Loveridge: Barbados offers good value for long-stay visitors

barbados-beach

We should be telling people about this!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner.

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner.

Analysis of the first nine months of 2013 in terms of long stay visitor arrivals confirms that while all major markets experienced substantial declines, the most resilient and therefore least impacted was the United Kingdom with a 2.9 percent fall when compared with the same period in 2012.

When so many discussions have taken place regarding the negative effects of the dreaded APD (Advanced Passenger Duty), some may find this 2.9 percent fall surprising. But on the other hand to maintain balance and fairness, is credit due to the BTA staff in London and the private sector tourism sector on Barbados for stepping up to the plate, despite all the fiscal challenges, to minimise the overall decline in arrivals?

It is often vaunted that the typical British visitor stays longer and spends more money, and that perhaps these attributes are where we should be spending more of the precious available marketing funds to cultivate at this time.

Politically, we know that the volume of numbers is often all-important, but should ‘we’ currently be focusing on the bottom line in terms of the overall value contribution our visitors are making?

With the recent appointment of a new British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, is it time to hopefully sit down with her (Mrs. Victoria Glynis Dean) and explore ways that we can influence and entice additional UK residents to our shores? Not just from a holidaymaker’s point of view, but increased trade delegations, sporting and common interest groups and the like.

While the very last objective is to further reduce airlift capacity to/from Gatwick and Manchester with existing carriers, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways, I still believe there is further scope for limited target charters from airports like Belfast where a ZERO rate of APD applies to long haul routes. Also we should be examining cruise and stay programmes where extra numbers can be generated from areas like Glasgow, Edinburgh and London’s third airport, Stansted.

Having also recently returned from a short break in the Florida Keys after eight days in England, we have to make a much better job of emphasizing our value-for-money. Very few, if any, resorts on Barbados that I am aware of impose a mandatory 18 per cent service charge –  a resort charge of US$20 per day, in addition to the customary sales tax (VAT), of between 7.5 and 12.5 per cent.

Yet the Brits are flocking in their increased numbers to the United States and especially to Florida where this compulsory added charge is common.

Certainly, in my personal experience, our tourism offering prices on Barbados compare very favourably with that American state and without doubt the culinary experiences here are largely a high higher and more delectable standard.

Yes! APD also applies on Florida flights from the UK, but the differential is only GBPounds 22 on return economy fares, which spread over a two week holiday would hardly determine final destination choice.

Some months ago, the issuance of an APD discount voucher to this market was announced, but again not implemented. But, judging by recent airline seat sales offering flights during the peak winter months of January, February and March of 2014, I somehow think our limited financial resources can be better spent.

34 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

34 responses to “Loveridge: Barbados offers good value for long-stay visitors

  1. Anonymous

    The majority of Brits go to Florida for the shopping and low food costs. Barbados has nothing even remotely similar to offer.

  2. Anonymous

    And neither of the Belfast airports can accommodate large planes

  3. A. Tourist

    I bet if you offered the average Brit the choice between Barbados or Miami, most would choose Barbados. Brits get plenty of good shopping at home and do not go on holiday to buy the cheap rubbish you find in Miami and would probably only look to tour the shops on a rainy day when the beach is out of the question.

    It was good to see an advert for a Barbados hotel on the front page of the Guardian on Saturday – a (mostly read by the middle classes) national UK newspaper, first time I have ever seen that – and guess what, it was for Sandals Barbados. Nice to see that their marketing people are doing their bit

  4. Adrian Loveridge

    anonymous,

    Absolutely NOT true.
    Belfast International has in the past and continues to be able to handle B747 aircraft.
    United/Continental currently operates a B757-200 (which has a range of 4,488 miles) Belfast/Newark.
    Belfast/Barbados is 4,059 miles.
    ZOOM Airlines operated B767-300ER aircraft Belfast/Vancouver.
    FlyGlobeSpan flew Belfast/Orlando and from 23 May 2014 Thomas Cook will fly this route.

  5. Adrian Loveridge

    On 10 July 2009 a Thomas Cook A330-200 (OY-VKF) enroute from Belfast to Orlando made an emergency land at Norfolk VA with engine problems. The A330-200 has a range of 8,285 miles with 246 passengers.

