Tag Archives: Travel

Exclusive Breaking: UK Travel Agent now selling St. Lucia holidays “10 to 1” over Barbados!

In a stunning reversal of the way things were only six months ago, travel agent Sandra McLeavy of Holiday Experts says she is now selling St. Lucia holidays over Barbados ten to one in favour of St. Lucia!

Ms. McLeavy attributes the turnabout to a heavy tourism campaign by St. Lucia and some changes over the last little while in Barbados. As Ms. McLeavy has visited Barbados some 13 times, we Bajans and the Barbados Tourism Authority might want to at the very least give her views a read. Continue reading

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Say Hello to Sophie & Joe – Having a great time in Barbados

Read their blog, give them a wave and buy Joe a Banks!

We stumbled across Adventures & Misadventures of Joe and Sophie, the blog of two Americans who are taking a break in Barbados to get away from the snows of Chicago. Monday will be their fifth day on the island and by the look of their blog Joe and Sophie are having a great time.

The only small “problem” they encountered was when Joe needed a cold beer and couldn’t find one. (He should have shouted out in Grape Hall and we would have been happy to help him out!)

Their blog has some excellent photos and stories of their first days in Barbados and some interesting tales from their last vacation to Vietnam.

Why not stop by their blog and let them know how much we appreciate them choosing Barbados for their annual vacation… Adventures & Misadventures of Joe and Sophie

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

Six weeks later: Still no Spanish, Portuguese language welcome on Barbados Tourism or Investment & Development websites.

Stephen-Lashley

MP Stephen Lashley wants to make BTA overcome 'island time' performance.

Last week the government member for Christ Church West Central, Stephen Lashley, stood up in Parliament and talked about the need for Barbados to tap into new international markets for tourism and industry. As tactfully as possible (considering he is a member of the government), Mr. Lashley made the point that our Barbados Tourism Authority and Barbados Investment and Development Corporation aren’t doing nearly the job that they should be doing.

To be fair, Lashley talked about “encouraging” the BTA and BIDC and being positive about their efforts. He also chided the Opposition for being “negative” as he delivered the traditional Bajan milquetoast speech about “what we’re gonna do” etc etc etc. His central message for those listening at the BTA and BIDC came through though: “FOR GOD’S SAKE JUST BLOODY-WELL DO SOMETHING!”

Good luck with your encouragement, Mr. Lashley. Just don’t hold your breath waiting for results.

Let’s get real for a minute, shall we?

Over six weeks ago, Minister of International Business and International Transport George Hutson gave a press conference where he mused about the possibilities of targeting South American markets to fill the tourism void during the “off” season – and to try to raise some new business opportunities.

At that time Barbados Free Press said that IF the government and the Minister were serious about South America, they would already have ordered Spanish and Portuguese language options on the websites of the Barbados Tourism Authority and the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation. We said it would take a week, maybe two, to translate both websites, put up a welcome in Spanish and Portuguese and at least look like we mean business.

We also predicted that it wouldn’t happen. We said…

“Oh well, not to get upset about it because the truth is that nothing will be done.

The Minister spoke a fine little speech, and the newspaper printed a fine little article and editorial.

That’s it, folks. That’s all you’ll see. This is Barbados and we do – or don’t do – things a certain way.”

We were correct. Here we are six weeks later and nothing was done. The BTA and BIDC websites are still in English only.

See? We told ya that nothing would be done!

Adrian Loveridge

Adrian Loveridge: Hotel owners have been asking for Spanish/Portuguese BTA website for 10 years!

After all, the Barbados Tourism Authority failed to establish Spanish, Portuguese language websites despite 10 years of begging by hotel owners.

Why should anything change now?

Please have a read of our original story and we’ll see you again in another six weeks and every six weeks thereafter until all those concerned become embarrassed enough to make it happen – if such a thing is possible in the cushy government service. I tell you the truth friends – very few in the BTA or BIDC would last a week in a similar position in London or New York.

