Hotels and Resorts Part Two? Barbados government to purchase Almond Beach Village Resort – Government will compete against private tourist hotels

2013 Almond Barbados

Facility: Almond Beach Village Resort, St. Peter, Barbados

Location: Between a rock and a hard place.

Current condition: Closed, shopworn, A real ‘fixer-upper’, Needs much more than paint to be restored to even a 3 star status

Well, we almost can’t blame the government for wanting to do anything to open Almond Beach Village Resort again. The whole thing is so embarrassing when an apparently vibrant and heavily marketed resort closes down because of inadequate tourists and no profits.

But is this government purchase really part of a solution to our tourism and economic woes… or is it more of the same?

We don’t lack for tourist beds on this rock, we lack tourists to fill them. Almond Beach Village is a “mass market” resort that has to move the people in and move them out in great numbers to make any money. But the place was so run down with tourists swimming in their own sewerage that at the end even cut rate pricing couldn’t attract folks. That’s what happens when you feed off of an asset without maintaining it. It’s like when people don’t change the oil in their auto engines: you can save a fortune on oil changes and maintenance, but only for a year or two and then your car is junk.

Government might be better off to save the money and put it into serious efforts to upgrade our whole tourism product across the board. We have lots of empty beds at operating resorts. We should be trying to fill those first before the government goes into competition with privately owned hotels.

Adrian Loveridge will undoubtedly have something to say about this.

Previous BFP articles

April 16, 2013 – Harlequin and Almond disasters show we’re great at spin

April 2, 2012 – Almond Resorts: Failing because of poor TripAdvisor reviews?

The Nation News: Government to buy Almond Beach

Government has indicated its intention to purchase Almond Beach Village in St Peter and put it back into operation in the shortest time possible.

A press release from the Barbados Tourism Investment (BTi) stated that Government was not in a position to divulge the full details of the agreement as they are still in the final stages of negotiation with Almond Resorts International, the current owners of the property.

A press release today stated that this latest development would allow the 400 rooms at the Almond Beach Village to be put back in operation in a manner that will positively impact our tourist arrivals in 2014. “The increased number of bed-nights will also go a long way in assisting Barbados to achieve a targeted five per cent increase in visitor arrivals for 2014”.

25 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

25 responses to “Hotels and Resorts Part Two? Barbados government to purchase Almond Beach Village Resort – Government will compete against private tourist hotels

  1. Pingback: Hotels and Resorts Part Two? Barbados government to purchase Almond Beach Village Resort – Government will compete against private tourist hotels | Barbados Blog !

  2. A policy holder

    What bloody nonsense. The Government of Barbados is not too far from being broke, preaching austerity and unable to pay its bills. The Barrack matter UN settled, $50,000,000.00. The Clico matter, UNTOLD MILLIONS, and many many more unsettled accounts, and they are talking about buying Almond Beach Village. I saw on Face Book a picture of a skeleton with its head between its thighs. Skeketon Claimed to be of the first politician, with head up its ass! Have things changed?

  3. Adrian Loveridge

    Successive Governments (both parties) have graphically demonstrated that they have absolutely no proven track record in owning and operating hotels.
    The systematic predatory pricing practised by GEMS (Hotels and Resorts Ltd) over a decade is probably the single biggest self made negative contributor to the current condition of our private sector hotel industry.
    Imagine if the quoted losses made by GEMS of BDS$300 to $400 million had been put into creative marketing and soft loans for refurbishment, what a difference would have been made to the present crisis.
    We have already lost over 40,000 airline seats so far this year and this is far more than could ever fill a re-opened ABV. For fourteen consecutive months (including the critical 4 months of the winter) we have witnessed a decline in long stay visitor arrivals EVERY single month. Depending on the time it takes to get ABV re-opened, the very last thing we need at the moment is to add to the dismal occupancy being experienced by many of our private sector hotels. This would only compound the losses and take us even further away from upgrading and re-position existing room stock.
    Plus, WHO will manage and operate the hotel? Another Government entity that doesn’t publish its accounts and is headed by a lawyer or other political crony with no proven track record of achievement.
    We cannot go on rewarding people for failure just because they are politically connected.
    Only last week the Minister of Tourism stood up in a public forum and stated ‘If we had to be perfectly honest, St. Lucia is at least 30 years behind Barbados in terms of tourism…. that’s the reality’.

