Category Archives: Traveling and Tourism

More great photos from Dominick Gravel

Vietnam Saigon Photo Dominick Gravel

(click photo for larger)

New Places & Subjects

Almost a year ago I wrote of accidentally discovering Dominick Gravel’s photo-blog during one of my aimless middle of the night surfing safaris. What a treat…

And so it was that I discovered the photos of Dominick Gravel early Monday morning when I couldn’t sleep.

I’d say I “wasted” two hours at his website and blog, because I should have been sleeping so I could be human for work in the morning, but I couldn’t stop. Mr. Gravel’s photos took me around the world and every one of them was more than art. Playing lot cricket in India, school girls in Japan, riding bicycles in Nepal, a smile from the Dalai Lama, speeding across the plains of Tanzania, an alleyway in Hong Kong, releasing a captured bear somewhere. Who is this guy?

… from BFP’s We discover Dominick Gravel’s blog – a creative feast for eyes and imagination

Last night I found that Mr. Gravel has posted many new and fabulous photos of Vietnam, Korea, Paris and Australia, and more people, people, people!

Have a look at Dominick Gravel’s DKGphoto.com and his info website, but I warn you… be prepared to blow at least an hour. Well worth your time.

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Filed under Celebrities, Spark of the Day!, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

Muslim riots in Maldives – A Barbados vacation looks better all the time!

Sex outside marriage = flogging in Maldives

Hundreds riot in support of Islamic Sharia law

Rioters say Government under the influence of “Jews” and “Christian priests” to weaken Islam in the Maldives.

(It’s the JEWS!!! JEWS!!! JEWS!!! I tell you! And those damned infidel Christian beer drinkers too. Pass me a Banks Beer please… Ta!)

As we said in our recent post about the Maldives: Maldives Muslim crazies are good news for Barbados Tourism

The Maldives, a group of over 1,100 tiny coral islands, is often compared with Barbados as a vacation and retirement destination. Although far-removed from each other geographically, both countries compete for the same United Kingdom and European travelers.

The rise of Islamists demanding Sharia law is threatening the Maldives islands’ tourism industry. I doesn’t matter how pretty and relaxing the place is: when folks are in fear they will be jailed for possessing a bible, when they are cursed as swine and infidels, when women are publicly flogged for having sex out of wedlock and when a tourist can’t buy a beer on a hot afternoon – people start choosing other travel destinations.

Considering a Maldives vacation or honeymoon? Think again!

The government on Wednesday raised fears of Islamic extremism taking hold in the Indian Ocean atoll nation, which is best known for its upmarket tourism and as a destination for honeymooners.

The foreign ministry said it was “extremely concerned” by an increase in extremist rhetoric used by the government’s rivals that could lead to “stigmatization, stereotyping and incitement to religious violence and hatred”.

There have been anti-Semitic protests recently about the transport ministry’s decision to allow direct flights from Israel, while a restaurant that hung up Christmas decorations in 2010 was also targeted.

… from AFP News More arrests in Maldives as protests spread

New (tongue in cheek) Barbados Tourism Authority slogan for Maldives markets…

Vacation in Barbados: We promise we won’t flog you for bringing a bible or having sex without being married!

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Human Rights, Religion, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

Adrian Loveridge shares “secrets” of tourism business success – but BTA and government aren’t interested

UPDATED: December 3, 2011

With the breaking story that Tourism Minister Sealy took 135 Ministry employees to Guyana for a weekend “retreat”, we were reminded of this recent post by Adrian Loveridge.

As far as we at BFP are concerned…

Sealy blew it on the optics alone. If he thinks that the public will support this “retreat” in Guyana, he’s out of his mind.

Instead, he should have had groups of employees staying at hotels in Barbados and then getting together at the Hilton or other venues to discuss whatever it is they are going to discuss. As Adrian said in his original piece, he seldom sees anyone from the government at his place and he’s not alone.

Unless Guyana’s tourism product is so much better than ours that the intent was to show everyone at the Ministry how things are supposed to be done?

In which case, we are really in trouble.

Original post first published October 18, 2011…

“It’s almost as if the key decision makers have tried to make tourism more complicated and moved away from the simple things that actually make it work very well.”

Tourism MATTERS – Sharing a business formula that works

by Adrian Loveridge - small hotel owner

Back in the nineteen seventies, after working in Canada, I returned to the United Kingdom, taking two temporary non-travel related jobs to establish enhanced credibility for the purpose of obtaining a house mortgage. Both were important learning experiences which I have never regretted.

