Our biggest tourism challenge

barbados-beach

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

If I could single out an overwhelming major factor that is holding back the recovery of our tourism sector, number one on the list would have to be lack of implementation.

A close second would have to be the prolonged time it takes to conceptualise and launch new initiatives and marketing programmes, while ensuring they are fully functional and deliver the desired objectives.

Yes, some may make all sorts of other excuses like an aging plant, but if we get both the above right, then it would provide a solution to this and most of the other challenges we are facing.

This July marks a full year since a one hour plus media conference with two Ministers of Government was held unveiling a Ten Point Tourism Plan.

Exactly how many of those points have been fully implemented twelve months later and if not, why?

Extraordinary concessions to Sandals destroyed any ‘Tourism Master Plan’

I can no longer recall just how many times I have heard that the Tourism Master Plan is going to be revealed shortly. You have to question does it now indeed have any current significant relevance, since the entire industry was turned on its head after extraordinary unilateral concessions were granted to the Sandals companies.

Way back in March the Minister announced it was finally finished and sitting on his desk. Is it now buried or will it eventually see the light of day? 

We are also now just about a month away from the stated launch of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., and Barbados Tourism Product Authority, the two new entities that will replace the existing national promotional agency.

With less than five weeks to go, will there be a seamless transition, especially at a time when we should be welcoming larger numbers of visitors during Crop-Over?

Contact details and working websites are prerequisites and form a critical role in communicating with all the interested partners in tourism, including crucially the media and social networks.

Will the product division now finally address the hundreds of unlicensed accommodation offerings and if so, how?

Has any of the staff or managerial posts been advertised or is administration entirely relying on filling these jobs from within existing civil service departments?

It would appear that if there is not at least some new and inspired direction, it will be yet another expensive and time wasting exercise in futility. The game of musical chairs has to come to an end at some stage.

Delta Barbados Flight

Good News about Delta Airlines

Good news that Delta Airlines will be returning with a nonstop service from Atlanta and introducing New York. 6 million people live within an hour’s drive of Hartsfield airport. In terms of passenger traffic it is rated the busiest in the world, handling a staggering 94 million passengers last year.

I have one concern though with the fare levels. Online the cheapest fare in the start-up month of December is US$781 return. Given the choice of destinations people in the Greater Atlanta area have, I wonder if this may not be a deterrent factor.

Conversely, the New York service has a lead-in fare of US$389 which compares very favourably with JetBlue at US$518.

This may well change as the effects of competition kick in.

Certainly USA arrival numbers are a cause of concern with 2013 recording the lowest number (120,626) for 11 consecutive years. To fill this extra capacity that number will have to rise by 28 per cent in 2015.

Clearly a daunting task!

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11 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

11 responses to “Our biggest tourism challenge

  1. Peter Quinlan

    Adrian:
    You stated that the US Arrival #’s were approximately 120,000 for 2013. Do you have a figure for the Canadian #’s? And in your opinion why have these numbers fallen so drastically over the past years? Perhaps a column in the future might be in order ( or you can just reply briefly here) .
    Thank You.

  2. NYCBGI

    STOP THE ONLY WAY TO REVIVE THE STEADY OF US TOURISM IS FOR THE HOTELIERS TO LOWER THEIR RATES TO CHANGE THEIR DISMAL OCCUPANCY RATE TO 90%. U CAN CALCULATE AND COUNT THAT PROFITABILITY WILL RETURN IN A HEART BEAT. WAKE UP THE BTA IS STILL ASLEEP

  3. Adian Loveridge

    Peter, Canadian long stay visitors for 2013 numbered 67,295 which was 6.6 per cent down on 2012. In my humble opinion, there are many reasons why we have lost market share in Canada and I will address this is a later column.

  4. fred

    None of you can see the forest thru the trees. Whats keeping the tourist industry depressed is the perception and reality that Barbados is becoming a dangerous place to vacation. If you ad to that the industry desperation that is turning the island into another miami beach/coney island without any regard to the factors that attract tourists with real money to spend. The end result is that the quality of life for both tourists and bajans suffers without a satisfactory return. Its called lose-lose.

  5. Anonymous

    The only way the occupancy rate can be 90% is the closure of so many Hotels and so little rooms. I have been saying for a long time , all Hotels that have been sitting idle like KIng’s Beach be put up for Auction.
    I said this when Paradise Beach was sitting idle for years that it should be mandatory that these and other Hotel Properties be seized by Government and put on the Auction Block, and don’t care what they go for, Sell them, if even they go for $ 100.00, get them going again.
    Too many people seem to confuse the Government that they plan to do something with our land, a prime example is ( Bushy Park ) and do nothing with it.
    If an Investor buy’s a property he should be given one year to getting it going or forfeit the property. Look at the fence that stretches along Vauxhall Road in St. James and eye sore for too many years, and of course the one at Paradise Beach and many more. Is it only me that see these things where is T&CP ?

  6. Peter Quinlan

    Thanks Adrian. I will look forward to that upcoming column.

  7. Wily Coyote

    Adrian — It’s time to throw in the towel.

    The toilet has been flushed and the doo doo is well down the drain, no recovery is possible. The Delta’s of the world are not and will not save Barbados from it’s demise. Maybe ISIS could help bring order !!

  8. bajantouring

    Biggest Tourism problem besides THe HIGH pRICES is THe vIOLENCE on Tourist (White Tourist) Should be LIKE CUBA ! GO google

  9. NYCBGI

    Where IS THE BTA IN THE REAL WORLD. WHY IS BGI NOT A NEW DESTINATION FOR SOUTHWEST /AIRTRAN? ARUBA HAS 100% EMPLOYMENT AND A THRIVING ECONOMY AS WELL AS NAS AND MBJ. THE BLAME IS NOT ONLY THE BTA ITS THE HOTELIERS WHO ARE LIVING IN THE DARK AGES AS TO HOSPITALITY. WARDAIR DROVE CANNADIANS TO BGI FOR 2 WEEKS AT A TIME USING 20 PROPERTIES, MANY OF THEM LOW END BUT THEY MADE MONEY, MAX USED STEVEN FIELDS AS THE ON GROUND OPERATOR WHO HAD UNIFORMED REPS COVERING THE ISLAND. TO DATE NO ONE REPLICATED THAT OPERATION AND THIS IS ONE OF THE REASONS BGI HOTELS AND TOURISM ARRIVALS ARE IN THE DUMPS. TIME TO WAKE UP!! .

    Southwest and AirTran serve the following international destinations:

    Mexico

    Cancun (CUN)
    Mexico City (MEX)
    Cabo/Los Cabos (SJD)
    The Caribbean

    Aruba (AUA)
    Montego Bay (MBJ)
    Nassau/Paradise Island (NAS)
    Punta Cana (PUJ)

  10. Having just glanced at what H. Beckles has written in the Advocate, I’d suggest he is one of Barbados great challenges hell bent on keeping away new tourists and foreign business. I’m interested in what other people will say about that newspaper page, since it appears not all radicals are Islamic.

  11. Disenfranchised

    Barbados Tourism Ministry Needs to WAKE UP ! Barbados is sinking !