Author Archives: BFP

How many tourists use Air Miles to travel to Barbados? We should know!

Barbados Grantley Airport Tarmac

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

Way back in 2001 we registered a business name and established a website domain under the trading title of MILESCloser.

 The idea then, which still has not changed, was to target the hundreds of millions of frequent flyer members who largely use their accumulated miles on vacation or holiday travel.

One of the impediments to growing the United States market especially, has been the reality that because we are a little further away from key source market cities. Inevitably airfares are often more expensive, resulting in the overall cost of the ‘vacation’ making it more difficult when competing with other destinations.

This is especially true with non-gateway departure points. A good example is Minneapolis-St. Paul to Barbados where the current cheapest bookable fare online in October or early November is US$761 economy return. For the same dates the miles required are just 25,000 and US$60.60 in taxes.

So by getting rid of the perceived ‘high’ airfare, we then only have to compete on accommodation options.

Gone are the days when you only earned miles by flying. In fact it is now almost the entire opposite. Most miles are gained by non-airline purchases.

The first major airline loyalty programme, American AAdvantage now boasts over 1,000 partners who offer miles simply by selecting a method of payment.

Among these are financial institutions who offer huge mileage incentives to sign-up with particular brand name credit cards, which in many cases grant sufficient miles on application for the first flight, without any or a very limited level of purchasing.

By selectively using a miles earning credit card to pay every day bills, it is surprising just how quickly the numbers mount. Personally I have not bought an airline ticket for myself for some time, but have currently amassed nearly 600,000 miles.  Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Chinese contractors in the Caribbean can build it cheap… but then the walls collapse

china fail caribbean

by Afra Raymond

by Afra Raymond

This article is about the Las Alturas Enquiry into the collapse of two new Morvant apartment buildings erected by China Jiangsu International Corporation (CJIC) for the Housing Development Corporation (HDC).

This Enquiry seems a politically-motivated one into a serious failure of professional practice which could have cost human lives. It is only in its opening stages, but it is already clear to me that this episode is one which contains serious lessons for our country in terms of the role of Enquiries; the role of the Chinese contractors; the culture of non-enforcement which we practice and of course, the impact of targets and political objectives on proper process.

In the case of Las Alturas this is a large-scale multiple-housing project constructed on a former quarry-site on the Lady Young Road, just south of the lookout. Two apartment buildings which were completed in late 2010 were eventually declared uninhabitable due to severe cracking and the proposed demolition of those structures was announced at the end of May 2012. Each building comprised 24 three-bedroom/two-bathroom apartments, with the total cost of those buildings stated by HDC to be in the $29M range. The buildings were erected by CJIC on the design/build basis which usually places all responsibility for soil investigation, design and construction onto the contractor…

… continue reading Afra Raymond’s Riding the Dragon

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Filed under Building Collapse, China, Trinidad and Tobago

Fallon Best takes issue with Honey Bea III sea turtles accusation

Honey Bea Fishing Barbados

 Honey Bea Charter’s crew members respect the turtles!

by Fallon Best Christ Church

by Fallon Best
Christ Church

Contrary to what BFP’s article about the Honey Bea III states, no one has ever apparently contacted the owner Mr Elson Best directly of Honey Bea III. (See BFP’s Bridgetown Careenage and Harbour beautiful… but deadly to Sea Turtles?)

The telephone number is public on brochures all over Barbados and on website HoneyBeaBarbados. Telephone 230.9936. The recently retired captain at the time has worked for Honey Bea Charters for approximately 40 years and the mate for almost 20 years.

These are experienced local fishermen in a small tourism service and have never to my knowledge ever landed nor fished for turtles, especially on Honey Bea nor in the Careenage. Many charters boats feed fish and bait scraps to turtles in the Careenage and tourists usually enjoy watching them surface. They inquire on the spot about cruises to snorkel and feed turtles on West Coast and fishing charters. You can imagine the crew would be the last people to deliberately fish, hook, land a turtle in the Careenage as they support their life’s living off the turtle feeding practise.

