Tourism statistics: Antigua UP, Barbados DOWN – Why?

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner - now selling!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner – now selling!

Recently published online by Caribbean News Now, hotelier Rob Barrett, the CEO and operator of three hotels on Antigua, (St. James Club, Galley Bay and Verandah Resort and Spa) announced some very encouraging news…

‘The first quarter of 2013, January through March, has been the best quarter in terms of financial results I have experienced since coming to Antigua over 20 years ago, despite lingering and significant global economic challenges in both North America and the UK’.

Attributing some of the growth to, in his words, ‘I believe some of the recent strength is the result of positive changes happening on island which affect visitors’ perceptions from their welcome with improved customs and immigration processing to the more efficient taxi operations. These together provide an overall better arrival experience for visitors’.

Mr. Barrett also commented on ‘more positive Government cooperation as the tourism ministry seems more proactive in so many facets that bring heightened awareness to our island and people’.  Adding “we support the ministry’s efforts to deliver a new, more user friendly website and to work more closely with the private sector’ and ‘Antigua’s Government and Ministry of Tourism seems more progressive and accessible’

Are there any lessons that ‘we’ as a destination (Barbados) can learn from this? 

It would appear so. Antigua recorded an increase of 2.3 per cent in long stay visitors last year, compared with our decline of 5.5 per cent. A more than 7 per cent differential.

For 2013, Mr. Barrett’s three hotels are ‘cautiously optimistic’ that they will ‘see a five to seven per cent increase in summer business, if all of us continue on this path’. Let us hope that this success can spread to the former Almond St. James hotel, now renamed The Club, also part of Elite Islands group that encompasses the three hotels in Antigua.

From a guest perspective, certainly if comments made by those posting reviews on TripAdvisor they appear to have got the product right with one of hotels scoring a higher rating of customer satisfaction than the Sandals property on that island.

A number of industry observers had suggested that I devote this week’s column to the new promotional initiative, branded Barbados Island Inclusive, which was partially unveiled in a media conference on 20th April.  I would rather not comment in detail because frankly I am still a little puzzled. So at this stage I will simply ask some questions:

First, why have the media meeting without divulging full details of the programme?

Large sectors of the industry are left guessing if participation is limited to BHTA members, or open to all tax paying tourism operators.

The reported $11 million cost represents  a staggering 11 per cent of the total budget allocated to the BTA for the current fiscal year.

It’s stated objective is to attract 15,000 ‘additional’ visitors who are predicted to spend $30 million. After the promotional expenses, that’s a projected return of just US$90 per day per person, based on a average stay of 7 nights.

So what is the rationale of speculating such a large amount to attract less than 2.75 per cent of total long stay visitors recorded in 2012, who may outlay 1.5 per cent of the average yearly earnings from the entire tourism sector?

Also what is stopping regular repeat visitors taking advantage of this offer and therefore further reducing anticipated revenue?

Hopefully, everything will become clearer and more transparent, as time goes by.


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

10 responses to “Tourism statistics: Antigua UP, Barbados DOWN – Why?

  1. The Watcher

    I am constantly bothered to my smallest capillary when I see the comparisons made between our(Barbados’) tourism product and that of other places.

    We’ve done nothing significantly different for the last two decades. Simple. While we were resting on our laurels, others were building artificial islands and other attractions to encourage visitors to their shores. So that tourism market which we once enjoyed saw the introduction of some bigger, more well-heeled and more innovative players. And all the wile this was happening around us, we were still doing nothing other than talking!

    Now some folk believe that we should sink our last dollar into this foolishness all over again because of some apparently new “hair-brained” scheme that has been hatched to save the industry.

    Too little too late! Let the chips fall where they may. I want my tax dollars invested in a lower-risk, higher yield market. And that isn’t tourism

    Please stop playing this tune, the rats have all run out of town!

  2. 90

    Dear The Watcher, so if not tourism what do you suggest?

  3. Adrian Loveridge

    Just to set the record straight. David Ellis on Down to Brass Tacks yesterday read an email that visitor arrival comparisons between St. Lucia and Barbados were being distorted by the media.
    Judge yourself – Long stay visitors for the 5 years (inclusive 2008-2912)

    Barbados – DOWN 4.99 per cent
    St. Lucia – UP 7.3 per cent

    Sadly David Ellis did not read this email confirming the CTO figures.

  4. Adrian Loveridge

    Should read (inclusive) 2008-2012

  5. Carson C. Cadogan

    The same reason why your inn is still eight or nine rooms or whatever after all these years in operation.

  6. Carson C. Cadogan

    Adrian, how many stay over visitors St. Lucia and how many stay over visitors

  7. Carson C. Cadogan

    Canadians give Jamaica the cold shoulder in winter

    Published: Friday | June 14, 2013

    Steven Jackson, Business Reporter

    Fewer charters from Canada ebbed total tourist arrivals in the March quarter 2013 to some 540,600 visitors or 2.5 per cent fewer year-on-year.

    If there are more flights in the upcoming winter season, the Canadian market might recover; but if not, the US is showing promising signs of further recovery, says Evelyn Smith, president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA).

    Canadian arrivals, the second-largest tourist group visiting Jamaica, dipped 12 per cent between January and March when compared with the same period in 2012, according to the latest monthly statistics from the Jamaica Tourist Board.

    The decline is significant because Canadian arrivals grew at 18 per cent annually over the last five years, surpassing UK arrivals.

    “There are 20,000 less seats from Canada. Once you have less air seats, then there would be a challenge getting bodies here,” Smith told the Financial Gleaner.

  8. Mike

    Barbados operates within a bubble. Are you guys ready for when it pops?

  9. St George's Dragon

    Adrian, have you seen the World Economic Forum publication on competiveness in tourism?

    Click to access WEF_TT_Competitiveness_Report_2013.pdf

    Too complicated for me. Does it say anything we should note and act on in Barbados?


    VAT up 15% ,,,,, VAT up 2.5% VAT now 17.5% and that is VAT and nothing BUT VAT so help me VAT