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.

Some industry observers have been quick to blame the ongoing Almond Beach Village closure to our current dismal performance, but the facts do not substantiate this is any meaningful way. Even if the hotel was open – based on the same average stay, two persons each room and operating to a 80 per cent occupancy – the very most this could have effected the numbers were 2,798 guests for January and 2,528 for February.

The actual arrival falls were 4,735 in January and 4,874 in February. And this is based on what must be a clearly fallible theory that travel professionals, operators or agents, were not able to switch sell the original hotel of choice to their clients.

So the obvious question is; if potential clients were not accommodated at Almond Beach Village, where did they stay? Or was another holiday destination chosen?

The losses don’t just end at the hotel. Less car rentals, restaurant dining, shopping, excursions and activities, reduced staff hours worked etc, and this all has a dramatic influence of reducing the taxes Government collect.

24 Comments

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24 responses to “Winter ‘high’ season devastatingly bad for tourist arrivals and revenues

  1. sith

    Wait a minute..$709 for one night at a hotel…….wow, you can get a whole week everything included with air fare for about the same price at other
    warm destinations. At this time in the world price is real important for most people and people are realizing it is the same sun you getting in other less expensive destinations.

  2. regular visitor

    ok Adrian…you have just convinced me I need to get into the high profit Barbados hotel buisness…..where can I buy a small hotel to ge me onto the gravy train??

    I will be over in a weeks time…its a shame what is happening, but then if what is said on here tourists are not welcome and can go to lots of other destinations for less and have better service

  3. just want to know

    Barbados have to do a far better job with the criminals when caught, and not just a little slap on the wrist, too much criminal activity upon tourists and locals alike. The judiciary have to work expeditiously, and not wait two or three years for justice to be done.

  4. KNB

    I agree that stronger punishment needs to be handed out to those criminals who prey on tourist. Having been a victim myself, the process to adjudicate was more a burden on me than the accused who confessed to the crime but refused to return the stolen property. It might be worthwhile to look at the correlation that crime in Barbados has to do with the decrease in tourism industry.

  5. Worried

    Hi Regular Visitor,

    Sounds like a BIG gravy train, right? Wait till you see the cost of running the same small hotel. Then you may do like the rest of hoteliers and want to get out or just not be able to reinvest into your product.

  6. Regular Visitor

    @worried…..you obviously dont recognise a tongu in cheek, fun comment when you see one…I have visited bim enough times to see a lot of businesses come and go…..doing buisness in Barbados doesnt look easy…..thats why I holiday there and not invest

    RV

  7. Carson C. Cadogan

    Why is it that The Sandals group which does fabulously well in the market does not depend on Government but far too many of the jokers here in Barbados depend 100% on the Government?

  8. Adrian Loveridge

    Carson, I cannot understand why you are almost always 100 per cent wrong. Many of us do not rely on Government for anything. Least of all for the nearly $1 million YOUR hotel received in Government TIRF (taxpayer) subsidies. Who do you think generated the taxes to pay for that subsidy?

  9. Carson C. Cadogan

    I said that, “but far too many “.

    Either change your glasses or learn to read the English language properly!

    You have chosen to not answer the part about The Sandals group. Also why is Accra Beach Hotel, Crane Beach Hotel , Divi Southwinds just to name a few are doing so well in the same market place while the rest of you just bellyache twenty four seven?

  10. Adrian Loveridge

    You say you are doing so well, but that could be largely due to the taxpayer
    subsidies your hotel has received.

  11. Bajan Abroad

    I could be wrong here but free market principals always are best – especially for the consumer. Oh wait ignore that we are talking about Barbados here – where free market principals end at the dock in the port – the lifeblood of the island. Side note and interesting fact! Do you know that in 2008 when I was there it cost more to get a container from the wharf to the port gate (not including duties) than it cost to get it from the supplier in Guyana to Barbados? How in the he77 could a country with that kind of inefficiency ever hope to compete in the tourism sector long term?

  12. Rastaman

    @Adrian loveridge: Which hotel is Carson Cadogan involved with?

  13. Carson C. Cadogan

    “You say you are doing so well, but that could be largely due to the taxpayer
    subsidies your hotel has received.”

    Really now!!!!!

    Follow the example of Accra Beach Hotel and hire a Marketing, or the Hilton Hotel and hire a Business Travel Sales Manager just to give two examples.

    These people are worth their weight in gold.

  14. Carson C. Cadogan

    …..and stop this constant griping, it doesn’t look good for big people who are supposed to be intelligent

    The emphasis is on “supposed”!.