On the other hand, turtles bite at fishermen’s bait meant for fish regularly and if a hook was overboard during feeding, the high probability is the hook disintegrated or came out of the turtles mouth.

I wish Barbados Free Press the best with quality investigative journalism in the future, which protects the rights of the vulnerable, the working class and exposes injustice, unethical and criminal behavior in society – but of course based on facts and not any uncertain libel accusations which may neglect truth and slander hard working people and more innocent members of society.

Fallon Best (relative of the owner)

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Wildlife

Fifty years of advice for Barbados Junior Minister of Tourism, Chloe Walker

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

While this column has never been about individuals, I celebrated a milestone birthday a couple of weeks ago and could not help but spend a little time reflecting on the fifty years that I have largely spent in the tourism industry.

Different people evaluate success or what the definition of it differently and there can be nothing wrong with that.

My introduction to the world of commerce at a very early age was driven not so much by any desire to become fabulously wealthy with all the associated trappings, but more by the basic need to fend financially for myself without the benefit of sustained further education, as a result of a prolonged illness.

Looking back, I learnt very quickly and by the age of 21, I had already become the majority shareholder and managing director of four companies which employed scores of people. This is not a boast, but a simple fact.

By the time I reached 24 years, I had been offered the position of executive chairman of a substantial British tour operator. After turning the job down, it is almost impossible and probably totally futile to speculate on what difference that move would have made to my life.

Not that long ago I experienced a public admonishment by someone that can only be described as successful and it got me thinking of what exactly was the attraction that has kept me in this industry virtually all of my adult life. On reflection it never was about the money, but the means to travel and experience a world of differing cultures, architecture and experiences.

Now having past retirement age who knows what opportunities lay ahead.

It seems that it takes almost a lifetime to acquire sufficient skills and knowledge to effectively make things happen. And when you hopefully reach that point, is there is still sufficient energy, drive and desire to use it productively for the greater good?

Decades ago, naively I thought I could change the world. Nowadays, my goals are somewhat more realistic and but perhaps stand a greater chance of ‘success’, whatever that really means.

One thing for sure, very few objectives can be attained without help and I will be eternally grateful to those who have looked beyond the petty partisan politics and purely focused on what positive differences can be achieved.

Junior Minister of Tourism, Chloe Walker

I would also like to congratulate our new Junior Minister of Tourism, Chloe Walker, and plea with our policymakers to give her more than just superficial exposure to decisions taken within the sector. One way, even if it’s just in an observer capacity, would be to let her attend the frequent Barbados Tourism Marketing, Product Authority and Hotel and Tourism Association board meetings.

With the stated intention of increasing our e-commerce and social media presence in all source markets, a bright young and fresh contribution could add meaningful value to any plans yet to be implemented.

So Chloe, if you read this column and I could proffer just one piece of advice…

If you make this industry your chosen career, remember that success is not always measured by the number of private jets and yachts you have. For many of us, just making people feel very special and appreciated, is more than enough reward.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves lied about Argyle International Airport

Argyle International Airport 10April2011

When you lie to the Business Investors you ‘Own the lies’ when it all goes wrong

by Peter Binose

When Ralph Gonsalves announced the finish and operational dates for the Argyle International Airport, we must ask ourselves if he knew each of those dates was unachievable. I like many others believe he did know that the completion dates he gave us were not just unachievable, he knew that such statements were downright lies.

When you tell lies sooner or later your very own lies will come back and bite you in the arse, as the old folk would say.

Saying the airport would definitely be up and running by 2011 may very well have caused all sorts of business people who were ardent followers of Gonsalves, to invest money in their business’s to take advantage of the upswing in trade that the same Gonsalves claimed would follow the airport opening.

He also told the people that he would build a city on the Arnos Vale site when the air traffic was transferred to Argyle. He said the new city would be linked to the old city of Kingstown by a four lane tunnel under the hill, it doesn’t matter that approaching the tunnel from either end it would only be one lane. The whole matter was embroidered to wind the business people into spending money.

