Monthly Archives: June 2013

Have Barbados tourism decision-makers simply given up?

Unfortunately the recent bad news in tourism is only exceeded by more bad news.

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner - now selling!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner – now selling!

The bad news is that long stay visitor arrivals have declined in each and every single month over the last consecutive fourteen months. The good news is that in May, the fall was the lowest in that entire period with just 29 less arrivals than the corresponding month last year.

With the end of the only national marketing initiative, Barbados Island Inclusive, we are back again in this massive vacuum of marketing uncertainty. The non tour operator dependent hotels will now be scrabbling around to see what, if any, additional funds they can spend on promoting their properties.

Up until the end of May we were already 16,151 long stay visitors down when compared with the same period in 2012,  and that year was down by 31,421 over 2011.

Some tourism policymakers are predicting that we (Barbados) will end the year ‘flat’ and hopefully that will be proven right. But sadly, the odds are overwhelming against it.  Arrivals would have to average almost  50,000 people each month for the rest of 2013. Especially when you think we have not reached above this target in four out of five months this year, and those included our peak winter months.

Clearly, there appears to be this unscalable wall to any attempts in influencing change in the way we are attempting to do business.

It’s almost as if those in decision-making positions have simply given up.   Continue reading

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Finding Dave Ames’ hidden assets: in Thailand!

Thailand Harlequin Resort Ames

Thailand asset hunt helps secure Asset Freezing Court Order against Dave Ames

Did Richard Haughton hide cash for David Ames?

Primary amongst the big questions asked by fleeced Harlequin investors is “Where did all that money go?”

Thailand-based investigative journalist Andrew Drummond believes he might have found the trail to some of the missing assets – in Thailand companies associated with Richard Haughton, a friend and business partner of David Ames.

How likely is it that when Harlequin took some £500 million in cash that the silver-tongued Ames didn’t squirrel some of that away for himself? Not likely, most folks would say – and Thailand looks good for some of it.  Continue reading

14 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Consumer Issues, Offshore Investments

Should the Barbados Tourism Authority shut down operations in the United States?

usa_flag_waving.jpg

“Dollar for dollar, advertising in overseas markets was proven to generate a higher return on investment than the United States.”

… Canadian Tourism Commission VP talks about cancelling advertising in the USA

Return on Investment lacking for BTA’s efforts in the USA

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner - now selling!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner – now selling!

Last month the Canadian Tourism Commission, the Crown corporation that acts as a national tourism marketing board for that country, announced that it was going to stop advertising in the United States.

I am sure it took many by surprise.

The Ottawa Sun seemed to capture the spirit behind the decision with a bold headline screaming ‘Ottawa no longer wants to waste time and money trying to lure American tourists to the land of moose, mountains and Mounties’.

At first this decision appears to defy any logic – to ignore an immediate neighbour with nine times your own population, a staggering  316 million potential visitors on your doorstep. Among the justfying reasons were that the typical US visitor spent, on average, only US$518  per trip to Canada last year – the lowest amount spent by any international visitor group. By contrast tourists from Brazil spent an average of US$1,874 per trip.

Canadian Tourism Commission vice-president of strategy and corporate communications, Paul Nursey, stated ‘Dollar for dollar, advertising in overseas markets was proven to generate a higher return on investment than the United States’. Since 2000 the share of tourism industry revenue from outside Canada has dropped from 35 per cent of the industry total to just below 19 percent and the decline is largely attributed to diminished travel from the U.S. market.

It got me thinking is there are any parallels with Barbados.

“Traditionally, the United States has always has always received the lion’s share of the annual Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) budget, and frankly I have always found this difficult to understand.”

In the five year inclusive  period  2003 to 2007, we welcomed 654,282* American long stay visitors. From 2008 to 2012 that number had marginally grown to 662,246* or just 7,965 additional people.

To put that in perspective, it only represents around 30 more visitors per week.  Continue reading

19 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Bajan Dreamers heading for the Antarctic! (with a little help from their friends)

Bajan Dreamers Antarctic

Bajan 17 year-olds Mickell Als and Shanice Holder have a dream: visit the Antarctic in 2015 while working to protect the environment.

Both have already been hard at work for years with various environmental and community projects on the rock – and now that they have been selected to be team members on the International Antarctic Expedition (IAE) 2015, all they need is a little help along the way. Cash, that is.

World Electronics in the Bridge Street Mall signed on as their first corporate sponsor, but Mickell and Shanice know it’s going to take more work to raise their mission profile and convince fellow Bajans that theirs is a worthwhile project. We at BFP are convinced that the project will benefit the environment, Barbados and the two young people so we’re on board to help them as we can.

BFP pledges to do regular stories about their project and progress and we’ll also publish some articles from their BajanDreamers blog. And yes, we’ll also do what we can to publicize their other sponsors like World Electronics (who are selling the new BlackBerrys Q10 & Z10 unlocked, for the lowest price we could find.)

Good luck to these two fine young people and… Keep working hard at your goal!