Barbados Tourism Authority failed to establish Spanish, Portuguese language websites despite 10 years of begging by hotel owners

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Swine Flu Scare Decimates International Travel – Barbados Suffers With Other Prime Destinations

Swine Flu = Empty Airplanes

Swine Flu = Empty Airplanes

“Dear Barbados Free Press,

It has been nothing but cancellations all day at the Hilton…”

Government Implements Watch At Grantley Adams Airport – Not Much Else To Be Done

No man and no nation can control the wind, tides and the seas. And so it is with swine flu. Nothing that Barbados did contributed to the outbreak, and little that Barbados does will matter on an international scale. Our government has instituted a watch at Grantley Adams international Airport, but realistically that is about all that can be done.

Shona’s little brother works at the airport and he says that passenger pickups are down by half as of today. An anonymous reader tells us that the staff at the Hilton were on the phone all day taking cancellations — not only from individuals, but also from group bookings.

It may take a few weeks or even a month, but this will pass.

As we said before, when times are tough — be frugal, and look after your family and friends because you never know when you might need a little help yourself.

Further Reading

Barbados Advocate: Barbados on alert!

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Layne Redman: A Bajan Finds Himself Living In Dubai

barbados-dubai-redman

Bajans Here, Bajans There… Bajans Everywhere!

It is said that wherever you go in the world you will find a fellow Bajan, and Layne Redmond is one more proof of that old truism. Redman has lived in London, New York, Boston and for the last six years, Dubai. He makes it home to Barbados about once every six months and maintains a house here for family and friends.

One thing that strikes me as different about Mr. Redman is his worldview – no doubt a result of his traveling and living in many places. I have found that those who do not get off this island once in a while to visit the larger world suffer from a kind of myopic vision. I’m sure that many of you know exactly what I mean. Here is what Mr. Redmond has to say about his adventures in the world. You can read his full interview in Abu Dhabi’s The National newspaper, linked at the end of the quote…

“Here, I’ve found out so much about other nationalities and I’ve been invited to so many different places. I like to mix and blend with everyone; it’s a skill of mine to be comfortable in any environment. I don’t feel that I have to stick to my own kind. It jars with me when people only see things in black and white and aren’t willing to experience different ways of living. I’ve seen it in England and many other places.”

… Read the full article in The National article “I can set up anywhere.”

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

Barbados Tourism Disaster On The “Platinum” West Coast

“The old people in Barbados used to say that if it rained on New Years Day it will rain all year. Well, we had a lot of rain here on the west coast on New Years Day and if the old people are right, a lot of people are going to get soaked in 2009.”… West Coast Blog article Nearly Half The Villas At Four Seasons Still Unsold

West Coast Blog Says Hotel Guests Down 70% At Almond Beach Village!

Our friends over at West Coast Blog (WCB) have their finger on the pulse of “Platinum Coast” tourism and they say that the patient is in critical condition – nevermind that this is the “high season”. WCB cites a number of statistics and it is obvious they have insider knowledge about hotel occupancy rates and condo sales figures. Today’s article makes a compelling case that all those happy, optimistic articles we’ve been reading in the Barbados media are not exactly the real picture.

Folks, as we said in mid-December, 2009 is going to be a brutal year for tourism. You should be putting your personal emergency plan into action NOW! As we said in our article You Can Taste The Fear In Barbados – Travel Poised to “drop off a cliff” in January, there are steps you should be taking…

– Shun debt.

– Work hard.

– Economise.

– Maintain friends and family. Look after them and they will look after you.

Things are bad, and they will get worse. A lot worse. Look after your friends and family because it could be you next.

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Hiking In Barbados – Boston Globe Dubs Adrian Loveridge “Successor to Colin Hudson as the articulator of Barbadian Byways”

barbados-boston-globeWho would have guessed that a 21-by-14-mile island could seem so large and varied? The meandering quality of the roads contributes to a perennial sense of discovery – and to the frequent experience of getting lost.

“Every road in Barbados leads to your destination – eventually,” Thomas Loftfield, an assistant director at the Barbados Museum, said reassuringly. The museum’s collection of early maps clarifies why this is so. By 1645, English settlers had almost completely deforested Barbados and replanted it with sugarcane, which would drive the economy for the next 350 years. Today’s roads and public rights of way are a web of those 17th-century cart paths and cane field intervals.

