Category Archives: Barbados Tourism

Time to resurrect re-DISCOVER the Caribbean

barbados-beach-sand-surf

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

One of the most difficult and painful decisions I have ever made was to cancel our last re-DISCOVER the Caribbean Show some years ago, which had become a highly successful annual event spanning over seven years.

As well as highlighting and driving new interest in Intra regional travel it was also used as a catalyst to build trade between the islands. It also brought almost around $1 million of foreign exchange into Barbados, filled scores of hotel rooms, generated significant car rental business and helped keep our multitude of restaurants busy, during a traditionally quieter off-season period.

If you were among the thousands of people who visited the show over the two days it took place each year, you would have met representatives from up to 22 participating territories, from Surinam in the south to Jamaica in the north and almost everywhere in between.

What finally prompted the final resolve to stop co-ordinating the show was the reduced funding by the then Barbados Tourism Authority, which even at its peak, represented less than 10 per cent of the actual cost…

Plus the sad realisation, that they could not find two or more of their staff to ‘man’ a stand for the duration, out of what were then over one hundred employees.  Continue reading

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Discover Card to partner with Barbados

Discover Barbados

Innovation pays off for re-Discover programme

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

I am frequently surprised and occasionally humbled by some of the people who read this column. Out of the blue a couple of weeks ago, I had a call from a senior executive of the Illinois based third largest credit card issuer in the United States, with a quoted 47 million card holders.

He had been following some of our tourism initiatives and wanted to see how we could ‘partner’ to help increase their brand awareness and acceptance on Barbados.

Of all our major markets the United States has, for the last decade, been one of the most challenging. Until the 2014 figures are published the industry at large can only speculate about any real recovery last year.

But what we do know though is that 2013 recorded the lowest number (120,584) of long stay American visitors over the past 11 years.

So clearly, there is work to be done and I am sure with the recent restructuring that has taken place, we will start to witness increased numbers in the not to distance future; especially if we wish to sustain any added airlift.

So what is finally being negotiated with DISCOVER is a win-win scenario that will hopefully achieve their objectives, while at the same time help to raise our destination visibility in US market, again at minimal cost.

With help from the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) the new branded re-DISCOVER DISCOVER lunch and dinner voucher will be mainly distributed from the BTMI office in the arrivals hall of Grantley Adams International Airport. As we know, the vast majority of passengers have to pass this office after clearing immigration, baggage collection and before clearing customs. This will be critical in the possible success of the promotion.   Continue reading

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WestJet’s Valentine’s Day proposals a huge hit. Kudos to Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

Kudos to the recently revitalised national marketing organisation renamed the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., for facilitating the production of a series of videos where the airline WestJet partners with the chain store Michael Hill Jewellery and a number of Barbadian tourism interests to highlight two couples who become engaged on our island.

At the time of submitting this column already well over 1 million people had watched the three videos and this number will rise substantially over the next few days. Add the media coverage by print, television, radio and other shared social media and realistically millions of people will be exposed to Barbados as a desirable destination. Timing of course, can be everything, and the fact that WestJet posted the videos just before Valentine’s Day can be no coincidence.

To reinforce the positive effect the airline rolled out a supportive seat sale to Barbados which required booking by 14th February, but for travel up to 24 June 2015.

When preparing for the filming, a few cleverly conceived twists were applied and to quote WestJet’s Manager of Communitity Investment, Sponsorship and Experiential Marketing (what an incredible job title), Corey Evans, revealed that ‘girls thought they were auditioning to appear on a new WestJet commercial that we were shooting in Barbados, and had no idea what was going to happen’.   Continue reading

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Connections: American tourists, Super Bowl advertising and QR codes on Barbados rum bottles

Mount-Gay-Rum-Barbados

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

Ecuador recently went into history by becoming the first foreign country to take a thirty second television commercial which was aired during the recent Super Bowl at a quoted cost of US$3.8 million to reach an estimated 112 million television audience.

As first thought, any comparison between a country boasting a land mass of 109,484 square miles and a population of 15 million people with tiny Barbados seems almost totally illogical, but then look again.

Ecuador welcomed a record 1,500,241 overseas visitors last year up until 22nd December according to the website of their own Ministerio de Tourismo. Of that number the second largest market, the United States, supplied 16.6 per cent of the overall number which was 14 per cent up on the previous year, amounting to 232,868.

Colombia, its northern neighbour, produced the single biggest number, 23.8 per cent or 333,197 persons.

Sadly while Barbados Statistical Service posts critical information so late, it was almost impossible to compare our 2014 Barbados arrival figures with that of Ecuador for the same year. Up until last Tuesday the most recent posting covered the month of September, with October and November only being added in the first week of February.

So let’s look at 2013, where Barbados welcomed 120,584 American long stay visitors which represented over 50 per cent of the US numbers who travelled to Ecuador. Despite the initial geological and demographic disparity, their tourism planners were able to persuade the Government of Ecuador to splash out a staggering BDS$7.6 million, apparently for a single shot 30 second ‘ad’…  Continue reading

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Encouraging reports about British tourism bookings

Barbados_Flag125.jpg

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

According to a recent TravelMole article, British travel agents are reporting ‘exceptional’ days of trading so far this month. Some say forward bookings are up as much as ‘30-50 percent’ over the same period last year and that a third of summer holidays currently being offered in 2015 will be sold during January and February.

