Tag Archives: Barbados Economy

Encouraging reports about British tourism bookings

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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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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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Falling fuel prices no guarantee of increased tourism – Barbados must work smart and hard in a tough market

Barbados Grantley Airport Tarmac

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

Most of us, of course, warmly welcome the current fall in fuel prices which probably in the hospitality sector be demonstrated by the greatest savings in electricity prices, especially those properties who have extensive air conditioning units.

But almost needlessly to say, that Government will collect a lower level of taxes and VAT, so it’s a two edged sword.

I also wonder how long it will take our limited number of distribution companies to pass on the benefit of reduced delivery costs as a result of cheaper petrol and diesel prices. Assuming of course, they will pass on the benefits at all.

Experts in the aviation industry do not expect any dramatic reduction in airfares and again it may work initially against the consumer’s interest while used aircraft values rise as fuel falls, slowing down the delivery of newer most fuel-efficient aircraft in some cases.

Across our major tourism markets the halving of oil prices will hopefully give people more disposable income, perhaps most notably in the United Kingdom, where we have witnessed a recent significant fall in the value of Sterling against the US Dollar.

The Key to Success for Barbados tourism

Judging by the unprecedented level of email holiday bargains on offer in the UK I have tracked, there is absolutely no room for complacency this year and particularly in the more challenging softer summer months. Key to the success of this will be to portray the destination as offering real value-for-money. And I do not mean attempting to achieve the almost impossible objective by making everything cheaper, but ensuring that every product offering is as good as we can get it and going that extra mile to make visitors feel rightly special.  Continue reading

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Thank you to all who work over Christmas taking care of our visitors

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Good possibilities for 2015

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

Around this time of the year it is difficult not to spare a few thoughts for all those involved in tourism, directly or otherwise, who sacrifice their quality precious time with family to take care of our visitors over the Christmas period. Of course they are not alone with other sectors including the essential services assuming the same responsibility.

As someone, through work commitments, that has only celebrated a personal Christmas four times during the past 40 years, my thanks and admiration to you all for your dedication.

There have been many predictions and projections made recently over an anticipated increase in long stay visitors in 2015 when compared with this year.  Continue reading

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Barbados welcomes thousands of cruise ship visitors with closed shops on Sundays

Quantum of the Seas Barbados

Welcome to Barbados – It’s Sunday so we’re closed

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

I picked up on a newspaper article recently that highlighted, what was described as the world’s third largest cruise ship, Quantum of the Seas ‘dropped anchor’ in Barbados last week with its ‘4,600 passengers and 1,600 crew’.

You would think along with other ships that arrived the same day, what a wonderful opportunity for sales. The problem was it happened on a Sunday and according to various social media sites the majority of shops were closed.

I then thought of the Pelican Village Craft Centre and was frankly amazed that they do not appear to have a website or Facebook presence.

Individual businesses operating out of the location may have, but if you are a potential customer and have not been here before, how would you know?

“Quantum of the Seas coming to Barbados should inspire confidence in the cruise industry specifically and tourism generally. It means that we will experience tremendous increases in our numbers and along with other initiatives produce expanded economic opportunities for Barbadians.”

Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy speaking to Barbados Today on June 6, 2013. A shame that many shop owners remain closed when thousands of tourists are wandering about looking for places to spend their vacation cash.

Continue reading

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Almost one year since Forbes called Barbados ‘Cyprus West’ – have we changed for the better?

Barbados Finance Minister Sinckler

Has Finance Minister Sinckler done the right thing… or is the situation so far out of hand that no government could be effective now?

Barbados, “the Jewel of the Caribbean,” the tiny easternmost island in the Lesser Antilles with 288,000 year-around inhabitants and lots of very rich foreign visitors and investors, is in the throes of a financial meltdown.

While its entire GDP is now only worth about $4.2 billion, and its population is smaller than that of Duluth Minnesota, this crisis is worth examining closely. For here we have a very precise example of the “finance curse,” where excessive dependence on high debt, an aggressive offshore haven industry, very low tax rates for high-net worth investors, foreign companies, and banks, and high tax rates for everyone else, have essentially brought this little country to its knees.

… from the December 2013 Forbes online article Postcard From Barbados — a.k.a. ‘Cyprus West’

See BFP’s January 2014 article Happy New Year 2014: Forbes announces that Barbados is on its knees, in a financial meltdown.

 

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Does Barbados have a problem in Atlanta, Georgia?

“I have always thought if we cannot entice 320 new visitors (two full B737-800 aircraft) a week out of a population of six million who live within an hour’s drive of Atlanta’s Hartsfield airport, then we have a problem.”

November tourism stats will tell all!

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

November, I believe, will be the first litmus test month of whether or not any changes that have been taking place over this year in the marketing of Barbados will indicate any recovery of long stay visitor numbers to our shores.

November 2013 recorded a total of 42,690 stay-over arrivals, which was the lowest for that month during the last 11 years. Three out of four major markets showed a decline, USA down 745, Canada down 49 and the UK down 56 persons.

2014 heralds the hosting of the fifth Barbados Food Wine and Rum Festival and by now there should be some effective way of measuring if this event has been growing sufficiently to ensure that the promotion funds ‘invested’ are producing a justifiable return on investment.

Clearly overall arrival numbers do not indicate this, or if they are, then it’s to the detriment of other periods of the month.

From next month Delta Airlines return from Atlanta and operate a new route from JFK/New York. These flights will provide an additional seating capacity of 640 passengers per week alone.

Air Canada will shortly change aircraft type to B777 on the Toronto service which adds over 1,000 seats each week if comparing with the smaller A319.

“Based on December 2013 arrivals figures (51,027 across all markets), which again were the lowest for that month in eleven consecutive years we need to record a near 37 per cent increase solely out of North America during December 2014, if we stand any hope of filling those extra seats.”

And that is before we even look at any added capacity that JetBlue or WestJet may have scheduled and a third weekly Montreal flight.  Continue reading

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