  6. Kevin

    Bajan living in Canada here. Was at the dentist and the dental technician was talking about her Caribbean cruise. She did not know I was from Bim at the time. Two things she said which struck me. 1. Barbados had by far the most aggressive people out of all the islands. Especially on the beach. 2. Barbados had nothing unique to offer in the way of purchases. Same stuff in all the islands just repackaged. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  7. Dreamer

    “Food more delectable.” Have you eaten at the average place in Barbados – It is very expensive for the quality of food. Why do you think most hotels and restaurants with all of this delectable food are void of the average local; it is price. A business will not sustain itself in Barbados or any where if the average person cannot afford any of it’s services

  8. Adrian Loveridge

    Dreamer, May I ask where you live, because from someone who travels often I don’t necessarily find Barbados expensive for eating out. Even though it is an island and most items have to be imported. I have recently returned from the Florida Keys and the restaurant prices were at least as ‘expensive’ (18 per cent mandatory service charge, plus sales tax) as Barbados. And the quality here on Barbados is much better. Frankly, I don’t want to travel thousands of miles to eat frozen chips and vegetables, poor quality hamburgers and alike.

  9. A.F.

    I think the service charge really annoys English people who are not used to paying it. They prefer to decide whether a gratuity is deserved and would only pay it if they have received good service and decent food. In that case they would probably leave a 10% gratuity in cash to ensure it went to the staff. In Barbados and the US they add service charge and also expect a tip on top, and that combination could add almost a quarter to the basic cost of a meal. Of course part of the problem, especially in the US, is that restaurant staff are paid pitifully low wages and desperately need tips to earn a living wage. I believe I am right in saying that restaurant owners in the US can pay below the statutory minimum wage on the expectation that the difference will be made up in tips.

  10. @ Adrian “Cobweb at the Airport’ Loveridge

    Bajans including myself really have short memories. Some things came out in the wash with a very recent re-posting by Barbados Underground that show there are two Adrian Loveridges in Barbados. One Adrian , back in 2010 condemned tourism players who took bailout money and misused it , including the buying of a luxury boat with the money. That Adrian would have killed for David Thompson.

    The other Adrian , who hates the guts of Freundel Stuart, is now calling for Government to give some of the same vagabonds concessions similar to what Butch Stewart is promised.

    How on earth can you have two people with the same name being diametrically opposed to each other on the same topic?

    Here are some of the postings which were made back in 2010 which caught my eye.

    Bosun | September 28, 2010 at 10:47 PM |

    This comes as no surprise to me. Many of these Hotel Owners are the same people who squeezed the sugar industry dry, after receiving subsidy after subsidy and loans from the government,and fled, investing their money in hotels. Now the government and the taxpayers of this country has been kicked in the arse once more.
    I am still waiting to hear a report on the Old Garrison Barracks near TGI Fridays,can’t recall the name , that was given a lot of duty-free concessions to open up as a conference centre,only to be closed a few months after. Word was that this project was used as a ploy to refurbish a nearby hotel owned by the same people. We will never learn.

    Adrian Loveridge | September 24, 2010 at 7:05 AM |
    David | September 24, 2010 at 6:43 AM |
    This is indeed worrying information if* true. Adrian can you confirm?
    Did the owners of the hotel receive tax dollars as relief and despite it all the hotel was closed, moreover the owners have been able to purchase a luxury boat?

    Adrian Loveridge
    David,
    Sadly, I cannot confirm because a list of those tourism entities that benefited from the Tourism Industry Relief Fund was never (to the best of my knowledge). published.
    I do know a number of hotels did recieve TIRF monies.
    This in my opinion is fundamentally wrong.
    When taxpayers monies are used to subsidise
    businesses, this is being generated by profitable entities and they have the right to know where this money is being dispersed.
    A full list SHOULD have been printed in the newspapers.
    P & Q did not apply for TIPF funds because we operate a small, well run and profitable business.
    Its almost like Hotels and Resorts(GEMS) again. Prop them up with taxpayers monies and then allow them to practice predatory pricing to destroy our accommodation sector.
    31 hotels closed over 16 years. No other Caribbean country with the exception of Haiti can ‘boast’ that!

    The Scout | September 28, 2010 at 11:03 PM |

    It seems that these people are trying the same thing that the business people in U.S.A did to Obama; take the stimulus money and refused to plough it into the business but instead paid out big bonuses and still sent home staff. We have to plug this gap because it Silver Sands is allowed to get away with that, other businesses would follow.

    The full story and comments are covered at the below url:-

    https://bajan.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/silver-sands-hotel-closes-after-receiving-753047-85-in-government-relief/

  11. Observer

    I had a moving experience recently whilst visiting Toronto, where I found myself in conversation with a couple who was visiting Barbados for the 8th time. They mentioned the fact that they always enjoy coming to Barbados despite it’s cost. They come and stay at the same hotel, where they said they are greeted like family and are known by name. To this family Barbados is their second home.

