Barbados must regulate, tax and ensure the standard of all tourism accommodations

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Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

I would imagine (and hope) that one of the imperatives of the newly formed Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA) in the new year will be to indentify and register all currently unlicensed tourism accommodation offerings.

Frankly I have never understood how you can ever successfully market any product, in this case the destination, without knowing what ‘our’ room inventory consists of.

I will be quick to point out that I am in no way advocating imposing any overtly deterrent restrictions on persons wishing to mount the first rungs on a tourism ladder.

It should also not be a big stick approach implying potential threats and intimidation. My initial thoughts would be to build an online enrollment site, which could be entirely self-funding through a small license fee. This surely should not be a challenge as the BTPA has yet to launch a functioning website.

It’s all about protecting our quality, and making a level playing field

Any portal should allow for registering critical quality assurance evidence like fire, health and swimming pool certificates and public liability insurance together with the capability of paying the annual fee online and revalidating participation each year.

Accommodation providers initially would be given a grace period to submit their documentation and if they did not comply then clearly they would not be eligible for any marketing support and/or concessions.

Like many other holiday destinations approved properties would be given a unique identity number and allowed to use approved signage guaranteeing some form of quality assurance standards.

With the advent of websites like Airbnb and Homeaway it has now become a minefield for the potential visitor who presently has absolutely no idea if the thousands of lodging options comply with minimum standards and this obviously does not enhance our reputation.

If anyone is lured into thinking this ‘non-hotel’ element forms a miniscule part of our tourism sector, then understand at the time of writing this column, Airbnb had a choice of 556 alternative Barbadian accommodation possibilities on offer and Homeaway a mind boggling 1,277.

Many excellent examples of quality assurance framework websites are already in operation on which to model ours and I found the Failte Ireland one particularly impressive. Their words, to me, seem to exactly define the intended purpose ‘working with you, we will ensure that these standards meet consumer expectations, help your marketing efforts and support product development’.

Barbados Government behind two years in paying VAT refunds!

I also believe that it would identify a new source of revenue (especially VAT) that is not currently collected and paid into Government coffers, possibly helping to level a playing field where currently those complying with the rules are in many cases severely disadvantaged. This might even allow the administration to recover sufficient monies to repay small businesses like ours who have not received agreed and due VAT refunds for up to nearly two years.

Government has to realise there is a consequence to this policy. Hotels largely upgrade, maintain and enhance their properties in the quieter summer months, when cash flow is acutely stretched. If the owners feel that do not stand a realistic chance of reclaiming the VAT element payable upfront will be repaid on-time, then they simply won’t embark on those improvements. Plus with our current reduced national credit rating, it is almost inhibitive to borrow money at commercially available interest rates.

While many accept we have a largely ‘tired’ hotel plant it is almost entirely fallacious, especially when the means to correct the problem is being at least partially withheld by the people making that observation.

5 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

5 responses to “Barbados must regulate, tax and ensure the standard of all tourism accommodations

  1. taxpayer who pays taxes when he should

    1,277 advertisements for tourism accommodation is an indication of how serious this “underground” hotel business is with lost VAT and income taxes. Why is this different than allowing other professions to operate without paying taxes?

  2. John Hanson 1781-1782- I SERVE 1788- 1792 BARBADOES.

    Its all Fraud , from the top to the bottom , while title holders like Ministers, lawyers and other look out for each other and go after none, Its how they get ahead, The must be remove from office , All this long talk about these crook liars and scumbags must end , The law need to be enforce , We need a DPP and COP with balls and rejects the Ministers and lawyers,Barbados need to suffer so a few people can tan at the beach,

  3. yatinkiteasy

    Won`t have tourists to worry about soon..garbage everywhere, paros and dirty beggars all over Broad St, urine smells everywhere..Quality of tourism accommodations is the least of our problems.

  4. yatinkiteasy

    Before we tackle the private guest houses as to suitability and quality…someone from the BTA should take a good hard look at Casa Grande..No wonder the Nigerian Students are protesting. The place should not be allowed to operate as a Hotel. Very bad for Barbados`s image. Just look at the last 10 reviews on TA…(not edited by me)..

    “Dreadful and surreal”
    1 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

    We were unfortunate enough to be deposited here by Thomas Cook following the delay to flight TCX816. Can only echo what has already been said – this place is disgusting. I’m not convinced it’s even a hotel; there were no other guests there, the staff were rude and seemed surprised that we might want things like food and water, and they couldn’t even supply us with a room key for our bedroom. The whole hotel was filthy and there were some very dodgy looking electrics, particularly the car battery powered displays in reception. Pretty sure you won’t find this hotel in Thomas Cook’s brochures and it was noticeable that they managed to find much nicer alternative accommodation for their own staff – you’re not going to choose to come here, but if your airline tries to put you in here for any reason then just refuse to go.

