Thomas Cook drops Manchester-Barbados route – while Barbados government markets to a low-income / high employment area of the UK

Thomas Cook airline

Sad news – maddening news

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

It would appear we are losing the summer weekly Thomas Cook Manchester-Barbados flight from early May 2015. Perhaps there is sufficient surplus capacity on the Virgin Atlantic Monday flights, but Thomas Cook provided a lower cost option for many and while we are lacking in empirical evidence, my guess is that this flight was used by many people who have a second home on Barbados and/or who stay in our lower priced accommodation options.

While Virgin currently retains their larger once-a-week Boeing 747 on the Manchester service during the low season, it may not prove a challenge at all.

But if Virgin decides to change equipment to the smaller A330 as they did from Gatwick, clearly less capacity and more demand will lead to the inevitable higher air fares and deter the more budget conscious holidaymaker who largely keeps the industry afloat during the eight long summer months.

For travel in April 2015, a return flight from Manchester with Thomas Cook is presently available at GBPounds 376. With Virgin the cost is GBPounds 638 over a similar period. In fairness luggage and meals are ‘extras’ with Thomas Cook, but there is still a huge price differential – particularly if a family of four are considering travelling.

What is also a little puzzling was our tourism policymakers had already indicated that there was going to be a special effort in growing the markets out of the North of England and Scotland.

And especially after the July long Barbados Summerfastic tour by a beautiful liveried bus in partnership with Capital FM which visited several northern cities and Scotland.

I totally agree there is tremendous further potential, but you also have to look at the demographics which should take into account average disposal income and affordable access to the airport serving the destination.

Unemployment is at its highest in England’s North East and North West with average weekly earnings considerably lower than the south of the country. Clearly the cost is often the ultimate deciding factor.

And now I make no apologies in returning to a pet-peeve subject, websites which are not kept current…

Being in possession of reliable data is absolutely critical to intelligent decision making in the tourism industry. What is the point of maintaining expensive public sector departments, if they are unable to deliver the function mandated to effectuate.

All too often we are forced to accept a level of service in Government that simply would not be tolerated in the private sector without severe financial implications. It took the Barbados Statistical Service a staggering 61 days to post the May 2014 tourism arrival figures. At the time of submitting this column, no tourism stay-over numbers have been posted yet for June, July, August or September.

I was recently rebuked by a senior civil servant who argued that he could not, in his words, micro manage everything. A fair comment perhaps, but who takes the ultimate responsibility to ensure that well paid employees actualize the function they are being compensated for?

13 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

13 responses to “Thomas Cook drops Manchester-Barbados route – while Barbados government markets to a low-income / high employment area of the UK

  1. TC is a loss

    This is a big shame…used their service a few times and it was really good.
    I did use the service several times last year, but was to stay in a rented apartment…. I think the hotel market in Barbados is going to struggle…the top end, has lost its sparkle and other destinations have become more fashionable, with the lower end of the market, the TC flights will be a big loss to the budget market hotels
    Been going to Barbados for fifteen years and do think standards have fallen not just in hospitality but in everything….but then it seems to have worldwide

    apartment holidays do seem to be what the market wants…had some fantastic hols though in really good hotels in Bim, shame to see things going down…btw will deffo not be visiting the Butlins called Sandals…think that is a mistake, as it will drag the higher end of the market down and pull bim from the top of the desirable destinations (not being a snob, but have visited their St# Lucia resorts and seriously not impressed so cant see Barbados being any different.

  2. robert ross

    And the rest of us…..NOT the package people……’real’ travelers pay in excess of 800. For God’s sake stop griping.

  3. compton de castro

    Suggestion
    INVITE OTHER PLAYERS LIKE EASYJET et al WHO ARE EXPANDING THEIR EUROPEAN OPERATIONS.
    I do easyjet to most European cities for peanuts bookable
    6 months in advance over internet….never overbooked
    delayed or flight cancelled. A problem that plagued the
    industry for years before…it would certainly give big players BA VIRGIN et al something to think about !
    Opportunity lost !
    Unless ‘corruption’ is a reason for not taking the opportunity.
    Fear and intimidation is for politics not business.
    Come on Bajans….wake up.!

  4. European

    The Swedish company Fritidsresor has not Barbados season 2014-2015
    and if that is not enough
    The Swedish company Vingresor has not Barbados season 2014-2015.
    There are of course many reasons but the cost is not the main reason.