The first was working as a salesman in a branch of a high-end consumer electronics retailer selling audio equipment products made by manufacturers that included Bang & Olufsen and Roberts. The manager instilled a valuable lesson that has stayed with me for life. His view was that if you are ever going to effectively sell anything, whatever it was, that you had better know everything possible about it.

I think he sensed a genuine interest and allowed me to take, what at that time, were very expensive pieces of equipment home at night and weekends to familiarise myself with their features.

Months when later I formed a tour operator company, this acquired wisdom formed an integral part  of the business masterplan. Irrespective of the product or service, intimate knowledge of every aspect is critical, if you are going to fully understand your marketplace and prospective customer.

Surprisingly then, even after owning and operating a hotel for nearly twenty four years, I can count on two hands with fingers to spare, the number of senior Barbados Tourism Authority officials, both locally and overseas, Ministers of Tourism, Permanent Secretaries and other leading figures within the public sector that have visited our property. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

Ricky Skerritt: Cruise ships leaving Caribbean for more profit. Tourists say that’s not the entire story.

UK Air Passenger Duty hitting Barbados hard

The chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation just told TTG Travel Trade Gazette that the Caribbean is starting to feel the effects of cruise ships moving to European and Asian waters. Ricky Skerritt also told TTG that the Air Passenger Duty is a killer when it comes to one of Barbados’ most important markets: the Brits …

“The ships are going wherever they can get the best yield, which we understand, because the cost of flying to the Dominican Republic or Barbados is so much higher for European passengers, especially from Britain with Air Passenger Duty.

“We are constantly talking to the lines to see what we can do to stimulate demand, but it will be very difficult to bring them back overnight,”

Those ships aren’t returning to the Caribbean anytime soon

Mr. Skerritt’s attempt to put some hope and an upbeat spin on the situation is understandable, but logic tells us that the decisions made by various cruise lines to abandon the Caribbean either for the summer or permanently will not be reversed anytime soon.

The cruise lines did their homework, gathered their information and then decided upon new strategies. This didn’t happen overnight. New tours, marketing strategies and materials were probably prepared a year or more in advance. People book cruises for the destinations and also for specific ships that they know and favour – and many cruise veterans plan their trips years ahead. “Darling, let’s do Asia in the summer, then Africa the year after, then Alaska the following summer.”

Once again, logic tells us that once a ship leaves Barbados and the Caribbean on a permanent basis – it may be years before we see it or a replacement tie up a Bridgetown.

Tourists say: The cost of getting to Barbados isn’t the only problem

An old friend alerted us to this story and also to the reaction on some of the cruising blogs and discussion forums.

The reaction to Mr. Skerritt’s comments by experienced Caribbean cruise passengers from the UK is both revealing and disturbing.

Here’s what the conversation is looking like at the Cruises.co.uk discussion forum… and it’s not pretty. Have a read and think what these folks are saying, and how they are making their vacation plans…

“I can understand their concerns but I have little sympathy with them. Until fifteen years ago the Caribbean was seen as the ultimate winter destination for Europeans. The prices became vastly inflated, hotels/resorts did not reinvest their profits and standards began to slip. But almost out of the blue the other resorts developed rapidly (Maldives etc) offering Europeans great value and the Middle East offering out of this world amenities It’s a lesson which all tourist destinations should heed, don’t take the tourists for granted, someone is always willing to offer them a “better holiday experience””

… Alan, Newcastle-upon-Tyne Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

Barbados Tourism Authority’s Austin Husbands: Keep quiet about bad beaches, environmental damage.

UPDATED March 27, 2013

The tourist numbers are tanking – they have been tanking for a long time. Global financial problems are taking a toll, it’s true, but our numbers are especially bad and worse than most in the Caribbean.

Many folks think that a little more advertising will take care of things. That might get us a few more tourists, but that won’t cure the foundational problems that we have with our tourism product.

This article from our own Nevermind Kurt tells it fuh truth! We drove the old tourism economy taxi right into the ground without changing the oil or performing normal maintenance. We just made money with that old taxi until it could go no longer and we didn’t save for a new one. So here we are trying to make our living driving an old rust bucket of a taxi while everyone around us has a shiny new taxi. No contest where the customer will take their money!