    Stayed November 2014, traveled as a couple
    1 of 5 stars Rooms
    1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    1 of 5 stars Service

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    Was this review helpful? Yes 21
    Ask Nicola_and_Ben about Casa Grande Airport Hotel
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
    Brenda056
    Preston, United Kingdom
    1 review
    16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
    “A place to avoid”
    1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2014

    Another customer from flight TCX816 who totally agrees with all the other comments.I would like to add that the state of the electrics would have seen the place shut down if in England.
    What we cannot get our minds around is that Thomas Cook believed that this is a hotel that they think was acceptable to the standards we were used to .Interesting fact the flight crew stayed apparently at the Hilton. I hope this hotel does not appear in any holiday brochures .If this hotel is offered at the airport totally refuse .Disgusting!!

    Stayed November 2014, traveled as a couple
    1 of 5 stars Value
    1 of 5 stars Location
    1 of 5 stars Service

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    Was this review helpful? Yes 17
    Ask Brenda056 about Casa Grande Airport Hotel
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

    aelvy
    Manchester, United Kingdom
    Senior Reviewer
    9 reviews 9 reviews
    5 hotel reviews
    Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
    36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
    “Disgusting”
    1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2014

    I too was located here when TCX816 was delayed. Despite sleeping fully clothed both my husband and myself got bitten in the night. If this hotel was in the UK it would be shut down. In fact I found it hard to believe that it wasn’t a shut down hotel that had been re-opened to house us for the evening. Our toilet did not flush the shower was so filthy we did wihtout. The locks had been forced on our room. No lighting in the corridors, most disgusting breakfast I have ever seen cold scrammbled eggs that were reheated several times we stuck to toast and black coffee as the milk had lumps in it. The pool had a tide mark and skin on top
    Stayed November 2014, traveled as a couple
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    Was this review helpful? Yes 24
    Ask aelvy about Casa Grande Airport Hotel
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
    shellyb87
    Birmingham, England
    Contributor
    11 reviews 11 reviews
    5 hotel reviews
    Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
    43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
    “Avoid at all costs”
    1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2014

    Firstly don’t dismiss the bad reviews as a few people who just had a bad experience, in this case this hotel really is a filthy flea bitten, cockroach infested, health hazard..looking at the “professional photos” on this and other sites you could be forgiven for thinking it’s not a bad place. All I can imagine is that they were taken on opening night…I’ve heard the place is only 7 years old, how has it managed to become so decrepit in such a short time??? We were amongst the unfortunate 60+ passengers on the Thomas Cook TCX 816 Barbados to Manchester flight that after 5 hours on the Tarmac decided a new hydraulic would have to flown in to repair the plane. We were then shipped to a “very nice hotel” stewards words granted he didn’t know which hotel we’d got at that point. We asked the lad at the airport who told us we were going to Casa Grande what it was like..after a ” urm, well, yes it’s ok” we said well you struggled to call it ok so that means it’s a dump..the taxi driver said every time he took people there he was quickly back to return them to the airport, another taxi driver told another passenger “good luck” when he dropped them off. The reception was bad enough with a larger than live size picture and shrine of “who we called” Guru Nanak greeting you, flashing lights and all…the corridor to our room was an outdoor corridor fenced in by iron railings top to bottom with the escape gate padlocked shut. We really didn’t need a room key… The door wasn’t locked, nor did it lock, we used our suitcases for that. After throwing the dirty gold embroidered duvet on the floor to reveal a filthy sheet I was glad Id took the flight blanket off the plane. The flannels we’re fit for the bin, one was filthy…the mess around the toilet brush and hold and the overflow on the floor was (lost for words)….revolting. We put the air conditioning on and it sounded like a jet engine..after a few hours on a bed where I had to put a pillow under my feet to bring them to them same level has my head we headed back to recetion along with 35 of the other passenger who got taxis back to the airport closely followed by the rest when the hotel ran out of water. We were then relocated to Divi south winds on St Lawrence Gap, the area where we had spent our two weeks holiday, lovely hotel. The Casa Grande really is to be avoided, most people do as it by all accounts is constantly empty…NO SURPRISE…disgusting place
    Room Tip: Go somewhere else
    See more room tips

    Stayed November 2014, traveled as a couple
    1 of 5 stars Rooms
    2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    1 of 5 stars Service

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    Was this review helpful? Yes 16
    Ask shellyb87 about Casa Grande Airport Hotel
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
    Coleen T
    Bracknell, United Kingdom
    2 reviews
    Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
    11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
    “Do not stay here”
    1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2014

    I completely agree with Sezel’s summary. Just to add that the light fittings were hanging off the wall down the corridor to our room and there were several lampshades broken on the floor. My sister didn’t have a light in her corridor and had to use a torch to light the way to their room. On entering ours we were greeted by a cockroach on the bed. The receptionist bellowed at everyone like a prison officer when we first entered and it was like checking into a reform centre rather than a hotel. This place should be closed down.
    Room Tip: If you want a good room then go to a different hotel as this is the pits.
    See more room tips

    Stayed November 2014, traveled with friends
    1 of 5 stars Value
    1 of 5 stars Location
    1 of 5 stars Service

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    Was this review helpful? Yes 11
    Ask Coleen T about Casa Grande Airport Hotel
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
    sezle
    Top Contributor
    50 reviews 50 reviews
    10 hotel reviews
    Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
    47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
    “Can see why locals call it the PRISON”
    1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2014

