Category Archives: Economy

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

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

Central Bank of Barbados still hiding from news media

That's Governor Worrell on the right... er, left!

That’s Governor ‘Weasel Words’ Worrell on the right… er, left!

Over a year ago Dr. DeLisle Worrell, the head thug of the Central Bank of Barbados, took issue with a Nation News story about the central bank.

So did Worrell ask the paper for space to present his thoughts to the citizens? Did he demand an apology, retraction or correction? Did he write an article to be published in the media or on the bank’s website?

Nope… Worrell banned Nation journalists from all bank events. Worrell wants to control what the press says about him and banning them was his stupid, thuggish reaction to an article he disagreed with.

This is so typical of the Bajan elites’ contempt for freedom of the press and the right of citizens to hold government officials and institutions accountable.

Journalist Ian Bourne

Journalist Ian Bourne

Then the central bank issued a press release in an attempt to backpedal, but as our friend Ian Bourne of Bajan Reporter points out, the Central Bank of Barbados hasn’t held a quarterly statement media briefing since then.

Bajan Reporter is sticking to its guns and hasn’t published the bank’s quarterly reports, and won’t until the institution resumes press briefings. In return, the bank has cut off advertising revenues to The Bajan Reporter, but as Bourne says, he will not sacrifice his dignity at the alter of CBB’s coffers.

And as Worrell is showing – once a thug, always a thug.

Check out The Bajan Reporter for the whole story on how the Central Bank of Barbados is failing to be accountable and transparent to citizens and government alike: Bajan Reporter will carry CBB’s media statements as soon as Quarterly Press Conferences resume.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Government, Business & Banking, Economy, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press

Barbados luxury tourism image becoming a long-term liability?

Typical roadside wildlife: The not so rare Genus "plasticus baggis trashisus"

Typical roadside wildlife: The not so rare Genus “plasticus baggis trashisus”

“Barbados an upscale tourism destination? Really?

Open your eyes and your nostrils! Clean up the garbage strewn throughout this island.

Until we do that, the demographics of our tourism business won’t matter.”

Aging demographic of British tourists prompts questions about the next generation, but we have a more immediate problem…

submitted by Passin Thru

Barbados has never been, and will never be, a mass-tourism destination. We’re too far away from our main European markets, the farthest Caribbean destination from the North American markets, and not different enough from the closer South American markets to ever sustain mass-tourism at competitive rates. Nevermind considerations about the small size of the island, the need to import most supplies for tourists and the overpopulation of the south around the Bridgetown corridor – it is the higher transportation costs and longer time necessary to the destination that ensures we can never be competitive on a mass basis.

And that’s good on the cultural / lifestyle side of the coin, but bad on the economic side.

Barbados has always had to offer something other than mass tourism, and what we chose to offer was the image of luxury and upscale destination where the upper-middle class could run shoulders with the super rich and famous (or at least enjoy the same air and views.)

That choice worked in the past, but there are problems now that the younger generation of Brits (our main market) doesn’t have the money that their parents did.

Blame it on the weak UK / European economies, blame it on out of control EU socialism and mass unsustainable immigration into the UK from Third-World African, Middle East and near-Asian countries. Blame it on whatever you like, but it is obvious that younger Brits don’t have the disposable incomes that their parents once did.

So our largest group of tourists – the Brits – continue to age, while the next generation is either going elsewhere or can’t afford Barbados like they used to.

This is not a good trend for Bim.

What’s to be done about this demographic trend of aging Brit tourists and retirees?

I’m no expert, but obviously from the lack of ideas, plans and strategies emanating from government and the tourism organisations, I’m not the only one without a clue about what to do.

I do have one suggestion though…

Barbados is an upscale tourism destination? Really?

Open your eyes and your nostrils! Clean up the garbage strewn throughout this island.

Until we do that, the demographics of our tourism business won’t matter and we will continue to lose our image of an upscale destination.

Passin Thru

 

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

United States again puts Barbados GOVERNMENT on watch list for copyright violations and theft of intellectual property.

US Trade Representative Barbados

“Cable operators and television and radio broadcasters, some government-owned (e.g., in Barbados), reportedly refuse to negotiate with the PROs for compensation for public performances of music.”

… from the Office of the United States Trade Representative 2015 annual review of intellectual property rights (Special 301 Report)

From the report…

Barbados remains on the Watch List in 2015. The United States continues to have concerns about the interception and retransmission of U.S. cable programming by local cable operators in Barbados and throughout the Caribbean region without the consent of, and without adequately compensating, U.S. rights holders. The United States also has continuing concerns about the refusal of Barbadian TV and radio broadcasters and cable and satellite operators to pay for public performances of music. (See Section I). The United States urges the Government of Barbados to take all administrative actions necessary, without undue delay, to ensure that all composers and songwriters receive the royalties they are owed for the public performance of their musical works. In one case, the local PRO won a case before the Supreme Court regarding the appropriate tariff to be paid for broadcasts of its members’ music, and six years after that decision the PRO still has not received its monies because the requisite hearing at the administrative level has not yet been conducted.

In addition, the United States urges the Government of Barbados to adopt modern copyright legislation that protects works in both physical and online environments and to take steps to prevent the unauthorized and uncompensated retransmission of copyrighted musical and audiovisual content. The United States looks forward to working with Barbados to resolve these issues.

U.S. musical works are being publicly performed by radio and TV broadcasting stations without obtaining licenses from the appropriate public performances rights organizations (PROs). This problem has been reported again this year in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In some cases, the alleged infringing broadcaster is licensed by the government or is government-owned, which makes such actions even more troubling.

Cable operators and television and radio broadcasters, some government-owned (e.g., in Barbados), reportedly refuse to negotiate with the PROs for compensation for public performances of music. PROs also assert that they have struggled to advance their legal claims in the local courts and, even when successful, cannot obtain payments. These problems have been reported in Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago as well as Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

With regard to cable and satellite broadcasting of copyrighted network programming, although Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines currently maintain a statutory licensing regime that includes a requirement to pay royalties to rights holders, reportedly, royalties are not being paid.

Download the full report PDF 500kb here

US Department of State Barbados page

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Loveridge: After unprecedented government concessions to Sandals, the company pays only lip service to Bajan agricultural suppliers.

Sandals' Butch Stewart doesn't look like he's starving to death.

Sandals’ Butch Stewart doesn’t look like he’s starving, but little of what he and his resort guests eat is Bajan.

“What must be clear to Government, is that after granting the unprecedented unilateral concessions to Sandals (which almost two years later not a single other hotel on Barbados has been able to obtain), Sandals must do more than give lip service to supporting our agricultural sector.”

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

First let me declare my absolute and total support for those advocating the use and consumption of more locally produced items especially by our tourism industry.

When the head of the Barbados Agricultural Society recently boasted that Sandals Barbados were purchasing 1,000 lbs of local produce each week, no-one thought to question him as to what this actually means. In all fairness to James Paul, he stated that they were trying to increase this amount, but let’s look at the current figures.

If the hotel is full that is a capacity of 580 guests each night who have every meal and snack included in the cost. This equates to a volume of just 4 ounces per person per day.

And that is before any allowance is made for the quoted 600 staff and management taking meals on the property.

The United States is currently the largest market for Sandals and the average American, according to internet informed information, is 36.6 years of age, is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 190 lbs if male, or 5 feet 4 inches and 164 lbs if female. Again based on averages each American consumes nearly 5.5 lbs of food per day or a short ton per annum.

Over a year this includes 29 lbs of French Fries, 23 lbs of pizza, 24 lbs of ice cream, 53 gallons of soda, 24 lbs of artificial sweetener and a staggering 2,736 lbs of sodium, which is 47 per cent above the recommended medical limit. All of which add up to 2,700 calories daily.

The question should also be asked, is the average Sandals guest likely to consume more or less than they do at home than on a fully all-inclusive vacation?

In reality then the 4 ounces of ‘local produce’ represents less than 4 per cent of consumables used daily, therefore a proverbial drop in the ocean. 
Continue reading

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy