoping the police can come up with a plan to scan the businesses which operate, and determine just how legitimate they are,” the peeved hotelier told the DAILY NATION yesterday.

    http://www.nationnews.com/articles/view/a-menace-robberies-of-visitors-for-gold-hurting-tourism/

  5. sandra

    Many tourists like myself are disgusted at the way animals are treated in bim and nobody cares. I have many friends who will never return and bring money to the island. Look after animals help the rescue shelters and prosecute abusers. U may think this is a trivial factor but it does matter. There are a growing number of people who are fed up of seeing animal cruelty here. Ignore it at your peril.

  6. Adrian Loveridge

    Sandra, You are right in many cases BUT some of us DO care. We have taken in 9 cats (as a hotel we are not allowed to have dogs) over the last few years, taken them all to the vet and continue to spoil them rotten. We have a friend (Vida) who has done an amazing job rescuing animals over many years. Bill Marshall (the horse trainer) and his wife have given her a plot of land to build an animal shelter, but she has struggled to get planning permission, even after applying personally to the former Prime Minister.
    Many visiting celebrities have also supported several animal rescue projects.

  7. A visitor

    @Anonymous
    I will tell you what is the difference between “belief“ and “know“!
    “Belief“ means you are hope always the best-like one day god comes on the earth! This also means you don‘t know nothing!
    “Know“ means you don‘t belief, you know! Believe helps Nowhere knowledge a lot.
    You right “countries are facing bankruptcy” but this is what you may still read in “your Newspapers”-you read the past!
    If you could read international newspapers you read headlines like this:
    29.10.2012 – U.S. citizens spend more money
    25.03.2011 – Germans give more money for the holidays
    . . . and so on!!
    Take care

  8. Distant voice

    the impending collapse of Harlequin in Rockly plus the fact that
    Holetown has lost 50% of it’s beach front to unfinished hotel projects only goes to show foreigners how derelict our tourism product is becoming.
    No sidewalks, broken drain covers, in Hastings make it impossible to walk anywhere. Visitors dressed up for dinner only make the walk once.
    I would suggest that government takes immediate action to improve the product and infrastructure. Foreign owned hotel properties that lie derelict for more than 5 years should be sold to local investors at auction. Foreign and local owners need to be forced to take down hoardings (most of which are illegal under local law) clean up the site and allow public access until a new building start is possible. The chief Town planner needs to change the loop hole regarding building start notices and 5 year expiry of planning approvals. It would appear that if a building start notice is submitted with $50 and a small amount of work is done…the approval gets locked in for perpetuity regardless of whether the project is ever built.
    All this talk about foreigners buying prime land in Barbados is a joke until the Prime Minister/Minister of Planning (all are one now) sets up sensible legislation to protect Barbados from being ruined by crooks and ponzi sharks…..David Ames has committed a crime on Barbados territory…arrest him. Arrest the CLICO theives as well.

  9. sith

    Barbados is too expensive. Need to let the currency float and get away from people living on the expectations that the Barbados dollar is really worth 2 to 1 compared to the US$. The value for money has long disappeared in the tourist product offered.

  10. Jack Bowman

    Mr. Negroman on Barbados Underground:

    “THE ELIMINATION & EXTINCTION OF SUB-HUMAN, HALF MAKE EUROPEANS FROM THIS EARTH WILL UNDOUBTEDLY BRING ABOUT A MORE PEACEFUL, STABLE & MORALLY UPLIFTINORLD”

    Hey, Adrian. Hope you and yours are well.

    While you’re attempting to bleed even more out of Bajan taxpayers, what do you think of the above? It’s straight from one of the blogs on which you’re wont to lecture people. You contribute to it.

    What do you think of the opinion expressed, on the blog to which you contribute regularly?

  11. English bajan

    Rastaman, that reputable tourist guide is talking a load of you know what. Prices over the last 4 years from England to Barbados have doubled in price with only recently as 6 months ago they have drop back to the 2009 prices. To add to that the Uk is now going through a triple dip recession which means your average family of 2 adults 2 children are finding the cost of just a flight the same as going 5 star all inclusive in for e.g Egypt and picking more value for money destinations over Barbados. I know it’s not the fault entirely of Barbados but you have to lower your prices when the countries you are doing big business with are also feeling the shrink in their economies or start attracting new business from developing countries to buck the current trend. The good news is, In the next 2 years 2015, I think everything will be back to normal

  12. 32

    There is a dollars reason why Barbados’ marketing remains fixed and it is the straight line from $ for marketing to the personal pockets of certain individuals. It is a case of nation last and personal enrichment first. Follow the money.

  13. 54

    re: cruelty to animals in Bim, I am totally against cruelty to animals, it is wrong – I am guessing the people who are protesting the most have all gotten over their cruelty to other humans as practiced over the last many centuries. I now beg the question………….where do you think the local people learned all that cruelty from????…………an unbiased answer would be nice.

  14. Jack Bowman

    Green Monkey, March 4, 2013 at 11:51 am:

    “A menace – Robberies of visitors for gold hurting tourism”

    If only that were the worst of their worries. More worrisome, surely, is an opinion like this, published to the world on Barbados Underground, a blog that Mr. Loveridge chooses as his media outlet:

    “THE ELIMINATION & EXTINCTION OF SUB-HUMAN, HALF MAKE EUROPEANS FROM THIS EARTH WILL UNDOUBTEDLY BRING ABOUT A MORE PEACEFUL, STABLE & MORALLY UPLIFTING WORLD”

  15. Skinner, Niagara Falls

    Security concerns and crime will get worse as the economy tanks. Barbados is still pretty safe but there is no more walking on the beach after dark even at the hotel. Price is my main concern with Barbados. Too expensive for what you get. I go to Cuba and it is safer and the people friendly not like Barbadians.

  16. Resort Development Trends: What’s in your Waterfront?

    “Reef Worlds design teams spent 2012 reviewing the state of five-star resort waterfronts in the Caribbean and Pacific.
    Their report shed a new light on the underwater world beyond the high tide mark.”

    http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/2/prweb10467506.htm

  17. 158

    Hope Barbados comes back to its former glory soon.

  18. pomp

    safety is the key to success in tourism industries,
    barbados homicide rate is very similar to the rate in following countries;
    nigeria, paraguay, togo, gambia.
    did you ever hear of people going on holidays to theses countries?…..