Did the Thomson Airways’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner push up tourist arrivals in Barbados?

Is there some room for cautious optimism in our tourism performance?

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Following 21 consecutive months of long stay visitor decline, January 2014 recorded a modest increase of 3.2 per cent when compared with the same month in 2013.

It is however important to keep this in absolute perspective…

January 2013 was down 8.2 per cent (4,331 people) when measured against January 2012 and unless we finish the end of February, 7,972 land based visitors up – we will still be woefully behind the identical period last year.

The growth largely came from the United Kingdom with 1,455 more long-stay visitors over the same period in January 2013. This in itself is encouraging because as frequently pointed out, the British and Europeans tend to stay longer – therefore usually contributing a higher per capita spend.

The higher UK arrivals were largely driven by two charter airlines.

Thomas Cook operating a new service and Thomson adding increased capacity with recently introduced B787 Dreamliner aircraft. Passengers off these flights would have included a significant number of cruise and stay holidaymakers, but both carriers offered many seats on sale at substantially reduced fares, which in some cases were less than GBPounds 300 return, including all taxes.

With such a diverse destination and a myriad range of accommodation options, these last minute ‘bargains’ present an opportunity to fill some beds at short notice.

Scheduled carrier Virgin Atlantic carried fewer passengers on the Gatwick service, but more from Manchester, while British Airways (BA) had a net gain. Again, to emphasis that these comparisons are all based on the differential between January 2013 and 2014.

Virgin’s numbers must also take into account dramatically reduced capacity as a result of equipment change from a daily B747 service to mostly the smaller A330 planes on the London route.

BA and Virgin also held an extended seat sale which expired on 28th January, with some of the lowest legacy fares available in the entire Caribbean for the remainder of 2014. Hopefully this resulted in substantial bookings, which will positively impact the arrival numbers later this year.

No Growth in the USA market         

Looking at other markets, once again there was no growth out of the USA despite JetBlue introducing larger planes and increased frequency. The mid-month loss of the American Airlines direct JFK flight resulted in an overall 1,324 lost seats out of New York.

Especially worrying when you take into account climatic conditions and we are in the peak winter season!

2013 in fact, boasted the lowest number of United States stay-over visitors in any one of the last 11 years, again calling into question why this market continues to receive an inappropriate share of the BTA annual budget, when clearly it is not performing.

Is it also time to look again at the viability of the direct Sao Paulo service, operated once-weekly by GOL.  Nearly four years after its launch, what are the average loadings, stay and spend? Has it ever and does it continue to be cost-effective for the resources allocated, or could these precious marketing and airlift support monies, be better spent elsewhere?

These unreasonable questions and our policymakers have an obligation to tell us. After all, Government wants the private sector to step-up our investment in the product and plant, but this has to be a two-way relationship.

While we are kept in the dark, it is almost impossible to make calculated and intelligent decisions, or where we could deploy and maximize any available profits into further commitments.


Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

23 responses to “Did the Thomson Airways’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner push up tourist arrivals in Barbados?

  1. Nair

    Personally! I think Loveridge would prefer not to write if it was good news. He seems get a perverted pleasure along the vein of I TOLD YOU SO.E

  2. Kraig

    Loveridge hates Barbados

  3. Canadian Tourist

    Nair & Kraig,

    Keep your heads in the sand. We’ll tell you when the economy recovers.


    very cold weather and much snow can make people fly , for those who can, , its cheaper to shut your home down and fly to where the heat is , ,, Oil prices and the cold can cost more than a plane ticket ,

  5. Off with you now.

    How dare Loveridge ask for accountability and analysis of our expenditures in tourism advertising!

  6. Mark

    hi, do you have any concrete numbers on the weekly Gol flight from São Paulo to Barbados? I would like to see the number of passengers, since the flight was almost full last time I was on it back in January… please show us the arrivals Brazil-Barbados for the last months, just to know more about it…

  7. Adrian Loveridge

    In January 2014 GOL carried a total of 432 passengers on the GRU-BGI route or an average of 108 persons per flight. GOL operate three versions of the 737-800 which means there was a capacity of between 680 and 732 seats.
    So an average loading of between 63.5 per cent to 59 per cent depending on actual aircraft used. You can ask the Barbados Statistical Service or BTA for other months.


    Oh dear me, Nair and Kraig reminds one of the conspiracy theorists and the climate change deniers despite the scientific evidence.
    The Catholic Church also refused to accept the theory of Galileo Galilei the Italian mathematician, astronomer, and physicist that the world was round. He was of course forced by the Inquisition to to recant this silly notion.
    Reminds one very much of the Bajan political class whose cloth ears on corruption, waste and a dysfunctional economy has led us into the present morass whereby the the 3000 /4000 soon to be unemployed Bajans and their families will be paying for at great cost. The cost of their incompetent political blundering.
    Adrian for some time now I am of the belief that you have been writing what is probably the most perceptive analysis of the Bajan tourism industry. Wish that some of these dumb ass politicos who populate the talking shop at Heroes Square would listen.
    But maybe all is not lost…………….after all Mia Mottley the opposition leader have extended an invitation (belatedly though it may) to you to speak at one of her so called People’s Assembly.
    The question is though is she doing this to shine a questioning light on the ramshackle BTA its malfunction and the attendant collapse of our Tourist Industry or is this a ploy to burnish her political image and to beat up the other lot.

  9. Adrian Loveridge

    Manjak, thank you. I think if anyone views my contribution to the Peoples Assembly I don’t think that impartial persons can conclude I am politically bias. I really feel that our tourism industry can do a lot better and can assure all those detractors that it is my only source of income, so it would clearly not be in my interests to help bring it down. Ms Mottley asked me personally and I agreed to, because it is better to listen to a wide cross section of informed views rather than dig your head into the sand.

  10. Mark

    Hi Adrian,
    great, thanks for the numbers on the Brazilian flight. But some 500 additional tourists from Brazil every month does not sound that bad after all or? I don’t see why this flight should be discontinued.

  11. Adrian Loveridge

    Mark, not suggesting that for a second, but I think its important we monitor these things constantly and see if there are creative ways to fill the remaining 40 per cent of the seats. No profit in an empty seat just as an empty bed.

  12. Mark

    that’s right! Certainly more advertising is needed, since Brazilians seem to know more about destinations like Aruba, Curaçao, Punta Cana and Cancún, when asked about Caribbean destinations. When they hear “Barbados”, they ask “where is this?”; when told that there is a direct flight, they say “really, I didn’t know that!”. At least this is my experience when over there. Perhaps working closer with big Brazilian travel agents like CVC to promote Barbados would work, specially if linked to promotional packages.

  13. QUESTION 10

    Is these new Dreamliners big enough for swatsy big guts Richard Sealy to fit in?

  14. goodday

    Hello Adrian Loveridge” I have been fallowing your bloggers, and also the tourism in Barbados for a while now, and I believe I should contribute what I think about Barbados tourism! There is no doubt that this country was the envies of the Caribbean, in tourism development in the 70s 80s and even the 90s, but as I travels through the other Caribbean countries in the 21st century. I can see Barbados is losing in the development of tourism, is the same old ideas from the 70s to 2014, they still using to capture new travelers, young people are not just looking for white sand and flatland, they are looking for more adventurous places! For example, look at these other islands St. Lucia, Grenada, and even Dominica that doesn’t have an international airport. the other country Barbados has to look out for is St. Vincent and the Grenadines, that country is not running, it’s flying when coming to development, can you imagine that county in 3-5 years from now, they have a world first class international airport with air bridge, escalator, elevator and fully air conditioning, I herd they are going to build a new city where the old airport was, when I look at the grenadines. I see a tourism flourishing that country, and I know for a fact St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada and Trinidad use the Grenadines in the broachers. I’m living in NYC, when ever I have time I will go on the internet and read about the development in the Caribbean islands,

  15. SITH

    What we don’t know from the numbers is how many people that were on those Gol flights were from Barbados going to Brasil as tourists and or for business. They certainly were not 100% tourists from Brasil coming to Barbados. From my experience on that flight I would estimate between 30 to 40% are outbound visitors.

  16. Mark

    I’ve been on that flight a few times, and I don’t think that people from Barbados make up about 30-40%. It’s usually 3-5 passengers, hardly more than ten. What I know for sure, is that Bajans should know Brazil better, given the many opportunities the country offers, the many attractions it has, and also to know better on how to attract more Brazilians to visit Barbados, because they have very different expectations from visitors from the USA, Canada and the UK. e.g. among all tourists to the US, Brazilians are the ones that spend the most during their stay over there…

  17. iabingy

    i person sitting on a plane -= the same carbon foot print as a person
    driving their car every day for a year.! did you know this?here

  18. iabingy

    sorry since i have been sending now they want you to purchase the full documentry.
    abobe is in german or some nonsense.sorry.it is on netflix.

  19. iabingy

    yea______________ok/well find it and watch it.THE AGE OF STUPID.

    oh look i found it in english the entire mowie.please remove th himler one .lol

  20. iabingy

    and this is also on net flix or download a must see.

  21. iabingy

    apparently america can make a attack on any country in the world if they have info alquida is there .new squad,kill and bomb, but sometimes wrong adress and people.oh well no problem.barbados this can happen.drone bombs or just chopper amd men with ak47 kill all your familly by mistake.bewhare muslim comunity in barbados!!!!!!!

  22. SITH


    I think the concept of the Government subsidizing the flight from brazil was with the hopes they could get more visitors coming not sending. However the Barbados dollar has risen about 40% against the brazil real since the plan started making Barbados a very expensive destination for brazilian tourists and Brasil a much cheaper destination for Barbados residents I have used the flight a few times to stay at some lovely hotels in Fortaleza for very cheap prices.. Previously a good number of people on the Gol flight used to come to Barbados through Georgetown and Liat utilizing either Metta airlines (now defunct) or Suriname airlines. For those in San Paulo and Rio, Gol is the best option but for people in the center of the country and the north the Liat route is preferred. The government has all of the numbers. There is a reason why they wont release them. Check the price of a ticket on Gol from Brasilia or Manus to Barbados. More expensive than going to Miami.

  23. calvin

    Hello, can you please tell me where you source the data on arrivals to Barbados? thank you!