    As I suggested to PM Kenny Anthony when he contacted me last Sunday, I would STRONGLY suggest that Minister Sealy is sent an invitation to St. Lucia to see from himself just what ‘REALITY’ is!

  4. Sith

    The problem of not having enough tourist arrivals is related to value for money and value for money has some interesting connections. Barbados, by having a currency fixed to the US$, has the strongest currency in the world so for visitors it simply gets more expennsive to spend their currencies in Barbados rather than other places. Having foreign exchange controls also means there is no open market to trade Barbados dollars for US$ that are needed to do updates on the tourist prouduct. It is further complicated by government defecits. All monies spent in Barbados have a trickle out effect on foreign exchange. It is a catch 22 situation. There is a gradual detoriation of foreign exchange reserves at a time when massive foreign exchange is needed to pay for the items need to update the tourist product.

    Lots of US$ are needed to update the tourist product. Where is it going to come from?

  5. NYCBGI

    What a misstep. when Divi Hotels operated it if was a fair and dismal attempt that ultimately failed and then Ralph took it over but did not do much better. Part of the problem for the Government to acquire the property and then try to sell it to an hotel operator to manage. They dont have a clue since the island is thirsty for tourist, the BTA is 10 years behind in their playbook and to think ST Lucia is 30 years behind BGI tells the story. Go take a look and discover the real world of tourism and how other destinations are coping with the economic downturn but also visit how island gambling has made the difference since the BTA has failed to go after the Meeting and Conference market. .

  6. GreenMonkey

    Bit off topic, but for those who might have missed it, see the letter to the editor in today’s Sunday Advocate by a former repeat, female visitors from Canada saying she won’t be back again after witnessing sundry, public vulgarities taking place in last year’s crop over events. Maybe we should start advertising our crop over events as G (at least the Kiddies Kadooment should still qualify), PG-13, R and from the sounds of this letter, it might be time to advertise some events as XXX.

    The letter concludes:

    I could go on and on with the disturbing things I saw. I happened to be with a large group of tourists who were very surprised and said a lot of negative things, which I would not be able to repeat here. I was also next to a family who had brought their children to view this and were appalled at what their children were watching. They left.

    I have been to many Caribbean and other countries festivals and I have to say that Barbados is over the top. It is not at all what it was meant to be. What disturbs me most is that I believe that the majority of the Bajan people don’t think this behaviour is abnormal. To teach our children, especially the girls, that they should act this way and dress this way is really shameful. We need to be letting them know that their minds, hearts and souls are so important. That is who they are, not their clothing and private body parts.

    I left Barbados telling myself that this world is full of very special and beautiful places and I think that instead of coming back to Barbados I will use that time and that money to visit other places. I feel it is important for the people of Barbados to know why some tourists are not coming back or not coming at all.

    http://www.barbadosadvocate.com/newsitem.asp?more=letters&NewsID=31420

  7. A policy holder

    Initially my posting that the Government’s purchase of the ABVR was bloody nonsense may be tempered if their action is based on the following happening! The millions for the purchase and restoration come from China and the work is done Chinese workers. Standard loan conditions by the Chinese. Then the Government secure a contract with Butch Stewart of Jamaica to operate the now ex-ABVR as either a SANDALS or BEACHES. This sort of arrangement with Stewart is quite common and very workable as he does promise and produce a return on investment,

    The Government have already proved they cannot run an hotel. GEMS is the singularly largest loss making effort by Government. The tax payers need another like a hole in the head!

  8. 169

    As a frequent business visitor to BGI as of last August the Hilton
    still did not have WiFi in the rooms. I understand it is government
    owned. Enough said.

