Daily Archives: April 22, 2013

Winter ‘high’ season devastatingly bad for tourist arrivals and revenues

Beautiful Barbados beach... but no tourists!

Beautiful Barbados beach… but no tourists!

Tourism businesses ask “How much worse can it get?”

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner - now selling!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner – now selling!

Sometimes so many statistics and figures are bandied about in the tourism industry, that it is easy to be distracted from any cause and effect that these may have.

Take the recently announced long stay visitor arrival figures for January and February 2013 for instance: a 9 per cent fall for each month. While that may not appear devastating in numbers alone, you have to look past the percentage decline. These are two of our critical four peak winter months. Add the fall in arrivals during December 2012 and already the heady predictions of a strong winter are completely out the window.

In January 2012 , we welcomed 52,619 stay-over visitors and in February 2012, some 54,162. Many hoteliers rely on the winter for not only a high room occupancy level, but also the premium rates charged over this period.

December 2012 welcomed 52,174 persons, which naturally includes what is probably the busiest time of the year, Christmas and New Year, for most properties.

Compare arrivals with summer months and you can get a feel of the importance of winter volume and revenue. As examples, August 2012, which could have the benefit of Crop Over and visiting friends and relatives,  43,191 and June 2012, 36,656.

From an economic point of view, if you use one of our West Coast 4 star hotels of about 100 rooms to measure the losses, who charges US$709 per room per night in the winter. Then average a typical stay of 7 nights which produces US$4,963 for that room over that period. The same room charge in the summer, falls to US$282  or US$1,974 for the week.  A massive 60 per cent less income, and that’s before you factor in specials like offering 7 nights, but paying for six.

Of course it’s not quite that simple as Barbados is a largely tour operator dependent destination – which would negatively influence net room rates. But I would guess that while the figures may vary, the proportions do not. Continue reading


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