Category Archives: Barbados Tourism

Will Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Cruises base at least one new cruise ship in Barbados?

Sir Richard Branson - lucky old bastard!

Sir Richard Branson – lucky old bastard! *

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

While the concept was rolled out some time ago, the details were largely announced in a media conference which took place at the Museum Park in Miami last week.

Never shy of dominating the global limelight, Sir Richard Branson announced that Virgin Cruises should have three brand new Italian built ships in the water by 2020, each with a mid-size capacity of 2,800 passengers and around 110,000 gross tons. www.virgincruises.com

I will not insult readers to guess the planned colour of these new vessels and it perhaps sets new parameters for the cruising industry, opening it up to a whole new market with a brand that is among the strongest on the planet. The placard statement ‘let’s make waves’ emblazoned on the arrival helicopter carrying Sir Richard said it all.

Virgin will have a huge marketing advantage by having its own airline and through the joint holding it has with Delta Airlines, the United States second largest carrier.

The first ship will operate out of the Port of Miami, the cruise capital of the world, with a quoted throughput of 4.8 million multi-day passengers in 2014 operating 7 day Caribbean cruises.

But there is an incredible opportunity for Barbados – if we can make it happen. With the Delta flights servicing two of the largest airports in the USA, Atlanta and New York and Virgin Atlantic proving the only scheduled carrier to operating direct flights out of two major British hubs, Gatwick and Manchester, could the second or third ship, homeport from Barbados?

This would give travellers a myriad of holiday options. Fly from the UK to Barbados, cruise to another island and fly back to England from there. All with the same airline and cruise brand.

By enticing Virgin Cruises to Barbados, it could directly benefit us in so many ways. Stay and cruise options, provisioning and higher employment on the ships with more ‘locals’ are among the potential.

So what could persuade Virgin Cruises to position one ship here?

Of course there are historic precedents of subsidising selected tourism partners.   Continue reading

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Increased taxes and costs are killing tourism. Barbados government actions “simply defies rationale”

Barbados Solid Waste Tax

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

I had hoped to dedicate this week’s column to the new measures put in place announced in the 2015 budget to stimulate spending, especially in the tourism sector.

Unless I missed something while trawling through the 57 pages, not a single ‘incentive’ has been announced that would be likely to encourage increased domestic spending across the sector.

Conversely, many could fairly claim that the additional $200 million in taxation annually will further restrain people’s ability to take a ‘staycation’ or enjoy one of many excellent restaurants.

Government Broke: VAT refunds two years past due.

In fact private sector led initiatives like the re-DISCOVER dining promotion have been forced to scale down any paid promotion, due to the continued inability to reclaim due and payable VAT refunds, now overdue for more than two years. This in itself is ludicrous and short sighted as many of the participating restaurants do not qualify and are unable to apply the reduced rate of 7.5 per cent VAT, but obligated to pay the higher 17.5 per cent rate.

So Government could be easily losing up to $2 million a year in lost taxes. Add the duties and taxes lost in the included wine element and that figure could well be significantly more, let alone the employment this promotion generates.

Until we witness some real actual sustained recovery in tourism, it is very difficult to comprehend why any Government thinks that increasing taxation and operating costs will reduce the time it takes to attain that objective.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

Barbados national crisis: Sargassum seaweed damaging tourism and fishing


Have a look at these Nation News videos that fairly depict the impact of sargassum seaweed on on beaches, and then ask yourself why our government isn’t calling “ALL HANDS ON DECK!”.

Sometimes I think I’m the crazy one when problems and priorities seem so obvious yet the government does nothing.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy, Environment

Tourism success is about perceived value – and Barbados is slipping

barbados-beach-sand-surf

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

While not actually attending the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association Annual General Meeting recently, if media reporting was accurate, the current Chairman is quoted as stating ‘that discounts were not the way to attract visitors to these shores’. I have enormous respect for Mr. Chatrani (despite his opting not to join the re-DISCOVER initiative) and in principal totally agree with this statement, but in reality we have a mountain to climb to change the current perception.

Sadly across many of our markets we are generally considered as not offering value-for-money in our tourism industry and until the sector becomes more competitive this simply will not change.

As a tour operator in Britain for 12 years, we learnt from the mistakes of others and did not discount a single holiday out of hundreds of thousands sold, other than for people booking and paying in full up to 18 months prior to departure.

The year our company was formed, 1976, interest rates peaked at 15 per cent per annum and so we used our customer’s monies to partially subsidise commercial bank lending charges to grow the company.

Every person who booked also knew that they were not going to get a cheaper holiday if they waited until the last minute, so to get the holiday they wanted, necessitated booking earlier and enabled us to plan better. It was a policy that we continued while operating our small hotel for 25 years.

If we are going to achieve Mr. Chatrani’s objective, we are going to have to fundamentally change the way we currently do business.   Continue reading

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DeBajan on the latest ZR crash

barbados-zr-van-bus.jpg

“You might think it unfathomable that the Ministry of Transport would license (for a fee) a random group of people intended to take care of the crucial mass transit sector without first ensuring the content, the level or the frequency of their training. Unfortunately this is the case in Barbados.”

More well worth reading at DeBajan Public Transport Matters

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Barbados Transportation, Disaster

One student critical, twenty-two injured by reckless ZR driver

More young students critically injured by another ZR maniac driver.

More young students critically injured by another ZR maniac driver.

14 year old student Zakiyah DeFreitas lost her left hand and 21 others received lesser injuries when a ZR van overturned in The City yesterday. The van flipped near the entrance to the nursery Drive Terminal.

Twenty-two students in a ZR van? Of course it overturned at the slightest provocation. Top heavy, overloaded, too fast. Half the time driven by maniacs with dozens of convictions – or in the case of ZR driver Cyril O’Bryan Archer one hundred and ninety-eight driving convictions prior to being found guilty of dangerous driving in the death of bicyclist Errol Thornhill on route taxi AR42 in 2010.

Insurance? What’s that? Half the ZR vans don’t have insurance and the police don’t seem to care.

Yesterday’s incident is only the latest. More will follow next month. It’s been this way for a decade or more. TripAdvisor calls ZR Drivers “Hustling Pimps“.

Our leaders don’t care, and don’t do anything to stop the slaughter.

Photo courtesy of The Nation

 

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Barbados Transportation, Crime & Law, Police

Are LIAT’s major shareholders deliberately destroying the airline in order to re-create it without debt?

liat-airlines-disasterby Passin Thru

Sometimes our assumptions about a situation or problem blind us to simple answers that are right in front of us.

Could it be that the apparent increasing incompetence by senior LIAT management and a rapidly deteriorating cash flow are actually part of a plan to push the airline over a financial cliff as soon as possible, so that it can be reformed without debt and with limited political fallout?

LIAT’s biggest asset is its routes. Nothing else really matters. The aircraft are leased, and LIAT’s facilities are also mostly rented. The airline owns little of any real value that couldn’t be bought at fire-sale prices after a bankruptcy.

So let’s here from those who know about airlines and LIAT in particular… Is it possible that LIAT’s shareholders are deliberately destroying the airline?

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Barbados Transportation