  9. St George's Dragon

    So they clearly learned nothing from GEMS.
    It is not the job of the Government to set up in competition to its own indigenous industry; it is Government’s job to make it possible for the private sector to function properly and do profitable business.
    The problem is not a lack of hotel rooms; we have enough of them already running at low occupancy.
    The money should have gone into something which would help existing businesses. $100 million would do a lot for existing hotels if it was paid out as tax relief for refurbishments.

  10. iabingy

    it used to belong to the government before did it not/?
    remember Harewards or something so it was called and it failed then.
    try again????????

  11. GreenMonkey

    As a frequent business visitor to BGI as of last August the Hilton
    still did not have WiFi in the rooms.

    Maybe the Hilton can use that lack of WiFi in their rooms as a selling point to prospective guests.

    Open letter by UK medical doctors: Health and safety of Wi-Fi and mobile phones

    We wish to highlight our concern over the safety of exposure to microwave radiation from wireless technology, particularly for vulnerable groups like children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with compromised health.

    There is growing concern that chronic (long-term) exposure to radiofrequency/microwave radiation from wireless technologies causes damage, particularly genetic damage, cognitive damage, cancer and decreased fertility. There is now substantial evidence of a link between mobile phone use and brain cancer. This was recognised by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)’s 30-strong panel of scientists, which in 2011 classed radiofrequency radiation as “possibly carcinogenic”.

    Additionally, doctors are encountering a significant and growing number of people presenting with a range of acute (short-term) symptoms from wireless radiation, including headaches, palpitations, rashes, fatigue, sleep disturbance, allergies and memory and concentration problems.

    International medical agencies have recognised the evidence of harm (see appended list) but these rulings may take many years to be reflected in public health policy. This controversy is a common characteristic of scientific understanding when environmental exposures are new.

    http://www.activistpost.com/2013/07/uk-medical-doctors-call-for-immediate.html

  12. tedd

    heywoods was designed to be ggovernment owned and leased out to private sector hotel management firms, just like hilton hotel.

    that model works

  13. just want to know

    The administration going to use our NIS money to buy a failed hotel, and run it themselves? Why didn’t the private sector have the privilege of getting the property? What a waste again of taxpayers money!!! Soon we will end up like Antigua who can’t give the pension to their pensioners in a timely manner, some none at all for months.

  14. 237

    We have people and organizations in Barbados that know how to run hotels that will attract tourists. The Crane Beach is but one example. The government is not one of those organizations. By the time we get finished with the graft, the courtesy rooms for officials, and the higher purchase price rates will have to be so high that the tourists wont be able to afford it.

  15. calypso lover

    If the government cannot even afford to repair the side walk and coast road leading into Speightstown from Almond Beach Hotel (which is crumbling into the sea and is very dangerous and has been in this state for 3 years) how do they propose purchasing a decaying hotel?? Almond Beach guests have been forced to walk in the road because of this neglected state of affairs. However, tourists just don’t seem to matter in Barbados…..

  16. NYCBGI

    When are they the BTA going to wake up,. from the time it was open as Heywoods and under the management of a European chain and that fizzled and the property have been on the downturn since, Ralph and Monte tried but without a firm grip of dealing with the global expanse that was rapidly developing. Trying to half step operating a major hotel/resort where they had a slight government backing that the Hilton was given, was given and that was minimum. Chinese buying it is a joke. .

  17. Pat Hutchison

    We have spent 15 years visiting ABV – took the whole family sometimes! Still grieving! Government Buy It! Keep it mid price and you must succeed! We have not been back since closure because everything else is either so expensive or badly placed. ABV brilliant spot on the West Coast,. Speightstown wonderful local town, water safe, port next door, Why they closed it we will never know. We want to know if you re-open it! The old staff need their jobs!

  18. Kev Giles

    I visit Barbados every year in Feb and I love it. But…
    The hotels of Barbados have out priced themselves to the normal tourist. There are many pretty places in the world that are better and cheaper than Barbados. The problem is investment. How many people visit the island every year?
    Why not charge $50 entry fee. The people that are still coming will pay it as its only the rich or airline staff that come now. The $50 should be reinvested in refurbishing tourist areas. Take the Gap, it was in better shape 20 years ago. No investment really has gone into the public area.
    As for ABV they deserved to go bust. They were charging way too much for a family of four for the week. Elegent hotels is the same. How can I justify £5000 British pounds for 5 of us to stay for a week?
    The island now only caters for the rich and the normal tourist have gone to other cheaper destinations that are in better shape.
    All of the unemployed should be mucking in to make Barbados a place to be proud of in the future. Mending roads and pavements. Paint and washing down walls. Sweeping and grass cutting. Guys trust me, other tourist destination are doing this and your island is already suffering.
    Crime, Poverty and crime go hand in hand this is a downward spiral for Barbados. The government needs to borrow and spend in the right areas.
    This will be an investment on tourism and bring people back to the island again.

  19. If Barbados reduced their Hotel prices may be more people would go the this English type Island. Instead they go to Cuba, Dom Republic as the prices are much more reasonable.
    Come on Barbados get real and reduced you prices to bring back the tourist.

    Janice UK

  20. Adrian Loveridge

    Janice, sadly its not quite as simple as just reducing prices. When you are forced to absorb unbudgeted increases of 70 per cent (electricity) 50 per cent (land taxes) 62 per cent (water) 16.6 per cent (VAT) and many other taxes imposed on what our visitors consume, it is difficult to hold prices. In 25 years, our small hotel has only ever put up room rates three times. If operating a hotel was so profitable then 37 more that have closed over the last 20 years, might still be open.

  21. Kev Giles

    Don’t the Government realise that forcing price hikes onto tourism is shooting their economy in the foot?
    My family of 5 are really going to miss the island this February as we are heading to Dubai and staying at Atlantis for 7 days cheaper than I can stay in Barbados at Turtle, Crystal etc.
    All-inclusive needs to be dropped and the Hotels should only pay VAT on food and drinks that they sell. As long as the savings are being passed on to encourage tourism the Vat we raise again as the tourists flood in.
    The government needs to give discount to hoteliers for water, electric etc. Seeing as they are generating cash for the Island.

  22. E.J.Langley

    I have been to Barbados a lot, but since I am a widower I have to pay a single supplement which can be nearly as much as a couple. Surely it is
    better to have one person instead of none, Bring single person supplement down and hopefully you will get more single people to enjoy youre island.

  23. Pingback: Almond Beach Village St. Peter Barbados |

  24. Anonymous

    It used to be a lovely hotel 20 years ago

  25. NYCBGI

    STOP AND NOW LOOK HOW TO SALVAGE THE DISMAL TOURISM ESPECIALLY FROM THE U.S. NOW THAT CUBA IS OPEN. I PREDICTED , SEVERAL YEARS AGO THAT THE BTA NEEDS TO ADDRESS THAT IT WILL HAPPEN. MY SUGGESTION TO THE BTA WAS TO DEVELOP A MEETING AND CONVENTION THRUST NOT ONLY TO INCREASE TOURISM BUT TO BUILD A SOLID ECONOMIC FOUNDATION TO THE TOURISM COMPONENT. I WAS TOLD OH NO WE CAN ADDRESS THAT SEGMENT OURSELVES AND TODAY THE BTA STILL HAVE NO CLUE. BGI AND OTHER WARM WILL PRICE THEMSELVES OUT OF THE MARKET ONCE CUBA REALLY GETS UP AND RUNNING, LOOK AT THEIR RATES NOW MANY AS LOW AS $19.00 UP. THE PM AND ELECTED OFFICIALS BETTER WAKE UP AND NOT WORRY ABOUT COMPETING BY BUYING THE OLD RUNDOWN DIVI PROPERTIES BUT ADDRESS THE DEMISE OF NORTH AMERICAN TOURISM AS IT USED TO BE..