  15. pomp

    as long as barbados safety for tourists and locals is decreasing the visitor numbers will decrease despite of the loveley location.
    crimes of all sort increase in the last years and keep customers away.
    muggings on the road, north point, boscobel, shootings, stabbings, drug landings, rapes, insults and harrassments all over west coast and south will crash the island reputation more and more and drift in rest of world status again.
    agressive vendors, jetskiterrorists, gangsigns of mara salvatrucha
    will keep people who loved the island once away in future.
    the government attitude to keep significant safety problems secret and silence the local press will ruin the island soon.
    not the worldwide financial crisis is the reason for the missing success
    the local ignorance and impotence is crucial.
    building potential slum areas near the airport is a further step to doom.
    corruption and ignorance spoils the island.
    poor poor island….
    when will the locals start t h e r e v o l u t i o n ?
    maybe they are not hungry now…..
    and its easier to mug customers……
    pomp

  16. Carson C. Cadogan

    “as long as barbados safety for tourists and locals is decreasing the visitor numbers will decrease despite of the loveley location.”

    Not really, you cant want a higher crime rate than Jamaica. Yet Jamaica does really well in the market. Then again Jamaica has more proactive Hotel managers and owners than Barbados, they don’t just sit down and wait for Government to do everything for them like in Barbados.

  17. pomp

    barbados has to suffer and undergo significant losses
    in tourism and trade.
    hotels like almond etc. will be closed and more and more will follow.
    unemployment rate will rise and more crime will be in e v e r y village
    and every house.
    a public rise is needed and not only a hotel managers and owners lobby
    activity.
    honesty and reliability create reputation and not the greenbacks, they
    only rise corruption.
    friendlyness of officials and staff everywhere increase revenues,
    but exactly the opposite is executed more and more.
    20 years ago there was no ignorance, ignorance did develop with the revenue and the profits.
    the bible refers to seven fat and seven poor years,
    I see 70 poor years for the island now.
    maybe english government should be established on the longterm again….

  18. Adrian Loveridge

    Rastaman,
    Carson is always so reluctant to admit which hotel he works for, but I think his job involves begging for Government subsidies.
    Its a fairly large hotel on the South Coast that is currently rated #47 out of 103 Barbadian hotels on TripAdvisor. So clearly he knows what he is doing!!

  19. Carson C. Cadogan

    “maybe english government should be established on the longterm again….”

    I have a real problem with these reckless statements.

    England is no better off than any place in the world. They are grappling with high unemployment, run away crime rate, homelessness, hopelessness, a declining economy, deep cuts in social services, England is in bad shape right now.

    Why do some believe that all one has to do is to re-establish English Gov. or rule and everything will be fine?

    If this was true England would be Utopia.

  20. pomp

    emotions and feelings never leed to prosper targets….
    compare the crime rates of your beloved island to GB figures and learn.
    your comment is an exact example of ignorance and incompetence.
    hint
    look at transparency international figures and rankings and draw your
    target orientated solutions.

  21. Hmm next time???

    @Carson..the UK may not be anywhere near perfect and all the issues you highlight are indeed very true…..but when visitors do visit our shores at least they are made to feel wanted and welcomed, whereas in Bim it seems the majority would prefer to have no visitors

    I love Bim and holiday there twice/three times a year (over fifteen years)….but as each vist ends, I do wonder if it is declining and that maybe its time to look elsewhere

  22. Carson C. Cadogan

    “…..but when visitors do visit our shores at least they are made to feel wanted and welcomed”

    I appreciate your comments, but what you have said is not exactly true. I will just say this, harassment starts in England even before you get pass customs and immigration. Trust me.

    Of course your situation may well be different.

  23. Carson C. Cadogan

    Bahamas work permit crackdown angers big resort

    An attempt to limit the use of foreign workers in the Bahamas came under renewed criticism Wednesday after a U.S. citizen working at the country’s largest resort was briefly detained by immigration agents for having an expired work permit.

    The worker, a sea lion trainer at the Atlantis Resort, was questioned and taken away by agents as she led an exhibition for guests.

    http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=44356

  24. 158

    Likely will be another poor winter. Barbabos is chioatic. It’s just a mess. The S&P and Moody’s says so. There are lots of theft there. The United Nations said so and crime, crime against visiting tourist is out of control. Terry Schwartzfeld and Colon Peter were tourists, just tournist but murdered. Diane Davies and Rachel Turner were tourist, just tourist but brutally raped. Recently (January 2013), a british professor and his wife, tourist, just tourist were both stabed; may see another poor winter in Barbados.

    Barbabados is chioatic, just a mess. Moody’s and the S&P says so. There are lots of theft there (Barbados). The United Nations said so. Violet Beckles provesd it as did Owen Arthur, Mia Mottley, David Thompson too.