    I strongly believe it speaks volumes to a destination, where the rate of return visitors is as high as Barbados’ is. Simply put it means that despite the cost attached to a vacation in Barbados, persons generally believe that they are getting quality for their money. The family I alluded to was not by any means wealthy, bu state they would budget for a year or so to make the week in the sun possible (not on one occasion but on numerous occasions over the years)

    This is not a one off encounter. On another occasion whilst in the UK I met a tour guide at a museum who on recognizing my accent as being Barbadian felt a sense of joy and started telling me of his plans for his annual trip to Barbados later that fall. I am certain this is not unique to me and I could easily recall at least 5 similar experiences.

    At the same time it becomes apparent to me that attracting new tourists is a problem. The fact that we are able to have people return time after time suggests that the problem isn’t with the destination but rather how it is marketed. I will admit I have not been able to analyze the current marketing campaigns by the BTA but I believe advertisements with a personal slant would go a far way. A campaign along the lines of “this is why i come to Barbados” featuring 30 – 45 second clips which highlights one aspect of a Barbadian vacation which that return visitor finds enjoyable may help to make Barbados more attractive as a destination.

    As relates to the experience cruise passengers get when visiting Barbados, (as mentioned by Kevin) that in itself is a discussion of its own. I suspect it is somewhat difficult to impress a tourist that come to Barbados for 12 hours or so. During that time, the instinctive for tour operators to do is to try to do stuff that one would expect tourist to want to do…That is, tours, and beach excursions whilst packing in some shopping. The fact that its instinctive means our Caribbean neighbors will seek to do the same. Ironically, I do not believe its our traditional tourist spots that bring people back. It is the simple experience of peace of mind and relaxation that we offer. I welcome the planned Sugar Point Cruise terminal and believe it was go far in impressing cruise tourists. Similarly, the beautification projects currently in progress in Bridgetown will act to make Bridgetown as a destination more attractive and memorable.

    I agree whole heartedly when it is said that Barbados is a quality place to vacation and by extension, a quality place to live. The veil of negativity that has overcome us as a country prevents us from seeing what the country has to offer but I suggest we make an effort to see beyond it. Barbados is certainly not flawless, but evidently to many it is worth the while and cost to return.

  12. Barbados’ biggest problem in tourism is the hoteliers who aren’t prepared to modernize their way of doing business.Over the years they have done nothing to promote the island as a tourist destination. They are the ones who are most vocal now that Sandals has started operations in Barbados. All along their mouthpiece, Adrian Loveridge has been full of praise for the growing numbers of long stay visitors to St. Lucia and has been critical of the Barbados Government of doing nothing to improve the situation here. Now that Sandals has been given the green light to start up operations in Barbados, Loveridge and company are screaming their heads off. St. Lucia has three Sandals i.e Sandals Halcyon Beach All Inclusive, Sandals La Toc Golf Resort and Spa and Sandals Grande St. Lucia Spa and Beach Resort. Butch Stewart does not give of his services free like the Salvation Army. He provides a top-of-the-line service at a price i.e concessions. . Yes, every Caribbean Government has to give him concessions if they want his product. St. Lucia is no exception. The St.Lucia Hotel and Tourism Authority has embraced Sandals with the concessions given to them. Why can’t the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Authority do the same? Adrian Loveridge your slip is showing big time.

    Sandals Exuma, Bahamas , which Sandals leases, is in financial trouble and Sandals is playing hardball with the Government. This is an extract from their press release ‘The difficulties we are facing can be solved with a determined resolve and a prompt and creative approach to ensure sustainability,” the release stated without going into the hotel’s financial position.

    “We are by no means seeking a bailout. What we have done is to put the situation squarely to the government and asked them to investigate ways in which they can work with us to bring some respite to the impossible economic environment we are facing in the family island,” it said.
    The release also hinted that Sandals expects a positive response from the Christie administration.

    “So far, we have been encouraged by the response of the government which recognises the problems as well as the need for government and investors, such as Sandals, to work together to arrive at a model to enable quality sustainable tourism to operate and grow in The Bahamas.”

    The chain noted that over 1,400 full-time employees were engaged at resorts in the islands, including the Sandals Royal Bahamian, Fowl Cay and Sandals Emerald Bay.is in financial The other hotels in every Caribbean country where there is a Sandals presence, co-exist with Sandals and enjoy the benefits derived from the level of Sandals marketing.