7 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Environment

Barbados Tourism Minister runs from press interview about Tourism Master Plan

Richard Sealy Barbados Tourism Minister

Richard Sealy Barbados Tourism Minister

The Bajan Reporter, Ian Bourne, comments on his latest interview ….

I was at launch of SoCo by St Matthias Rd, and Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy was ribbon cutter, he saw me and asked if I am “going to give trouble…”

I stated once the ceremony’s done, I wanted to interview him briefly on how can there be a Tourism Reinvigoration Plan when the Master Plan is not completed?

Big mistake…

Soon as ribbon cutting was done? Sealy did the 100 metres faster than Yohan Blake, Tyson Gay & Usain Bolt combined! I have to do like them and lie, then LIE in wait for their hasty departure…

I said this to say Sealy is a poor Minister and the only difference between him and a parrot is their plumage and what they squawk.

Read Ian Bourne’s original comment here.

Visit The Bajan Reporter

13 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Politics

Future Centre Trust – Green Noise forum about solid waste management

Barbados Future Centre Trust

Future Centre Trust

Green Noise (A public forum which will inform our advocacy on solid waste management)

When: Wednesday June 26, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Where: Guardian General Insurance Recreational Room

Facilitated by Kammie Holder, FCT Board member and the FCT team.

Facebook event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/291541624316003/

Our focus:

If “green” is the new buzzword…what does that really mean in Barbados?

Littering….air,water, soil quality….What do we in Barbados see as the most pressing environmental and therefore economical problems?

What “green” solutions do we need to focus on in Barbados?

Should we be “mekkin noise” individually about an issue rather than collectively voicing, documenting AND acting towards solutions?

Really though…we are asking YOU!

The Future Centre Trust wants to hear from you about how we should move forward as an organization as we ALL “Step Towards a Greener Barbados”.

This listening session will inform our advocacy for the pending Solid Waste Management Act.

We look forward to hearing from you! If you can’t make it, please be sure to email us your comments beforehand.

Kind Regards,

Future Centre Trust

1 Comment

Filed under Barbados, Environment

Questions about former Harlequin associate David Campion

Editor’s note: With the collapse of so many large scale, foreign-owned projects in Barbados in the last few years, Bajans are understandably cynical about any new projects. And when a former Harlequin employee sets up shop, some folks naturally want to ask how much they knew about Harlequin and when they knew it.

This article by BFP reader Due Diligence is tough on David Campion and Argo Development Studio. If Mr. Campion desires to comment or reply, we will print his unedited response right here and give him full coverage. Could Mr. Campion himself be more of a victim of Dave Ames than a participant? We’d like to hear his side of the story.

Take it away, Due Diligence…

Harlequin’s collapse produces growth industry of ex-employees setting up for themselves

How much did David Campion know, and when did he know it?

by Due Diligence

I read the article “Move to revive construction” in the June 21 edition of the Nation

A LOCAL DEVELOPER has invested just over $60 000 with the aim of helping to revive the island’s anaemic construction industry.

David Campion, managing director of Argo Development Studio, told a group of engineers, architects, interior designers and other industry players that the time was “perfect” for his new design and development management company. He said that it was poised to provide “world-class” service while offering opportunities for those in the industry to operate.

Being curious as to how David Campion, MD of Argo Development Studio will help to revive the island’s anaemic construction industry, Due Diligence decided to visit ADS website at http://argo-ds.com/#

The website is very slick and glossy – worthy of Harlequin. If you close your eyes while playing the videos in the Film tab you can imagine the speaker to be Dave Ames, who may have written the script.

This is from the Home Page…

corporate + social responsibility

Our teams work with local industry, creating a strong bond between our projects and community. We work closely with Governments to ensure we preserve the natural beauty of the environments we develop in. We engage with the community through outreach programs and sponsorship to charities, schools and sports clubs.

We connect our organization to the wider industry worldwide through building strong connections both inside and outside the organization.

WOW – working with Governments, community outreach, sponsoring charities, worldwide reach.

In the Projects tab is a list of projects for which MD Campion claims to have been involved are five public sector projects in Ireland. Of more interest is the three private sector projects the MD of Argo Development Studio claims to have worked while working with hdstudio (Harlequin).

Buccament Bay Resort – Contract Value (Phase 1) US$120 million
H Barbados – Contract Value US$28 million
Marquis Estates – Budget US$250 million

Strangely, no claim to have worked on that highly successful project The Merricks.

In Greek mythology the ARGO was the ship on which Jason and the Argonauts sailed to retrieve the Golden Fleece. Having worked for Dave Ames at hdstudio, Dave Campion will be totally familiar with the concept of seeing Ames fleecing people of their money (even if he was not involved in the sales end himself.)

Help to revive the island’s anaemic construction industry? This whole thing screams of SCAM.

It is time for Immigration to rescind Campion’s work permit, if he has one, before he does serious damage to the island’s anaemic construction industry.

Due Diligence

12 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues