“Has the effect of the campaign been to simply reduce earned income for the sector, meaning that overall the average visitor has spent considerably less than normal?”
Questions about the latest Barbados Tourism Authority campaign
As we have now passed the latest ‘book-by’ date for the several times re-launched Barbados Island Inclusive promotion, is it time to analyse in depth just how cost effective the initiative has been?
Especially as it was one of the very few, national marketing initiatives for this year that have either not been postponed, cancelled or simply just not implemented in the first place.
Just to remind readers, the stated objective was to generate an ‘additional’ 15,000 long stay visitors between the end of May and the 21st December 2013, who would spend BDS$30 million at a quoted cost of BDS$11 million to cover the promotional costs.
Minister of Tourism (MOT), Mr. Sealy is on record as stating ‘all but $4 million will actually be spent on advertising’.
On 22nd July 2013 the Barbados Government Information Service reported the MOT ‘had revealed that more than 5,000 tourists had taken advantage of the vouchers being offered under the programme’.
We know that even before the October figures are published, that ‘we’ are already experiencing an unprecedented 18 consecutive months of long stay visitor decline. So the word ‘additional’ is critical to appraisal, as if the initiative had in fact, generated any incremental numbers, then it has been at a huge cost.
‘Free Spending Vouchers’ cost Barbados taxpayers $733 per person
‘Free Spending Vouchers’ as they are called, were given to visitors spending as little as two nights on Barbados, but if you averaged the subsidy over all durations of stay, and conclude that all 15,000 will be used, that’s a massive taxpayer cost of BDS$733 per person. So at best a return-on-investment (ROI) of 2.72:1. Makes you think, when other initiatives consistently achieving an ROI of 40:1 were not supported. Continue reading