  5. NYCBGI

    STOP AND REALIZE THAT BGI TOURISM HAS FALLEN IN DISREPAIR. WHEN THE TOP US OPERATORS BEGAN TO PULL OUT 4 OR 5 YEARS AGO THAT SHOULD OF SHOOK THE BTA TO THE GROUND BUT NO THEY KEPT ON ROLLING AS IF THE WORLD CANT WAIT TO COME TO BGI/ COUPLE THAT WITH THE CRUISE LINES COMING WITH 2 OR 3 k PASSENGERS WEEKLY,ALSO HAS TAKEN ITS TOLL..INSTEAD OF THE BTA AND HOTELIERS COMING UP WITH INNOVATED WAYS TO LURE CRUISE PASSENGERS BACK FOR A HOLIDAY THE COMPLAINT WAS THAT THE CRUISE LINES IMPACTED THE VISITORS. THEY WERE RIGHT BUT YOU HAVE TO THINK OUT OF THE BOX TO BE IN THE GAME. LOOK STEVE HAMILTON FORMULA ONE RANKED ON ONE BROUGHT 1500 PEOPLE TO VIEW THE FORMULA ONE RACE LAST SPRING. .NO ONE KNOW EXCEPT THE RACING FANS FORMULA ONE FANS ARE WORLD WIDE AND BTA NEVER CAPITALIZED ON THE RACE.. I COULD GO ON BUT EVERY ISLAND IS THRIVING EXCEPT BGI. ITS NOT TO LATE TO REGROUP BUT THE HEAD OF THE BTA MUST NOT BE SHOCKED AT THE REALITIES OF WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO LITTLE ENGLAND, .

  6. compton de castro

    Barbados not unlike Guyana is heading the direction
    and title ‘FAILED STATE’ corruption and political ineptitude
    top of the agenda.
    Its not too late to turn things arround…..vote dem out !

    185.000 people in PARADISE are but fools in PARADISE
    if they do not take action now….protest agitate rebel
    in street demonstrations peacefully for new elections
    Yesterday not tomorrow. People power …power to the
    beautiful people Bajans are….love you all !
    And you guyanese Banks beer !
    Salud
    Kamtan

  7. S Byers

    One of the places we used to enjoy visiting was the Graeme Hall Sanctuary. However as readers will know the eminent Canadian owner closed it due to deliberate pollution of the lake by the Government and its cohorts. Then we started reading about increased violence and murders of innocent tourists from Canada, the USA and the UK even in Bridgetown on a quiet Sunday afternoon.. We read about the incompetence of the ambulance service in NOT rushing to hospital an English tourist stabbed to death at a nightclub at the Gap. The Canadian owner of Graeme Hall Sanctuary offered the Government millions of dollars to build a brand new hospital – the Government rejected his offer. We read (and have experienced) the gross overcrowding of the ZR and other public transport vehicles and their drunks / drugged up drivers. I could go on … but life is too short. We are not wealthy – but we used to love visiting Barbados. Now as potential customers of Thomas Cooks we will not be visiting again. Our gain – to see safer and more welcoming countries; your loss – two less (and growing) tourists spending hard-earned savings.

  8. S Byers

    Huh – maybe Thomas Cooks staff have been reading the comments on TripAdvisor!!

  9. compton de castro

    Another failed state…..political corruption of just plain ineptitude !
    Que sera sera will still pass through Brantley Adams airport
    for my visit to nearby cafe for a few banks beer and chat
    with locals..LOVE Bajans sense of humour ! Best bus drivers England ever imported !

  10. John Hanson 1781-1782

    Well the DLP dont care about poor people only the rich , Give land to the rich and take well care of rich , So now only the rich can afford to to Barbados , So what all the fuss is about, All the plans they have for rich only seems to be working , DLP dont even care about their own poor.
    We get what we work for , we get what we feed, enjoyment for the rich will never stop. This is not a people government its a DLP BLP party only government , If they cared REDJET still be in service now after killing the owner investor to DEATH ,with SHAME,Fraud is a bad thing and none care to look into it or to remove it,,,,

  11. compton de castro

    When corruption is endemic in a society…..it takes a stronger ..most times twice as expensive anti biotic to
    control/cure ! Do Bajans wish to take the medicine
    or make the sacrifices necessary ? Tourism is like
    any restaurant which do not look after their customers
    ….they ‘walk the talk’….eat elsewhere.
    Depending on tourism to support 185.000 people is
    absolute naivety….diversify if you wish to survive in
    this global village.
    Survival of the most adaptable of the species !
    Its not rocket science !
    Que sera sera

  12. Mr Coco

    thier marketing to get more muslims to visit.

  13. compton de castro

    Ha ha…isis or American ones ?