If there is a successor to Colin Hudson as the articulator of Barbadian byways, Adrian Loveridge might be it. “It’s almost painful to reveal the spectacular beaches encountered on this hike,” said Loveridge as we picked our way along five miles of the East Coast from Bottom Bay to Crane Beach in St. Philip Parish…

… from a staff-written major article in the Boston Globe Barbados – Measured By The Foot

Richard Goddard, Victor Cooke, George Medford, Carl Fenty, Thomas Loftfield Receive Honourable Mentions

“Pure air, pristine beaches, and miles of byways make hiking eye-opening…”

If I were freezing in Boston at this moment in January and read the article in the Boston Globe, I would quit my job, pick up the phone and call my travel agent for a Barbados trip.

You simply must read this major article and you will know who are our best ambassadors for tourism.

People come to Barbados for the experience and the people. They DON’T come to Barbados to see a wall of condos like you can see in hundreds of other places around the Caribbean – including (unfortunately) on our West coast. They call it the “Platinum Coast” of Barbados, but I call it the “Concrete Coast”.

What of Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary & National Park?

A damned shame that the article can’t mention the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary and National Park. Does anyone know anything different than the place is now well and truly dead?

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Nature, Real Estate, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism, Wildlife

Ian Bourne’s New Year’s Resolution – No More Abuse From KFC and Chefette in Barbados

From The Desk of Ian Bourne

Ms Kim Tudor; Nat’l Initiative for Service Excellence/
Ms Michelle Hustler-Small; Bds. Coalition of Service industries/
Editor; Daily Nation/
Editor; B’dos Advocate & Heat Magazine

28/12/2008

Attn: New Year’s Resolution, viz. – Service

Dear All:

Most people at this time of year make a New Year’s resolution; more often than not it usually involves losing weight. My resolution also concerns food, but as it relates to service…

On Saturday 27th December I decided to have a Gourmet Burger at Chefette’s Barbecue Barn for a late lunch or early dinner – much to my regret; I ordered a small salad, burger-platter and a Pepsi.

Before the cashier rang up the sale, I made sure to add I wanted cheese and bacon with the burger and I paid the Chefette employee.

After having the salad my main course appeared and I collected it, while sitting at the table I looked at my meal, it seemed there was no cheese – I even looked at the bottom of the patty and it was dry bread underneath; naturally, I returned to the counter. I asked for an attendant and one who was not the cashier stepped up, so I explained what I thought was my shortcoming. Paraphrasing the rather appropriate Clement C. Moore for this time of year – what to my wondering ears … ?

She wrings up her face and says “LOOK, IT UP UNDER DEY!” hurled in either a snarling shout or shouting snarl (Translation – ‘Look, it’s up under there’ as in; the little bit of cheese was under the slice of bacon)

Still shocked, I went to sit back down at the table, I realised a senior-type Afro-American couple parallel to me were staring at me so I asked if they witnessed what happened; they not only confirmed what they saw but added they’re accustomed to it every time they visit the island and they try to ignore it – as I started to put on BBQ sauce on the burger I don’t know what happened, but I just had enough. I muttered to myself that enough is enough and this can’t happen anymore, then I marched back to the counter and demanded for the Manager On Duty; when she arrived I then proceeded to loudly demand for a refund on my meal as the service was not even what I expected at Nelson Street or Baxter’s Road.

I can safely state I did not use profanity, but I was not quiet, the entire fast-food establishment heard me, I was even asked what I wanted and I said I did not care it was Xmas or New Year’s that that woman did not deserve to be in a Chefette uniform and she should be sent home! To the Manager’s credit, she was quiet and apologised as well as giving me a full refund even though I ate the salad.

Chefette is not the only place to have poor service; there was October this year when Kentucky also failed in their bid to entice my patronage…

ian-bourne-kfc-barbadosI see in the Saturday Sun that Kentucky Fried Chicken is returning their Famous Bowl offer, this is where you get mashed potato with gravy and corn with popcorn chicken and draped with 3 different grated cheeses and a Pepsi to drink for $14.99 Bds – what is cool is the bowl has a resealable lid and is microwavable and dishwasher-safe, so you can reuse the item for a long time after!

