Category Archives: Barbados Tourism

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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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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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

Barbados government should lower taxes on tourist rental cars

coconut car rentals barbados

“I am pleading with the Minister of Finance to reconsider lowering the rate of VAT on car rental for at least our overseas visitors. Car rental is a critical component part of our export tourism offerings.”

Hired cars unreasonably expensive in Barbados

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

Whether travelling on business or pleasure, I usually hire a car, because for me it adds a huge extra dimension to the experience and dramatically increases the options available.

With an imminent budget on the horizon, I would implore the Minister of Finance to look again at our car rental sector, if we are going to maintain the recent increase in visitor arrival numbers.

Personally I do not think this segment of our tourism offerings gets the attention it deserves and that is probably partially due to the lack of knowledge and understanding of the enormous contribution it makes.

Just one of our larger vehicle rental operators has a fleet of almost 130 cars. If you average a rental period at 7 days, with a driver and at least one passenger, that amounts to over 13,000 persons each year. Of course the fleet size varies enormously, but from recently writing to over 30 Barbados based entities offering car rental, it gives you some idea of the importance in economic terms they play overall.

Rarely do I pay more than US$150 for a week’s rental in North America or GB Pounds 100 in the United Kingdom for a compact car, so for many of our visitors it can be quite a shock to pay what are considered ‘normal’ rates on Barbados. But it’s easy to see why, because of the taxes on purchasing cars here is staggeringly different to those where our major source markets emanate from.

Also surprising is the sad and difficult to understand logic behind the decision not to lower the rate of value-added-tax (VAT) on vehicle rental when the adjustments were recently made to hotels and some restaurants.

Perhaps it is because our tourism planners and policy makers do not fully understand the secondary benefits and economic importance that the flexibility of having a rental vehicle brings. It enables our visitors to sample more restaurants for lunch and dinner, patronise our attractions, activities, increases shopping options and generates fuel purchases among others. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Barbados Transportation, Economy