Tag Archives: Barbados Tourism

Santander study names Barbados as most expensive destination for British tourists

Lots of beaches, sand, surf, sky everywhere. Why should Brits pay more for Barbados?

Lots of beaches, sand, surf, sky everywhere. Why should Brits pay more for Barbados?

Wonderful. Just what we need ’bout this island.

BFP pundit Adrian Loveridge has been pounding this subject for years. Looks like nobody has been listening…

UAE and Barbados most expensive destinations for British holidaymakers

The UAE and Barbados have been ranked the most expensive destinations for British tourists in a new survey published by Santander.

According to the report, the two destinations cost Brits more than £100 per day in spending money. By comparison, Poland and India are the cheapest destinations, costing just £30 per day on average.

These figures do not include the cost of hotel accommodation or flights.

With a direct flight to Barbados costing an average of £3,136 – flying out on 27 July, the busiest week of the summer – a couple going away for two weeks could expect to pay around £12,900 for their summer holiday, once accommodation is included, the report stated.

… continue reading the full report at Travel Daily UK

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Weak Canadian dollar brings challenges for Barbados tourism industry

tax-evasion-canada-barbados

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

It is already more than halfway through the year and this is a time perhaps that our tourism policy planners are focusing on what marketing strategies can be effectively put in place to build on the first quarter increase in visitor arrivals.

As always, it is almost impossible to accurately predict what is going to happen in our global marketplaces and how that could impact on numbers, average stay and spend.

Important issues include the fall in the value of the euro earlier this year and whether this will be further impacted with the eventual solution to the Greek crisis. What effect will the first Conservative British government budget since 1995 have on the disposable income of most Brits? And finally, there is increased speculation about an impending recession in Canada, just at a time we were experiencing improved arrivals and airlift.

Having lived in Canada for some time, I know there is a psychological threshold when the Canadian dollar falls below 80 cents compared to the United States dollar. Naturally, Canadians then start to question whether they are truly obtaining value for money at holiday destination choices. It becomes an imperative to clearly demonstrate that we can offer a competitive product by at least attempting to reinforce component parts of the tourism industry that are more affordable.

While we will never be able to compete with the mass tourism regional offerings like Mexico, Dominican Republic, Cuba and alike, Barbados still has a myriad of more affordable accommodation choices. Of course lodging is only part of the equation, so personally I think there is room for a re-DISCOVER-like promotion specifically aimed at the Canadian market that helps minimise the currency value differential, which include not just restaurants, but attractions, activities, car rental and shopping.   Continue reading

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Will Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Cruises base at least one new cruise ship in Barbados?

Sir Richard Branson - lucky old bastard!

Sir Richard Branson – lucky old bastard! *

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

While the concept was rolled out some time ago, the details were largely announced in a media conference which took place at the Museum Park in Miami last week.

Never shy of dominating the global limelight, Sir Richard Branson announced that Virgin Cruises should have three brand new Italian built ships in the water by 2020, each with a mid-size capacity of 2,800 passengers and around 110,000 gross tons. www.virgincruises.com

I will not insult readers to guess the planned colour of these new vessels and it perhaps sets new parameters for the cruising industry, opening it up to a whole new market with a brand that is among the strongest on the planet. The placard statement ‘let’s make waves’ emblazoned on the arrival helicopter carrying Sir Richard said it all.

Virgin will have a huge marketing advantage by having its own airline and through the joint holding it has with Delta Airlines, the United States second largest carrier.

The first ship will operate out of the Port of Miami, the cruise capital of the world, with a quoted throughput of 4.8 million multi-day passengers in 2014 operating 7 day Caribbean cruises.

But there is an incredible opportunity for Barbados – if we can make it happen. With the Delta flights servicing two of the largest airports in the USA, Atlanta and New York and Virgin Atlantic proving the only scheduled carrier to operating direct flights out of two major British hubs, Gatwick and Manchester, could the second or third ship, homeport from Barbados?

This would give travellers a myriad of holiday options. Fly from the UK to Barbados, cruise to another island and fly back to England from there. All with the same airline and cruise brand.

By enticing Virgin Cruises to Barbados, it could directly benefit us in so many ways. Stay and cruise options, provisioning and higher employment on the ships with more ‘locals’ are among the potential.

So what could persuade Virgin Cruises to position one ship here?

Of course there are historic precedents of subsidising selected tourism partners.   Continue reading

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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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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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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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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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