So I head over to KFC’s Hastings branch, but having had previous horrors with KFC, I made sure to ask WHEN will the Famous Bowls be ready? I was made to wait for a bit then learn they’re “on hold” until the corn arrives… Quite naturally I ask how long will this take and I am told when the corn arrives in a perfect rendition of Catch-22! I blurt “Typical!” then exit the queue and stalk out to my car. Continue reading

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Barbados Tourism – Can Government Do More?

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary Closed - 85 Jobs Directly Gone, Many Others Impacted

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary Closed - 85 Jobs Directly Gone, Many Other Jobs Indirectly Impacted By The Closure Of This Major Tourist Attraction

Yet again, it’s the hotels and to a lesser extent the ancillary tourism services that are being asked to discount their rates either directly or through another form of discounting, often to referred to as ‘added value’, while at the same time maintain employment.

But free room nights, free breakfast, half price this and half price that, all have their cost.

Yes!  We all understand the devastating effect lower long stay visitor arrivals and occupancy will have on employment and business viability.

But unlike the merchants who simply pass on increased costs, the hotels contract rates that are often fixed for many months, if not years, in advance.

The Government has recognised the important of stepping up marketing and promotional activity in these troubling times, but is there more they can do?

I believe they can, and must do if we are not going to see further hotel closures next summer.

Grantley Adams Airport now has the highest departure and other taxes in the region. I realise that the airport is now operated by a company. But it is a wholly owned Government company.

Secondly, the Government of Barbados is one of, if not the single largest shareholder in LIAT (1974) Ltd.
Despite the fall of around in 70% in fuel costs, LIAT has made only one token fuel surcharge cut of US$2.50 per sector flown.

There is still a massive US$23.75 fuel and insurance surcharge on each segment flown.

Yet airlines and cruise ship operators around the world have significantly lowered or eliminated fuel surcharges altogether.

Again, while the medium to long goal is to reduce LIAT’s dependency on the Caribbean taxpayer, it should not be at the cost of our tourism industry.
After, all those taxpayer’s hand-outs have been largely generated by this sector.

The Caribbean is currently our (Barbados) third most important source market for long stay arrivals and perhaps one that will be more resilient than others.

So if unreasonably high departure taxes and fuel surcharges are a deterrent to people travelling within the region, especially in the softer summer months, Government will not collect tax or VAT on accommodation, dining experiences, car rental, attractions and activities etc.
Lower employment in the industry will also add to depleted tax and national insurance revenue collection.

Adrian Loveridge
15th December 2008

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

You Can Taste The Fear In Barbados – Travel Poised to “drop off a cliff” in January

The Government of Barbados has been sending a mixed message lately to the populace, and in fairness I tell you that whether the DLP or the BLP were in power, that conflicted message would be the same. Your government is scared stiff and they really don’t want to lose control of the message. The message is all they have left.

On one hand the government is assuring citizens that “As bad as things are everywhere, if we work together everything will be OK here. Your government is doing what needs to be done.”

On the other hand, the government is sending out a bigger SOS than anything Rihanna ever recorded. The Thompson gang has been appealing for – get this – philanthropists and the Bajan diaspora to bail out our Barbados.

Whoaloss! You’ve got to be in desperate trouble to be staking the country’s future on begging from charity and the diaspora!

Once again, you can blame the BLP for running gazillions in spending for which Barbados achieved no appreciable benefits, but for the moment it doesn’t matter – any Barbados government in power would be desperate. And it shows, despite their efforts to insulate the citizens from reality.

OK… so tourism is toast for the next few years. What about our offshore banking? Well, we have Thompson appealing to President-Elect Barack Obama to forget about what is good for the United States – don’t hurt our offshore banking and tax-avoidance industry. That should go over really well in Nebraska!

My friends, let me give you some advice to personally get through what we are going to face in the coming three or four years…

1/ Shun debt.

2/ Work hard. Harder than you ever have before. Make your employer and your customers regard you as invaluable and as a friend. Do it.

3/ Economise. Find new ways of saving money and not spending money. Forgo pleasures and materialistic desires. Save cash. Forge real stability in your life, relationships and finances. Reject the culture of “appearances”. Better a 10 year old auto that is paid for than a new 4×4 on the never-never.

