Barbados Government is the largest hotel operator in the country

“Only time will tell if it is either desirable or healthy for any Government to own more than one in five of the entire hotel room stock in a tourism dependent nation.”

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner.

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner.

When Government completes the acquisition of the former Almond Beach Village and Silver Sands Resort, it will become the single largest hotel owner on Barbados by far.

In fact, the Barbados Government will own more than double the number of rooms than any private sector company does: Hilton (354), Almond Beach Village (ABV) (396), Silver Sands (130), Blue Horizon (120) including almost 50 abandoned rooms that were never upgraded under the GEMS project, Pommarine (21).

Still to be explained is whether the purchase of Casuarina (280) will be funded by Sandals companies, using their own money.

Even without Casuarina, already that’s over 1,000 rooms!

This number could climb to over 1,500, as and when ABV is demolished and re-built. All acquired and/or built with subsidised taxpayer monies.

Only time will tell if it is either desirable or healthy for any Government to own more than one in five of the entire hotel room stock in a tourism dependent nation.

I cannot think of a similar precedent in any other Caribbean country and if our policymakers are suggesting ‘Government should consider owning more hotels’, can they point to this model working anywhere else?

No “level-playing-field” for small business when the government owns the competition!

The probability exists that it will dramatically change how any future hotel investment is made in this country, as clearly the private sector does not have the advantage of access to  (as the Minister of Finance has frequently repeated since August of this year) ‘low-cost financing from the People’s Republic of China’.

And while other Minister’s may give the impression that the exceptional terms granted to the Sandals companies are also available to other all-inclusive hotel operators, if the commercially driven private partners cannot borrow at the same ‘low-cost’ rates, then it really makes an absolute nonsense of the statement.

Will it echo a repeat of the ill-fated GEMS (Hotels and Resorts Ltd) project where Government owned properties could consistently punch above their weight, as they really don’t have to operate in a truly commercial environment?

It also concerns me if the administration is taking the best advice available, especially when I read verbatim quotes like, ‘It is necessary when the loss of major plant like Almond allowed us to lose just under 900 rooms at one spot’.

Informed decisions can only be made based on factual knowledge.

Much has been discussed about the extraordinary concessions granted to the Sandals companies and the effect they will have on our remaining private sector tourism industry overall. One immediate consequence is that it has enabled the company to position Sandals Casuarina at the lowest price of any property they operate in the entire Caribbean, with the single exception of the 52 room Carlyle Inn.

Using a benchmark example date of 22 April 2014 for a 7 night stay, minimum grade double room (two persons) at the lowest bookable rate, this is how they compare:

St. Lucia – Grande US$656, Halcyon US$503, Regency La Toc US$596

Bahamas – Emerald Bay US$718, Royal Bahamian US$762

Antigua – US$607

Grenada – US$655

Jamaica – Grande Riviera US$450, Montego Bay US$549, Negril US$553, Royal Caribbean US$540, Royal Plantation US$724

and Whitehouse US$676.

For the same period, Sandals Casuarina is only US$393 per night which includes unlimited premium drinks, gourmet dining, scuba, watersports, round trip airport transfers, all taxes and gratuities.

Quite what ‘all taxes’ relates to, some may question.

Highlighting rack rates is in fairness only part of the equation as a substantial proportion of Sandals turnover would be generated by tour operators and travel agents. However, published room rates generally determine wholesale prices, obviously at a discounted level.

11 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

11 responses to “Barbados Government is the largest hotel operator in the country

  1. Nair, a Bajan disbeliever and CYNIC

    What a bloody farce! The Goverment can’t supervise the insurance industry, have a piss poor, piss piss poor record of running hotels and one is going to believe they can run two more. Nevva evva.

  2. PLANTATION DEEDS FROM 1926TO 2013, MASSIVE FRAUD LANDTAX BILLS AND NO DEEDS, BARBADOS DLP/BLP MASSIVE PONZI FRAUD

    Barbados Government is the largest hotel operator in the country? YEA RIGHT , LARGEST CROOKS,THEY HAVE TO GO IN TO BUSINESS FOR SELF WITH SELF , FOR THEY CAN NOT SHOW NO INVESTORS A CLEAR TITLE TO THE LAND THEY WANT THEM TO BUY , SO THEY HAVE TO EAT THE BILL AND TAKE THE LOSS, THEY WILL RUN THAT HOTEL WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND THE THEIR YARD DUCKS AND MONKEYS , THEY WILL LOOK TO PAY THEIR BILLS WITH VAT LIKE LIAT AND AIRPORT TAXES , LESS NOT FOR GET THE FUEL PRICES, MORE COST MORE VAT , NO ONE PAYING LAND TAX FOR THEY N.OT THE OWNERS AS THE MASSIVE LAND FRAUD GOS ON .. WHAT A SUCKER GOVERNMENT

  3. Prty Animal

    These folks can’t run a Government and now they want to run a Hotel.
    The jokes have to stop.
    Where are you Mia.

  4. iabingy

    will not sell out his country.now that is a real man.st Lucia 1 barbados 0

  5. just want to know

    How can the country be in any better position, when the people who are put into positions mis use public funds which poor over taxed Barbadians put into the treasury. It is with great concern that I understand the Minister of Tourism use public funds to entertain his personnel friends at every hotel in Barbados & send the bill to The Tourism Authority to pay, while poor people can’t even buy food for their families. These people are criminals!!!!

  6. Adrian Loveridge

    just want you to know,
    I don’t know whether what you are saying is true at all. But in 25 years operating a hotel on Barbados, we have only been visted by two Ministers of Tourism (the late Harold St. John and Peter Morgan) and neither them during the time they were Ministers.
    During the same period not a SINGLE President/CEO of the BTA has visited our property, despite winning multi-awards and at one stage holding the NUMBER ONE rating of ALL hotels in Barbados on TripAdvisor.

    That should tell you a lot.

  7. passin thru

    Yes, tell me a lot Adrian. You be white boy so no visits.
    That’s what it is. I don’t like it either.

  8. just want to know

    Adrian he won’t come to your hotel & do that, because he knows you will let the Barbadian public know about it.

  9. Nickie Trench

    Hi Adrian

    I noticed your comparison on the room rates but no comparisons on the product. The story is therefore incomplete.
    Is there Butler Service, luxury suites, sky pool suites like Grenada, Rondoval honeymoon suites like Sandals Grande St. Lucian or Millionaire Suites like La toc.

    Would love to see your own findings on the disparity in the product and price comparison, but without a comparison to the product the story is incomplete.

  10. Pingback: Barbados Hotels and Resorts debacle continues with another government loan guarantee. Where did all the public money go? | Barbados Free Press