    This hotel is by far the worst hotel ever to have had to visit . When our Thomas Cook flight TCX816 was delayed , 50 of us were taken to this hotel at 2 am in morning ( the rest of the passengers were sent to a really nice hotel ) On arrival we could see that the hotel was empty . when we went to our room it smelled of damp . We turned on the shower and dirty water came out of it . There were no facilities to make a warm drink . When we looked out of the balcony and could see a member of the kitchen staff cooking scrambled eggs and sausages and putting them in a warming tray ready to be re-heated for breakfast . We warned everyone not to touch the breakfast . We later found out that 4 ladies who arrived after us refused to stay there and asked if a taxi could be called . The reception refused . They then chained the front gates . We decided to get our cases and return to the airport en mass . 39 of us managed to get taxis back to the airport . We all complained to Thomas Cook staff and they said that they did not know the hotel would be so bad ( which is lies as previous Thomas Cook customers had been sent there ) they finally sent us to Divi Resort hotel , which was good . THIS SOCalled hotel should never be used .
    Room Tip: Never stay there
    See more room tips

    Stayed November 2014, traveled as a couple
    1 of 5 stars Value
    1 of 5 stars Rooms
    1 of 5 stars Service

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    Was this review helpful? Yes 15
    Ask sezle about Casa Grande Airport Hotel
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
    MonicaB101
    London, United Kingdom
    2 reviews
    Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
    14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
    “Weirdest Hotel on Earth”
    1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2014

    Also put up here by Liat. They really need to rethink this as a place to put weary, stranded and annoyed travelers. This hotel looks like a venue for a child’s birthday collided with the venue for a budget Indian wedding outside of Reno. The car park is a graveyard of carnival toys and jungle gym equipment. The Kozzy bar had no drinks, so I was advised to go to the bowling alley. This is past the bumper cars, through the arcade and is done up in outerspace decoration. They did have wine, beer and drinks., The food was subpar at best, with no options for a vegetarian such as myself, which was odd since the owners are clearly Hindu based on the lifesize photo of the guru in the lobby which is decorated in plastic light up trees and lazy boy chairs. There was no soap or shampoo in the bathroom, luke warm water in the shower and a rock hard bed

    See all photos

    Stayed November 2014, traveled on business
    4 of 5 stars Location
    1 of 5 stars Rooms
    3 of 5 stars Service

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    Was this review helpful? Yes 15
    Ask MonicaB101 about Casa Grande Airport Hotel
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
    tsogl
    Irvine, California
    Top Contributor
    144 reviews 144 reviews
    106 hotel reviews
    Reviews in 74 cities Reviews in 74 cities
    139 helpful votes 139 helpful votes
    “Never Again”
    1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2014

    This is likely the worst hotel where I have ever stayed. The hotel is dingy and dirty. We were forced to stay here when Liat unexpectedly rerouted our trip through Barbados. The hotel staff actually tried to be helpful but you can only do so much with such an awful hotel. Our room was adequate but noisy. The bathroom had a fan that let in a lot of sound from outside, including constant road traffic all night. We arrived very late and had to wake up early in the morning to catch our flight. Between the noise and limited time, we did not get much sleep. When we arrived early in the morning, we noticed a large bucket in the bathroom that seemed to contain water. In the morning we woke up and found that our bathroom had no water flow from the shower or sink and realized the reason that a water bucket was in the bathroom. We will never voluntarily stay in this hotel again.

    Stayed June 2014, traveled on business
    1 of 5 stars Value
    1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    1 of 5 stars Service

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    Was this review helpful? Yes 15
    Ask tsogl about Casa Grande Airport Hotel
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
    Celo G
    Kingstown, St. Vincent
    1 review
    10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
    “worst hotel ever”
    1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2014

    Liat cancelled our flight and shuttled us by buses to this aweful place. Environment is dirty and run down, we even saw a rat in the lobby to the rooms. They offered us dinner which was obviously stale in dirty utensils, which I refused of course. The rooms were smelling like they were locked up for months and had to be opened from the master keys so we had no individual keys to the rooms……..I can go on and on……..but just stay clear from this disgusting place Liat calls a HOTEL
    Stayed July 2014, traveled on business
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    Was this review helpful? Yes 10
    Ask Celo G about Casa Grande Airport Hotel
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
    Italianoboot
    1 review
    15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
    “Awful”
    1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2014

    The owner of this hotel is appearantly very cheap. I sat one night and observe how she treated some locals who were complaining about service they were receiving. If she treats the locals that way I don’t see why I should return to the hotel. It’s a great location near the airport but the environment there isn’t friendly to compare with the others I have been to on my other short visits to this lovely country. I won’t advice no one to go there . The rooms are far from what is seen on the Internet. But most of all I was disappointed with how the owner treats the locals of Barbados who I find are usually very nice people .

    Stayed June 2014
    1 of 5 stars Value
    4 of 5 stars Location
    1 of 5 stars Rooms
    2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    2 of 5 stars Service

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    Ask Italianoboot about Casa Grande Airport Hotel
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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