4/ Maintain and develop the family relationships and friendships that will function in place of support from THE STATE. If you lose your job, if your company goes under, you will NOT be able to depend upon “de guvmnt.”  That day is over although most (and the government) do not realise it. Your family and friends will look after you during the bad periods. Realise this and treat them well. Look after your friends and family when bad things happen – even to your immediate detriment. (Read “Hawaii” by James Michener and focus on the Chinese lady who saved her family with hard work and wisdom.)

Things are much worse than folks let on. Take stock. Change your habits. Love your family and friends.

And that is all I can advise for the moment. Here is the article that made me stop for an hour today and consider the state of my family and the nation…

9 reasons ’09 will be the year of the ‘naycation’

If 2008 was the year of the staycation, then ’09 is bound to be the year of the naycation.

As in, nay — we’re not vacationing.

The conventional wisdom about travel is that it will slip by just a few percentage points next year. But the unconventional wisdom — supported by several troubling surveys — points to a much bigger drop. A recent Allstate poll found nearly half of all Americans plan to cut back on travel in 2009. An International SOS survey says slightly fewer of us — about 4 out of 10 Americans — are reducing their international trips next year. And a Zagat survey says at least 20 percent of us will travel less in ’09.

But that’s just the half of it. I’ve been talking with people in the industry, who tell me — direct quote here — that travel is poised to “drop off a cliff” in January. In other words, people are telling pollsters one thing but making other plans.

Specifically, they’re making no plans.

Here are nine reasons why 2009 will probably be known as the year of the “naycation” — and what it means for you…

… continue reading this article at eTurbo News: 9 reasons ’09 will be the year of the ‘naycation’

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Super Model Jodie Kidd Wants To Save The Beaches – But Not In Barbados

Jodie Kidd - Former Barbados Beach Brat

Jodie Kidd - Former Barbados Beach Brat

This is not an article that is critical of Jodie Kidd or her family in any way. God knows the Kidd family have done many good things ’bout hey not the least of which is the festival at Holders. No, I haven’t been, but it has also been a while since I’ve had a gin and tonic at Sandy Lane or at the polo ponies for that matter. (wink, wink – nudge, nudge)

Anyways, I read that Jodie (who is now a “B list” rather than “A list” celebrity) is doing something to help save Europe’s beaches through the Corona Beer “Save The Beaches” campaign.

And yes, they mean Save the European beaches.

As Jodie told the press: “I grew up on the beach in Barbados and I spend a lot of time on British beaches and beaches all over the world. I have noticed the amount of s**t that gets washed up on them and I think this is a great campaign to sort them out.” (Metro article here)

I think an upscale, filthy-rich society babe like Jodie meant to say “stuff” or “waste” on the beaches, but I digress…

We Have So Many Celebrities In Barbados – Can We Have Some Say A Few Kind Words To The World?

Barbados must have more rich celebrities per square inch than any other place in the Caribbean. Why, hardly a day goes by that some Google alert doesn’t come in saying that this famous and/or rich person is in Barbados or headed to or from or cheated on their spouse there. With that kind of a pool of prospective endorsers, I have to ask why we don’t see our rich and famous folks making more frequent and positive statements about Bim.

Perhaps the government could approach some rich and famous folks for a few “I like Barbados” statements? Heck, when they get into trouble in their home countries with drugs or drunken driving we never refuse them entry here. Barbados should be asking for some quid pro quo!

Now… where is that gin and tonic darlin’? Is my polo pony ready? Damn, I’ve spilled my drink all over keyboard. I hope it doesn’t a;slji asdklpoiu, e;lk dadc i as;lkn234oikhcc,m asc ,  adosicp8ukjwerl,d,

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Former Barbados Tourism Minister Noel “Instant Millionaire” Lynch Hired As Consultant By St. Vincent and the Grenadines Government

barbados-noel-lynch-tourism.jpg

When Noel Lynch was Barbados Tourism Minister he ran out from a live radio show when a listener asked him to explain how he became a millionaire in a few short years on a government salary. Lynch subsequently sued the radio station, whose cowardly managers paid him off rather than fight for their journalistic freedom.