    Adrian Loveridge will never know what these concessions are but he will continue to marvel at the 1.5 million stay over arrivals while writing on Tripadvisor, Barbados Underground, Caribbean News Now and Barbados Free Press, criticizing the concessions given to Sandals Barbados.

  13. I am of the view that tourism is far too important to our economy for most of us to continue to talk while doing little or nothing to help improve or promote the industry.
    For the past 6 months I have been fortunate to be part of a team doing research on the industry,
    We recently launched a Tv channel on Roku, an IPTV provider serving several million households worldwide.
    With the support of industry players we hope to help promote Barbados and the Caribbean the the rest of the world.

    Our channel: Destination Caribbean “DCTV” on Roku.
    Website: http://www.destinationcaribbean.tv
    Email: info@destinationcaribbean.tv

  14. Anonymous

    I have been looking at buying a holiday home in barbados. I found a place that ticked all the boxes for me and would be great for friends and family as well. Im looking to stay in barbados from october to march to get away from the cold of the uk. The other six months of the year i would be letting my family stay. We would spend plenty of money in the local bars and restaurants etc. Im the perfect long stay individual.

    So i agreed a price on the property and instructed a local lawyer to get the wheels turning. so far so good.

    I then contacted the Barbados High Commission in london to get details of how i apply to stay for six months at a time. The shock of how they handled what should be a very simple request has left me wondering what the hell is happening in that building. Words can not really convey how poor the service is.

    My point is this. The person who picks up the phone at the Barbados High Commission in london or anywhere else in the world needs to be professional and intelligent and be able to deal with requests in a manner fitting a high Commission posting. They need to help barbados attract long stay individuals who bring in much needed foreign currency. I love Barbados and i will complete my purchase and will, god willing sort out my long stay paperwork.

    Maybe if they had that paperwork at the High commission and would be willing to help you fill it in would be a good idea! “Sorry i was dreaming for a minute, forgive me”.

  15. @barbadostripadvisor.com

    Unfortunately racism in Barbados is preached and practiced by people who appear to be white when young but in their old age they turn yellow. The reason for this is that they are not genuinely white. Some of them are members of the BHTA . They are a frustrated lot. They go to the Archives looking for their European roots but leave disappointed when they discover that only half of their family tree is European. The other half is negro. They can’t find a name nor a date of birth of the first maternal parent of their ancestry beyond 1833 i.le when slavery was abolished. This is due the English white man forcing the female black slaves to have sex with them , resulting in mixed race offspring. As time progressed , these mixed race people gravitated towards their white parent’s family and in some cases married them, ending up with 3/4 white children. Try as hard as they like, the offspring cannot destroy the negroid gene and this is what causes them to be frustrated , hostile, abusive and in some cases suicidal. I know of one such case of a South coast hotelier who even hated his siblings because they appeared “whiter than he”. . I still hope that his soul rests in peace. What a life for anyone to live!!

  16. Anonymous

    @Sealy
    Congratulations, that post really advanced the debate! What we need right now is more racism.
    Your colours are now visible for all to see, your hatred of Adrian has nothing to do with his views, it is all about his colour!
    I have no idea what colour you are and am not in the slightest interested but what concerns me is that you continue to spout this racist nonsense and blame all of Barbados troubles on colour.
    The colour of a persons skin has absolutely no bearing on his character.

  17. Anonymous

    @Anonymous
    I have recently gone through the same and my deal is nearing completion.
    If you think that the High Commission is bad, just wait until you have to deal with the banks,immigration and Light and Power! You WILL lose the will to live!
    Regarding long stay, Google Special Entry Permits!

  18. @Anonymous

    You actually took my response out of context and accuse me of showing my colours. Did you see the posting to which I was responding? No , you couldn’t have seen it because it said some of the nastiest things about Bajan blacks and was deleted presumably by the blogmaster. Ask him to repost it and then you would see that my response was the correct one from a mixed race Bajan.

  19. @ Anonymous
    I didn’t know that I would have gotten under your skin where you should find red blood like all other human beings. For your information I can write authoritati9vely on mixed race ancestry. I have done the research. Ask Dr. Karl Watson or his cousin Dr. Henry Fraser if what I wrote was untruthful. I am a product of the English plantation owner shagging a black slave and make fun of it every day. I am no Loveridge who can trace his ancestry back to the thirteenth century. What about you? Can you go beyond 1833 or are you scared to go to the Archives department?