Based on early indications the most popular long haul destinations are within the Caribbean and in particular – Costa Rica, Mexico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Others far flung choices include Mauritius and the Maldives.

On the downside, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) reported that short haul holidays are being boosted by the low value of the Euro against Sterling, making the Mediterranean much more affordable.

But conversely, the abolition of the dreaded Air Passenger Tax (APD) for children below 12 years is driving demand for destinations further afield. There is also a continuing trend for travellers booking further in advance. As a former tour operator for 12 years, I can tell you just how helpful that is in the overall scheme of things. Continue reading

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Barbados Tourism Minister Richard Sealy on natural gas shortage – Hotels, businesses at fault for failing to plan for government’s failure to plan.

Barbados is paying the price for Prime Minister Stuart's wrong decisions and planning failures.

Barbados businesses and citizens are paying the price for Prime Minister Stuart’s wrong decisions, planning failures.

submitted by old todd

For the past four months – not “a few weeks” as said by The Nation newspaper – businesses, restaurants and hotels have been devastated by the failure of the Barbados Government to deliver sufficient natural gas. Every industry using natural gas has been impacted, right from biscuit maker WIBISCO that lost 60% production and 50% of export sales in December, to restaurants and hotels along the west and south coasts forced to close or suffer tourist cancellations.

Tourism Minister Richard Sealy says businesses should be ready for his government's failure to plan.

Tourism Minister Richard Sealy says businesses should be ready for his government’s failure to plan.

The harm to our tourism and manufacturing sectors will not be over when the shortage ends. It will take a year or more to regain the confidence of tourists and business customers who were directly impacted.

The government and the National Petroleum Corporation are portraying this as the failure of two wells – something that could not have been foreseen. What rot!

The truth is that Barbados has been running too close to the line for years, with known insufficient reserves and weaknesses in the distribution system. There was no surprise – this has been coming for years as predicted by industry pundits.

So now that the crisis is here, government is taking steps to import the machinery and perform repairs that should have been done years ago. That is only a stop-gap until new wells and natural gas imports can be arranged for.

And we have no money.

Government made decisions to withhold spending on distribution system maintenance and improvement. Government made decisions every year for the past seven to lower natural gas reserves and to sail closer to the disaster zone, counting on luck and hope that we would have enough gas to get through the busy tourist high season.

That was a decision and it was the wrong decision. Now the country is paying.

Further Reading

Barbados Today: Toppin: Deal with natural gas shortage

Nation News: Hoteliers told to get back-up energy

Nation News: Biscuit Blues

Advocate: PM: Efforts on to resolve natural gas shortage

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Inter-American Development Bank cancels $160m loan for Barbados Four Seasons project

barbados four seasons construction

Another monster project left to rot in the Bajan sun

The on again – off again Barbados Four Seasons resort project may have received its final coffin-nail with the IDB finally withdrawing from this decade-old debacle. (Nation News: IDB withdraws loan for Four Seasons)

How much taxpayer funding has the Barbados government poured into this mess? Are we allowed to know? Did the government transfer any of the National Insurance Scheme pension funds to the project developers?

Barbados Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler has made all sorts of claims. In March 2013 he told Bajans that our taxpayer monies would be recovered on the sale of the Four Seasons. Well Mr. Sinckler? Where’s our money?

Back then, BFP’s readers were asked if Bajan taxpayers would recover all the monies that their government invested in the Four Seasons. 50% said we’ll never know the truth, 43.5% said there was not a chance that we would recover the monies. 6.4% said we’d get back all the money, (but that was probably Minister Sinckler himself sitting there for voting for hours.)

Former PM Thompson said that supporting Four Seasons could be “extremely risky” to the DLP Government, but Freundel Stuart went ahead and did it after Thompson died.

“Now of course the first objective is not for Government to give guarantees to projects of this type. So the Government is not available, generally speaking, for that kind of thing and I want to make that abundantly clear. It is extremely risky. It has brought down Governments in other countries and I don’t intend to let it bring down my government. And it can sometimes smack of an element of favouritism and once you start it, it becomes like a rolling stone that will gather moss…and therefore, we have to be very careful,”

February 2, 2010 – Prime Minister David Thompson in the Barbados Advocate article PM defends stance on Four Seasons

Hard Times have arrived in Barbados

We’ve said it before, and we’ll keep saying it…

1/ Shun debt. Shun expenses. Live as frugally as you can.

2/ Work hard, save what you can.

3/ Look after family and friends as you are able because you might need their help someday.

4/ Learn to grow food, repair your own car, maintain your own home. Repair clothes, repair everything. Don’t buy new anything: let some other fool pay the depreciation!

5/ Smile at the tourists, make them feel welcome but never pressured. Pick up the rubbish where you can and never do anything that takes away from the beauty of Bim.

6/ Thank God for what you do have – then get back to working harder than you ever have before.

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