Such is the character of Noel Lynch that he does not believe he should be accountable to the voters to explain his “instant millionaire” status.

And then there was the disaster of the Cricket World Cup and the outright lies Lynch told us about the event even when it was plainly apparent to all that he was lying. Lynch settles upon a fiction in his mind and that becomes reality. Cricket World Cup was his baby and it was a frankenstein that will take us a generation to pay off. (The last game played at night without lights was the crowning touch!)

So pity the poor taxpayers of St. Vincent and the Grenadines whose government has just hired Noel Lynch as a tourism consultant. Wahloss!

Good luck to the hotels on St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Just remember to watch your wallets! Any man who acted as Noel Lynch did when asked a reasonable question about the origins of his unexplained recently acquired wealth cannot be trusted.

To listen to Lynch yourself, click on the photo at the top of the story.

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Barbados Car Rental Agency “New Driving Permit Fee Will Be Devastating”

‘The effect on our business will be devastating. Considering that what the Prime Minister has done is effectively removed our ability to sell 1, 2 and 3 day rentals. We simply cannot absorb this increase’.

‘My fear is that we will have such a significant downturn that jobs will be lost and the ripple effect will be felt at all attractions’

…Comments from one of our leading Car Rental Agencies

UPDATED: Scroll Down to “Another Car Rental Owner Speaks”

Visitor Diving Permit from $10 to $100

What effective will this ONE THOUSAND per cent increase have on our Car Rental companies?

Will it also impact negatively on our attractions like St. Nicholas Abbey, Andromeda, Flower Forest and Orchid World and our many restaurants.

And will this result in overall reduced income for Government and further jeopardise the viability of the tourism sector?

With car rental rates already among the highest in the region is this going to further push the cost of a holiday on Barbados above many peoples reach?

Car Rental companies will already have to absorb or pass on increased costs of vehicle licences.
Our registered accommodation providers again will have to absorb or pass on the 50% increase in liquor licences and the 50% increase on alcoholic taxes have still to be evaluated.

We all understand Government’s have to collect taxes but was there a better way of introducing this massive hike on the visitors driving permit?

Perhaps it could have been made a three year licence to encourage people to return again soon!

Did representatives from the car rental industry discuss this increase prior to its imposition?

And, importantly, what is the average duration of rental, as if it’s only two or three days, the increase is even more of a deterrent?

Adrian Loveridge

UPDATED: Another Car Rental Owner Speaks

As an owner of a car rental company here in Barbados, that is almost totally dependent on the tourism industry, I am totally mortified that our wonderful Prime Minister would think that by increasing the visitor permit fees to this ridiculous new rate was a smart move.

All he is doing is SCARING AWAY the same said tourists that we all depend on.

Barbados is by no means a cheap Caribbean Island to visit; we hear this everyday. So what makes this government think that by adding to an already high bill for a HOLIDAY, our visitors would not look elsewhere for beaches and white sand? We fail to remember that there are many other islands in the chain that offer what we have and more for alot less.

I agree that fees must go up but moving from US$5.00 to US$50.00 is ridiculous; especially for a person who plans to come here for a one off trip for a week or less. It is NOT worth it to them. I have already had clients say this today. Many are seriously rethinking their visit because of this.

What about thinking of an option for permits? Why not offer options – 1 month, 3 month, 6 month and 1 year permits, so that we can allow our visitors to choose what they can and cannot afford to do!

Believe me, this thought of saying that the permits offered are valid for 1 year is a reason for visitors to buy them in the hopes of returning to this wonderful country of ours is JOKE!!!!

The cost of living is increasing all over the world. Getaways to exotic islands are luxuries not necessities!!!!!! We want to entice people to come here not chase them off before they even get on a plane.

Please also bare in mind that it is not just us, the car rental companies that are affected by this permit increase. Visitors rely on their cars to allow them the ease of exploring the island and visiting all our sites, attractions, bars, nightclubs, restaurants etc…..so we are all in the hot seat!!!!!!!!!!!

I beg more and more people to put some serious thought into this budget and voice your concerns so that the powers that be can make their adjustments before things get completely out of control.

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