Two comments recently posted by BFP readers Adrian Loveridge and Dennis Jones question whether Barbados Tourism is paying enough attention to the large markets in the Americas. We’re chasing after the Chinese market which is fine, but why should we be ignoring a substantial market that is much much closer?
Fired BTA Member asks inconvenient questiions
by Adrian Loveridge…
I am not sure what investment is needed by the BTA to attract economically viable numbers of residents from mainland China to Barbados for the purpose of tourism.
Straight line distance from Beijing to Barbados is 8,772 miles, so a minimum of 17 flying hours non-stop, assuming that we could fill a suitable plane that could fly that distance within permissable crewing requirements.
You would also have to ask (as many people have) WHY they would travel to Barbados, especially with resorts like Hainan Island virtually on their doorstep?
Also WHY any investment to procure tourists from China would be put above our sleeping giant to the south?
South America has a combined population of over 382 million. Add the other 40 million in Central America and its difficult to fathom how we cannot fill just ONE aircraft per week.
Brazil with 186 million persons alone is within remarkably easy reach. Belem, the capital of Para state is just over TWO flying hours away and offers nearly 40 other connecting Brazilian cities.
COPA, the Panama based airline could provide the best one-stop connections into almost every part of South and Central America to Barbados with the single risk of supporting a 98 seater jet three or four days a week flying Panama/Barbados.
I also have to ask the question again.
We are are now just 15 days away from seeing an additional nearly 100,000 airline seats per year flying into Barbados from the United States. So nearly DOUBLE the capacity from a market that has not achieved an annual growth of more than an average of 1.3% over the last seven consecutive years. Put that in perpective and its less than an additional 2,000 seats per year.
Having just returned from six days in the USA, I personally saw no evidence of television or print media advertising of Barbados.
by Dennis Jones & Colin L. Beadon…
Dennis Jones, writer of the excellent Living In Barbados blog and Colin L. Beadon are having a talk in BFP’s Open Discussion section.
We’d say, we’d better all start learning Chinese. If we want to keep tabs on our possible offshore oil, our airlines, and business in general, the teaching of Chinese better start,…. right away in our schools, and in our newspapers. Or to use an expression in Trini Chinese, we are going to end up with ‘Macafushait’ ,…. meaning ,…. ‘Leftovers’.
A lot of students (~100) are already on scholarships to learn Chinese (Mandarin), I understand from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. That’s a big number relative to the total national and student population. It still begs the question about whether focus on China makes much/more sense than tapping the large and close markets in Latin America and the USA.
You can also check out our earlier article: Everyone Has The Same Idea: Chinese Tourism Will Save Us!