Here’s our original article…

“We cannot continue with the Barbados Tourism Authority’s current philosophy of advertising instead of ensuring product quality. We have to change the road we’re on, or there will be nothing left for our children.” …BFP staffer Nevermind Kurt

“Maybe BTA should advertise some derelict properties as well. LOL Sometimes I wonder if we do not realize the damage we do to our island’s reputation Maybe frustration sets in but Barbados must come first CZMU and other agencies have a mandate, but quite often MONEY just is not there. ”

BTA Deputy Director Austin Husbands chides Mullins Bay Blog for posting an expose of destroyed beaches and empty hotels: You probably will not see this in the glossy Barbados tourism literature

Memo to the BTA: Deceiving tourists doesn’t help Barbados in the long run

by Nevermind Kurt (with Marcus)

When I first read Austin Husbands’ astonishing comment on the St. Peter, Barbados Facebook group, I became angry and started to write a slashing rant aimed squarely at the BTA’s Deputy Director. Then I sat back and thought about the tremendous pressures that our tourism industry and every Bajan is facing at this moment. I also thought that Mr. Husbands believes that he and our tourism industry are trapped by circumstance into carrying on with more of the same: concentrating on promotion rather than on product quality. (ie: “We need the tourist money NOW… no time for foundational changes. Advertise MORE!”)

I’m no longer angry at Mr. Husbands. I think he’s wrong in his approach, but I understand where he’s coming from. I understand his generation’s current desperation and exasperation that while the BTA spends tens of millions of dollars advertising and promoting a Perfect Image of Barbados, concerned Bajans and disgruntled visitors are posting photos of the truth online. Has Mr. Husbands ever read TripAdvisor or Carnival Cruise Lines forums? He should… every day.

“We ordinary Bajans and many of our Barbados regulars have a fundamental disagreement with the Mr. Husbands, the BTA and our political leadership about where our tourism industry is taking our country.”

Ordinary Bajans believe that there is no real plan, that it’s all happening willy nilly and that the long term good of Barbados is being shunted aside for short term profits and personal gain at the expense of our children’s future. Irreparable damage is being done – socially and environmentally – yet the vast majority of our tourism “leaders” can only see the next financial quarter. I understand that, but I’m also saying it’s time to get off the road we’re on. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

Welcome to Barbados. Air Canada deliberately left your luggage at home.

British Columbia couple abused by Air Canada

We’re used to hearing stories of lost and delayed luggage concerning LIAT Airlines (Leave Island Any Time), but we’ve never heard anything like the current news about Air Canada.

A couple from Kelowana British Columbia on Canada’s Pacific Ocean coast flew all the way to Barbados only to discover that Air Canada DELIBERATELY didn’t load their luggage!!!

Their luggage was left off the flight because the aircraft couldn’t hold any more. No one told the couple when they switched aircraft in Toronto, and they wasted several hours looking for the bags before boarding their flight to Barbados. The bags were not overweight or unusually sized: Air Canada “regularly” does this to customers, according to a Canadian CBC article.

In this case the wife’s bag arrived two days later and the husband’s bag arrived four days later, probably just in time to head back from their week’s vacation in Barbados.

I guess there are two morals to the story:

1/ You should always pack your carry-on with the expectation that the main bag won’t ever arrive in Barbados.

and

2/ You’re nothing but cattle to Air Canada. Get used to it!

Further Reading

CBC News Canada: Air Canada leaves baggage behind intentionally

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Canada, Consumer Issues, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

Cruise ship crisis in Barbados?

Another one gone: Fred Olsen’s Braemar pulls out

What a terrible week for Barbados tourism. First it was Royal Caribbean announcing the removal of all its ships from the southern Caribbean during summer of 2012, then we heard that the Sea Princess won’t be here next winter. It’s being transferred to Australia under the P & O Australia brand.

Today we just got news that Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is leaving Barbados. The Braemar is a regular in Bridgetown and unloads 1000 passengers every time it pulls in, but it’s outta here after next winter.

Unfortunately the cruise lines are citing fuel costs to get to Barbados because we’re at the end of the line compared other islands that are a little closer to Miami and to Europe too. So that’s not something under our control.

What we can do though, is to make sure that every tourist that sets foot in Barbados has a positive experience, and especially so when they meet Bajans in the tourism industry and while out and about. A little smile and a friendly comment can go a long way to create a positive impression for all of us.

Four time Guinness World Record holder Garry Sowerby writes about a trip to Barbados in today’s Las-Vegas Review-Journal and says that he and his wife came away from our island with “a head full of warm memories that will make us smile for a long time” thanks in part to an unknown Barbados Police Constable. I wish we knew that officer’s name because he deserves thanks from every one of us.

Folks, we’re all in the tourist business on this rock and each one of us has to do their part. Remember that next time you see some lost soul trying to decipher a map or a road sign.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism