Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. must start with improving the basics

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

Even after fifty years in the tourism industry, one thing that never ceases to amaze me is how the industry is constantly changing and barely a day goes by without some new insight or revelation emerging which affects the way we do business.

Probably one of the biggest paradigm shifts has been the Internet and this is still constantly evolving. Concepts that ten or twenty years ago would have then been thought far-fetched are today in everyday practice, generating new sources of revenue and employment.

But I wonder if we place a high enough value on the source and management relating to much of this information, particularly when you see websites at a national level being so poorly maintained and frequently found outdated.

For many visitors, especially those traveling here for the first time, this is often an early point of reference to assist in decision making and selection choice. Therefore it is critical that the quality of our site has to be at least to the standard of our competitors.

Hopefully this will become a priority for the new Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI), and they will return the day-to-day operation of www.visitbarbados.org to local people with proven ability, knowledge and who fully understand the product offering.

Another area of concern is the tardy release to the public and industry of tourism arrival figures. It is difficult to understand why details are not disclosed until weeks after the stay-over dates. Surely, they are compiled on a weekly basis, with no part of the month requiring more than seven days, to evaluate and report.

March 2014 numbers were finally posted on the Barbados Statistical Service website on May 5th showing a 5.6 per cent decline of stay over visitors when compared with the same month, last year.

Yet again it is not a happy picture and absolutely contrary to the earlier heady predictions made by our policymakers of a good winter season.

Chiefly concerning was that the USA was down again by 19 per cent, Canada by 14.1 per cent, Trinidad and Tobago by 21.5 per cent and Other CariCom by 15.3 per cent. The UK recorded a 4.9 per cent (900 persons) increase and Other Europe 28.6 per cent (809 persons).

However, this did not mitigate an overall decline of 3,000 visitors across all markets for the entire month.

It was very refreshing to see the new interim BTA CEO/President solicit the views of many diverse people within the sector and I am sure the vast majority of the industry hope that this will help stem almost two years of decline. Collectively, meaningful solutions can and must be found, but unless they are fully implemented, it remains a pretty pointless exercise.

13 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

13 responses to “Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. must start with improving the basics

  1. Adrian, here is my contribution and my small way of getting off the sidelines and joining the effort. The app is new but the goal is a lofty one for Bimoo. I would welcome speaking to you about it.
    http://rosemobility.com/bimoo/

  2. Adrian Loveridge

    Michael, thank you. We have lots of wonderful ideas and concepts out there, the problem is getting them implemented. Hopefully that is what a new tourism marketing entity will consider a priority.

  3. Doug's Dad.

    I’ve just had a look at Bimoo as @Michael above and it really seems an excellent idea.
    We own a couple of small apartments on the beach in Holetown and Bimoo seems an ideal way to not only share our experiences of the Island, and what we have learnt over the last 30 years of visits, but also to promote our apartments.
    Despite the increase in little ‘local difficulties’ we still love the Island despite, and probably because of all of it’s idiosyncrasies.
    Good luck Michael.

  4. NYCBGI

    The BTA needs to begin by revamping the operation playbook. forget about the person to person local program. the Bahamas had a great program and it worked but after time it was stopped. the traveler today is a different traveler than 50, 25, or 10 years ago With all of the promotions available to fill rooms worldwide and a diminution of creditable tour operators how does the BTA address the changing demands that are here and now? That is the challenge that needs to be addressed and the question still begs an creditable answer and playbook. nothing else until this issue is formulated. Wake up or sit down!

  5. Doug’s Dad, could you please reach out to me? I would like to see how we can work together. You can drop me a line on the contact form at the website. Thanks

  6. Finally how the correct way to reach out to Doug’s Dad via the reply option. Please contact me. Thanks

  7. gentle jim

    According to Mr Peter Gilkes, April’s numbers are up. Can anyone confirm this ?

  8. Adrian Loveridge

    gentle jim,
    April 2013 recorded 42,234 long stay visitors (a 12 per cent decline on the previous year) and the second lowest number for that month for 11 consecutive years. So any increase for April 2014 has to take this into account to measure performance.

  9. Adrian Loveridge

    The April 2014 arrival figures have now been posted on the Barbados Statistical Service website. There was an overall 2.4 per cent increase in long stay vistor arrivals when compared with April 2013, but see my last comments above to put this in perspective. Long stay arrivals from the USA were the lowest for any April during the last consecutive 12 years – 9,623 or down 9.6 per cent when compared with April 2013.

  10. gentle jim

    So may I ask where are the increases?

  11. Adrian Loveridge

    gentle jim,
    for the full details please go onto the Barbados Statistical Service website, they break in down from source markets.

  12. Adrian thanks sharing knowledge of the Barbados Statistical Service website. It is a new resource for me to follow. Here is a direct link to the report for others.
    http://www.barstats.gov.bb/files/documents/April_2013_and_2014_compared.pdf

  13. Adrian Loveridge

    Michael, no problem. They sometimes take a while to post up-to-date figures, but its a very useful source.