Tag Archives: Sandals Resorts

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. 
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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

Crop Over 2014 under pressure

“Has Barbados Crop Over become less attractive?

Should the blame be on higher airfares, especially in the case of T & T – or are there other mitigating factors?”

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

July 2013 recorded the lowest number of long stay visitors (47,953) during the same period for 13 consecutive years, so I find it not at all surprising that our policymakers have discussed dramatically curtailing certain events for Crop Over 2014. However, I believe a better analysis is needed to explain away the reasons behind this dismal performance. If you look at the principal markets in the last two years, the figures will reveal that the biggest losses in July 2013 were from the USA (down 10 per cent), Trinidad and Tobago (down 9.2 per cent) and what are defined as Other Countries (down 12.4 per cent).

In all, July 2013 recorded 3,318 less stay over visitors than 2012. This was on the heels of a loss of an overall 6,984 visitors when compared with July 2011. In July 2012 the largest declines were USA (down 18.1 per cent), Trinidad and Tobago (down 10.2 per cent), Other Caricom (down 20 per cent) and Other Countries (down 13.1 per cent). So for the last two years a combined decline of over 10,000 stay-over visitors for the month of July alone.

Has Barbados Crop Over become less attractive? Should the blame be on higher airfares, especially in the case of T & T – or are there other mitigating factors?

Perhaps more of a surprise is the announcement by Sandals Resorts to delay the re-opening of their Barbados property to 28th January 2015. With the frequently discussed dearth of construction work it would beg the question, why could the vaunted US$65 million renovation project not be completed on time – specially when you take into account that the additional lost six weeks covers what the hospitality industry considers the most profitable and highest occupancy period of the entire year?

At published rack rates that could equate to a revenue deficit of between US$7.7 and US$19 million for the 42 day additional closure! As it has been already established the vast majority of Sandals earnings are collected offshore, so the ‘real’ amount that Barbados will lose cannot be easily calculated.

Of even more concern nationally is the roughly 3,000 airline seats, which may not be filled as a result of the prolonged shutdown that could influence frequency and will detrimentally impact overall long stay visitor arrival numbers. While not openly discussed, some thought has to be given to neighbouring accommodation providers in the immediate vicinity of Sandals Casuarina and the economic negative consequences that ten months of construction will have on occupancy. Possibly Government has factored in some sort of relief for these disadvantaged properties with exemption of land taxes for the period.

While the summer may be the ideal time to undertake this work, I am sure very few hotels could afford to write off all or part of a peak winter season as a result of prolonged redevelopment with its associated noise, dust, discomfort and disruption.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

Sandals deal a bad deal

beaches by sandals

A fabulous read at Groundation Grenada…

… considering the DLP government gave the same sort of outrageous concessions to Sandals Barbados.

“To lay, with one hand, the power of the government on the property of the citizen and with the other to bestow it upon favored individuals to aid private enterprises and build up private fortunes is none the less a robbery…” ~ Samuel Miller

In an act screaming of blunderbuss and willful myopia, last weekend, the Government of Grenada saw it fit to award a multi-million dollar private enterprise (Sandals Resort International) a multiple tax break….

In layman’s terms (because taxation jargon is notoriously opaque) this means that Sandals pays zero taxes on all profits it makes in Grenada. For thirty years.

It certainly isn’t our intention to belittle an investment of $100 million US dollars (or rather far less, as earlier explained) in these tight economic times. Even with the promise of an additional 200 jobs raising rising to a headcount of 400 based on Sandals’ press release.

Still the forbearance on the revenues given a waiver in this deal strikes as way too much given for way too little.

Must we always genuflect before these gods of “foreign investment”? Without a doubt, with some ingenuity, creativity and imagination, our own local manufacturing and agro industries could be supported in a similar fashion to create much more than 200 jobs, and without requiring such deep tax cuts.

This decision is also a foolish one because it belies our naïve and amateur approach to marketing and foreign investment and our inability to recognise that our country is a partner, not a charity.

… a few sentences culled from a brilliant article at Groundation Grenada: Deal or No Deal: Grenada-Sandals Partnership Debunked

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S. Brian Samuel on Sandals in Grenada “I know where a few skeletons are buried…”

beaches by sandals

In view of the recent Barbados Sandals/Beaches deal, we travel to Grenada where S. Brian Samuel presents…

A Case Study of Hotel Investment in Grenada

S-Brian-Samuel Barbados Sandals

by S. Brian Samuel

1. Introduction

I recently published an article entitled “Attracting Foreign Investment to Grenada” in which I noted some of the pitfalls to investing in Grenada. In the article I briefly mentioned the case of LaSource resort, to illustrate the use of fiscal incentives as a way of securing the Sandals chain investment in Grenada.

On reflection, the story of La Source is worthy of a deeper look. The LaSource saga, for indeed it is a saga; with ups, downs and plot twists worthy of any soap opera; is a classic illustration of what that can go right — and wrong — with hotel investments in small Caribbean islands. I guess I am qualified to write the story; for I was there from before the beginning; until after the end.

2. Before the Beginning

In 1990 I was working in Barbados for the Caribbean Project Development Facility, an offshoot of the World Bank. My job was to raise financing for Caribbean businesses, and one of my earliest (successful!) projects was La Source hotel in Grenada, which was being promoted by a local developer called Leon Taylor.

The first time I met Taylor, he wasn’t in a particularly good mood, as he had become frustrated from having to deal with the financing agencies, one of them being the agency I worked for. He fixed his good eye on me and growled “What the f___ do you want?” or words to that effect! But things went steadily upwards from there, and I ultimately ended up raising US$15 million for LaSource, in debt and equity financing from a consortium of development banks. That in itself was a long and winding road; including one memorable day when I finally cornered Leon into going over the final Business Plan for the resort, line by painstaking line – under a coconut tree on Sandy Island, during Carriacou Regatta!

In all my 20 years at the World Bank, LaSource remains my all-time proudest project — and there were quite a few contenders. For a start it reconnected me to Grenada, my home I never knew; and that feeling carried over into a sense of pride in a job well done, when I stood side-by-side with Leon Taylor on the gala opening night of LaSource in December 1993. When I retired from the World Bank and returned home in 2008, I worked as Executive Director of LaSource from its reopening in February 2008 until October 2010. So I know where a few skeletons are buried.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy, Grenada