Daily Archives: March 21, 2013

Tour-operator driven business model killing Barbados tourism industry

peach-and-quiet-barbados-hotel.jpg

“So many of our hoteliers are contemplating simply throwing in the towel”

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner - now selling!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner – now selling!

Like many other people involved in the tourism sector, I have wondered for a very long time exactly how financial data is collected and used to shape national tourism policy.

As part of the arduous lead up to prepare all the required paperwork for the eventual sale of our small hotel, we have to obtain many official documents. This includes a Certificate of Good Standing from the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office to state they have in their possession our last twenty something years of certified accounts.

Don’t get me wrong – I have absolutely no objection to them having every intimate detail of our financial trading over the previous two decades. But I just wonder: Is any part of the information we voluntarily supply passed on to Ministries, including tourism, or other institutions like the Central Bank, so that it can be used in defining policy making?

Without reasonable profits, hotels cannot maintain the quality of their tourism product

What prompted these thoughts was looking through a real estate description of one of the many hotels that are on the market for sale and trying to fully understand all of the reasons why such a large percentage of our accommodation providers desperately need to be upgraded.

The hotel in question has 150 rooms located on a 525 feet wide prime beachfront site and spread over about 5 acres on the south coast. According to the agent, the hotel has ‘generated significant annual gross revenue averaging more than BDS$10 million over the last four years’.

At first, it looks an attractive acquisition prospect, but then consider this…

If the BDS$10 million quoted is annual turnover, then with an average occupancy level of 65 per cent across the year, which is considerably higher than the ‘norm’ on Barbados, that would only equate to BDS$281, or US$140 per room per occupied night. Clearly, it cannot be overly profitable or the agent would not qualify the offering with ‘it is being offered well below replacement cost’.

Has the over reliance on tour operator generated business and prolonged periods of discounting eroded margins to the point where so many of our hoteliers are contemplating simply throwing in the towel?

When conducting a comparison with our own small Peach & Quiet Hotel property, we averaged BDS$454, or US$227 per occupied room night in the last financial year ended – mostly due to the fact that almost 100 per cent of our business is booked directly at rack rate.

Last week, UK travel giant, Thomas Cook announced it was closing another 195 high street stores, shedding more than 2,500 jobs. The British trade body, ABTA, estimate over 1,400 agencies have closed their doors during the last ten years and that’s in the United Kingdom alone.

People are booking for themselves using the internet

A recent TripAdvisor survey polled across 35,000 people, conducted between December 2012 and January 2013, concluded that only 7 per cent of holidaymakers went into a travel agency to actually book their last holiday.  27 per cent booked via web-based travel agencies and 23 per cent direct with the accommodation’s own website. What does the remaining 47 per cent do?

So clearly the distribution of our product and way it is booked has dramatically changed, yet ‘we’ as a destination appear to be doing things in the same old way.

Is it time that we look very carefully at how, as a destination, ‘our’ business is both generated and delivered – to see not only the best way we can claw back the arrival numbers, but also maximise the revenue earned?

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Barbados Finance Minister says taxpayers’ money to be recovered on Four Seasons sale. Do you believe him?

Barbados Investment Four Seasons

We don’t believe Chris Sinckler… Do You?

Chris Sinckler says that the Government of Barbados is about to sell the disastrous Four Seasons project and that Bajan taxpayers “should be walking away from it with all of its monies intact.”

I’ll believe that when I see the books and the reports that you know we’ll never see. Bajan politicians and governments don’t allow public accountability when it comes to massive losses resulting from government foolishness.

I don’t believe Minister Sinckler. There have to be losses to taxpayers. This fiasco has been going on too long and there’s too much public money into it… We just don’t know how much of our public money is into the Four Seasons because the government doesn’t allow us to know. Former Prime Minister David Thompson said that the Four Seasons project was “extremely risky”. Now his old political friends are saying it’s no problem.

Why is the truth and transparency so difficult to find on this island?

That’s easy: because the political elites like it that way so they won’t pass Integrity Legislation or Freedom of Information.

Do you believe Christ Sinckler?

Further Reading

Nation News Seasons switch

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Shanique Myrie inquiry – Barbados environmental officer part of Immigration scam?

Barbados_Immigration_illegal

Questions about Barbados Environmental Officer Daniel Forde

by One Who Knows

The story is still developing but from the reports in the local news, questions are being asked about the role of Daniel Forde “a senior government environmental officer” in the Shanique Myrie fiasco.

Jamaican Myrie was denied entry into Barbados and held in Immigration custody. She has alleged mistreatment by Bajan authorities, including being “finger raped” during a search for drugs.

Bajan Pamela Clarke testified that neighbour Daniel Forde asked her to be available when his friend Myrie arrived from Jamaica in case Mryrie couldn’t get hold of Forde. But while Clarke agreed to this she did not know that Myrie was providing her name and address as the person who invited her to Barbados and where she would be staying.

Myrie lied to Immigration officers, saying that she had been talking to Pamela Clarke on the internet for two months. That was not true as they had never spoken or emailed.

Barbados drug search

Although Bajan government official Daniel Forde had something to do with Shanique Myrie traveling to Barbados, it seems Forde and Myrie did not want the Immigration officials to know that.

Why Not?

Testimony says that Myrie lied to Immigration Officials about her relationship with Pamela Clarke, and so far it testimony says that Myrie didn’t offer Forde’s name as her real host.

So Myrie was not truthful with Immigration and Forde was in on that plan to not be truthful. That is what it looks like so far.

Why weren’t Forde and Myrie straight with Immigration officials? Is this about human trafficking and Forde, a Barbados government official, is involved? Is this about Myrie is his little squeeze on the side that Forde didn’t want someone else to know about? Or is it something altogether innocent, mistakes made because somebody assumed something and said the wrong thing?

There’s more questions than answers right now, but if it shapes up that Forde was part of some plan to not tell the truth to Immigration, then Bajans should be asking themselves if Forde should keep that nice cushy government job of his.

The inquiry continues…

BFP’s readers can head over to Barbados Today as that news source has published many articles about Shanique Myrie. Check out Never knew Myrie.

We’re going to reprint the whole article here because you know how it is folks – if we don’t sure enough the original article will change or disappear a common happening with the Bajan news media. Readers should first head over to Barbados Today as they deserve your click please.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Human Rights, Immigration, Jamaica