  20. Anonymous

    @Anyonymous

    The above should read ‘ Who can trace his full ancestry back to the 13th century”

  21. Anonymous

    @Sealy
    I responded to your post. I could not have known that you were responding to a deleted post could I?
    If you had any sense you would have deleted your post or asked the mods to do so.
    Nevertheless, you ARE obsessed with colour and the past. Who cares about your ancestry except you?
    Should we ever meet I would not judge you on your colour,your ethnic background,your sex or who your great grandmother had sex with!
    Remember, if the alleged slave owner had not had sex with your ancestor you would not yourself exist.
    It is time to throw off the shackles of slavery,put the past behind us and then perhaps we can all move forward into a better future.
    It is time that we stopped using slavery and colour as a convenient excuse for our problems.

  22. @Anonymous
    I have no regret for anything I posted. I was just trying to put it into perspective for you. The blog owner removed the derogatory comments which I suspect one of your kind published about black people and I responded to it.It is for you to worry from whence you came. I do not know and neither do I care about your ancestry. I am equally proud of my African and European background. I hope you are not one who is ashamed of yours and can’t spare a moment to visit the Archives for confirmation.

  23. Anonymous

    “The blog owner removed the derogatory comments which I suspect one of your kind published about black people and I responded to it”

    How dare you! One of my kind indeed. You have no idea who or what I am! You post stood there in isolation and was racist in the extreme.
    You have no idea of my skin pigmentation, sex or ethnic background but you see fit to imply that I am the sort of person that would post derogatory comments based on a persons colour! I, and I am sure many others, find that offensive, and a person with any character at all would apologise.

    It is good that you are proud of your background, but your background says NOTHING about you or your character and the sooner that you realise that then the sooner you can go forward into the future without the baggage you seem to be carrying.

  24. @Anonymous

    How dare me? Wow!! Apologise for a statement of fact? No way.It is a good thing I don’t have to depend on your kind for my existence. Eat your heart out.

  25. Adrian Loveridge

    Ms. Sealy, I think it is only fair and reasonable that you confirm your constant racist remarks reflect the opinion and policies of the political partly you blindly follow and publicly support.

  26. Adrian, you too? I responded in kind to remarks which were downright racist, dergogatory and insulting to the black race. I am sure you saw them before they were removed from the blog. I have no apologies to make for a statement of fact. I am an independent thinker. I do not have to blindly follow anyone or any political party. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about you, who once would have drunk the spit of the late David Thompson. You can fool those who don’t know you.

  27. Anonymous

    @Sealy
    You really are a piece of work.
    If all Bajans are like you it is no wonder that tourists are shunning the island.
    You were rightly taken to task for your racist post and still refuse to back down.

  28. @Anonymous

    I rightly took to task the stupid person who was insulting to the black race. Sorry no apologies from me. You and whoever want to support the vile,nasty racist attack , contained in that post against black people, that’s your business. I responded in kind.

  29. Anonymous

    @Sealy
    Are you as stupid as you seem?
    There is no post insulting black folk, it has been removed so your post is a stand alone racist rant.
    You should ask for it to be deleted as it is now out of context.

  30. @Anonymous

    Are you as stupid as I think? My initial response was to a person publishing racist remarks. Subsequent responses are targeted at you and Adrian Loveridge. Eat your heart out. There will be no apology to either of you .No decent Caribbean person would tolerate racist comments towards the black race. If you or Loveridge believe that St. Lucians or Jamaicans would remain silent while someone insults the black race , just to get an influx of tourists to their countries, you are dead wrong.

  31. Anonymous

    @Sealy
    What on earth is that drivel about?
    You fail to accept that your post is racist crap without the previous post that has,according to you, has been deleted.
    Was there even such a post? Did anyone other than you see it? I am beginning to have my doubts.
    Please point me to where I have said that it is a good idea to insult the black race to increase tourist numbers.

  32. @ Anonymous

    Are you that stupid to believe that readers of this blog will read my earlier posting and wouldn’t scroll up/down there after? The more the exchanges continue, the more they will understand why the posting appeared on the blog. In case there is anyone still in doubt , let me take this opportunity to inform that individual that a stupid racist person , posting as Tripadvisor ‘X’, made some very derogatory, insulting. vile, nasty, scornfully abusive language to describe black Barbadians. I responded in kind and have no apologies to make to Adrian Loveridge or one Anonymous for anything I said in that post.

  33. WOW, this really is getting testy.