Hotels in Villa who are ULP supporters have invested fortunes in upgrading their family owned hotels in anticipation of the Gonsalves forecast of a huge surge in stop over’s and business in general.

People like Ken Boyer borrowed money from banks to build his supermarket and Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet, why? because as a cousin to Gonsalves he believed that Gonsalves would finish the airport by 2011 and the new city would be finished five years after that in 2016. Ken was a little silly because he should have known better than most of Gonsalves ability to make things up, to embroider the truth and make it into blatant lies.

The Harlequin Buccament Bay Project based all its plans on the airport opening in 2011, they have also been shafted and they must be seriously in danger of folding because the airport is the key to much of their projected business. They were made promises and are now suffering from lies. Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

St. Lucia Police formed Death Squad, murdered criminals in vigilante actions

Barbados Murder Gun Revolver 3

Why bother to have courts, judges, juries and trials when we can have the police dispense justice as they see fit – in a cane field at 3am…

St Lucia’s police force kept ‘death lists’ of suspected criminals and planted guns at police shootings to make them look legitimate, according to a report.

The Caribbean island’s prime minister Kenny Anthony said a team of Jamaican investigators had delivered an ‘extremely damning’ report on the deaths of 12 people shot by officers in 2010 and 2011.

Mr Anthony said the report, which has not been made public, revealed that the shootings were ‘staged by the police’ but reported as murders by unknown assailants.

… read the fully story at The Daily Mail: Caribbean police force ‘kept death lists of suspected criminals and planted guns

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Police

Time for Barbados businesses to move into the Internet age – better late than never!

barbados-beach

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

Anyone who has used the internet to shop in Britain, North America and Continental Europe cannot fail to be impressed with the variety available, level of service and delivery options.

And I wonder with the recent change of ownership, branding and appointment of new management in some of our distribution and supermarket outlets has not presented an incredible opportunity to better serve up to 500,000 long stay visitors that we attract each year. Especially for first time visitors staying at our vast choice of villas, condominiums and apartments and who are unsure of what is available and pricing on certain consumables, at least prior to arrival.

What prompted these thoughts was the appointment of Judith Wilcox as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of TriMart Inc. Her vast knowledge of the tourism industry gained with Virgin Atlantic and more recently, one of our largest villa rental agency, could provide a unique insight in developing better synergies between our suppliers and overseas visiting customers.

While there have been various local websites in the past, perhaps now is the time to take this marketing medium to a much higher level with the means to research product offerings prior to homeland departure, pay online with a credit card and delivery to coincide with the visitor’s arrival.

It is also potentially a great promotional vehicle to expose more locally made items and build better brand awareness to a much larger marketplace.

Does our reputation as a playground for the rich, work against Barbados?

While we are often depicted as an iconic destination for the rich and famous, let none of our tourism planners be lured into the illusion that the vast majority of our visitors are not increasingly demanding value-for-money. This will become even more critical as we transition from the peak winter season into the long eight months of summer, if the additional airlift attracted is going to be sustained.

From a business operation aspect in many cases we appear to be light years behind many developed countries in the area of e-commerce. By now we should be able to order and pay for so much more online, including electricity, water, all government taxes and licences, postage stamps etc.

There seems to be little alternative to queue in line for up to an hour to deposit cheques in most of our banks, but it should not, as it recently did take four hours to renew a vehicle tax disc, because the licensing authority had decided, without telling it’s ‘customers’, the rules had changed.

It seems the phrase ‘time is money’ isn’t understood by many of our service providers and this will have to change if we hope to emerge intact from the current financial challenges.

Of course there are notable exceptions. We can pay our phone/internet bills online and we can order a very limited choice of everyday supplies, but it’s far from the ‘norm’. Often it means hanging on a telephone while a check is made if the item is in stock, then writing a cheque for payment on delivery or at the end of the month.

All these transactions require time while this precious commodity could be spent far more productively, both from a consumer and suppliers perspective.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy