Allen Chastanet A Shining Example For The "Others"

The name Allen Chastanet has become a household word in Barbados and around the Caribbean. Much of his reputation has been derived over the years from his involvement in tourism at a local and regional level. In recent months, he has been called to national duty in St. Lucia as a non elected Minister of Tourism to help position St.Lucia’s tourist product to the top. His knowledge of tourism is seldom questioned and his recent posture on LIAT has attracted the ire of Prime Minister Ralph Gonzales; not surprisingly because of who he is, his position has been viewed as visionary by all others given the historical devils which have befallen the blighted LIAT.

It is opportune that Barbados tourism advocate Adrian Loveridge would submit the following note which recognizes the efforts of a man who has grown in stature in the field of tourism but at the same time is not giddy doing other things that he would forget where his priority resides.

‘Senator Allen Chastanet, Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, has visited all the hotels in the North and yesterday visited hotels in Soufriere, the South and other parts of the island’. Kudos to Minister Chastanet and also St. Lucia’s Director of Tourism, Maria Fowell, for taking such a hands-on approach to the recent damage caused by the passing of Hurricane Dean. It’s examples like this that will restore the confidence and respective we have for our political policymakers.

Adrian Loveridge

We cannot resist comparing the St.Lucia Minister of Tourism to his counterpart from Barbados, Minister Barney Lynch. In Chastanet we are reminded of Sir Oliver Cromwell a stride his black horse as he rode like a colossus leading his Calvary into battle. On the other hand we have Barney Lynch wheeling around Sandy Lane Golf and Country Club like a Lilliputian as he curry favours from the rich and famous.

Night and day in both a literal and figurative way.

53 thoughts on “Allen Chastanet A Shining Example For The "Others"

  1. Allen Castnanet is no role model for the ultimate Caribbean Tourism Minister. He is simply a clown and has always been such. Visiting the hotels after the storm makes great publicity especially for a non elected Minister seeking election. Allen’s father is cut from another cloth. He is the mover and shaker in St. Lucia and is a man of action who seeks no publicity like his son.

    Adrian Loveridge has been the person behind the blatant negativity about the Barbados Tourism product in general and Minister Lynch in particular. But tell me, which island (Barbados or St. Lucia) is more developed and vibrant?

    The Barbados Tourism Authority might not please everyone, but they are working in markets that are extremely competitive and as such have been relatively successful. The level of success could be debatable and I am not here to speak for Lynch but as one involved in Caribbean tourism for over 30 years, I can see through the PR releases and the bullfeathers.

  2. Mr. Nehaul you are using some strong language. Are you the person who is a very successful tour operator out of Sweden? In that is the case you have been in the business a long time and BU would never dream of engaging you on these matters. Hopefully Adrian is up to the task!

    Our source in St. Lucia says you are wrong about Allen so you may want to lay some more grounds for your comment.As a tour operator though why would you call a Minister in a tourist market which is currently growing faster than Barbados a clown?

  3. David/Andrew…

    I think Allen Chastanet’s record speaks for itself with Island Outpost, Air Jamaica and his own hotels who have recently been awarded some of the highest guest satisfaction ratings in the world.
    Unlike Andrew, I do NOT see the Senator visiting all the hotels a publicity stunt. To me, at least it demonstrates he is interested (and concerned) and wants first hand knowledge of any detrimental effects to be able to give informed media response.
    In nearly twenty years the ONLY Minister’s of Tourism we have ever seen at our hotel are the late Peter Morgan and Sir Harold St. John.

    Andrew, mentions Barbados is more developed.

    Obviously, Barbados as it opened its first resort hotel in 1887. (the Crane). But let us analyse ‘our’ tourism performance over the last 12 years.

    25 hotels closed and/or converted in condominiums.

    (Interesting to read Mike Pemberton’s statistics regarding how many people will be employed in the Four Seasons Hotel and how many in the villas).

    How many new hotels are rooms have St. Lucia added over the same period?
    Just look at Sandals alone!

    1 in 14, 8% or 2,000 Barbadian tourism jobs lost between 2002 and 2004.
    14,200 down to 12,200 (source: Barbados Statistcal Service).

    Our registered hotels, guest houses and apartments recorded an annual average occupancy rate of just 49.7% in 2004.
    Simply put over 3,500 rooms stood EMPTY every single night of that year.

    I understand it went up by 1% in 2005.

    ‘Blatant negativity’ or objective comment?

    Is Andrew really happy about the dismal performance of a once vibrant Scandinavian market. I am sure he can remember many more people travelling to Barbados from Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

    And has Andrew forgotten about his telephone calls to me where he was less than complimentary about some of the BTA staff?

    I personally would rather have an active, concerned, interested, knowledgeable NON elected Minister of Tourism than our current status quo.

    Marketing is not about giving people US$300 to visit your destination, selling a product below its cost and attracting visitors least likely to return.
    I think even Andrew might agree with that!

    Perhaps Andrew being in Sweden didn’t hear Minister Lynch right up until 25 March 2007 promise us on public radio that there were going to be ‘90,000’ long stay visitors on Barbados during the CWC final week. Plus ‘75,000 cruise ship passengers’ and ‘700 yachts’.

    I really don’t think it is Adrian Loveridge letting the Barbados Tourism Authority down, but they may think of looking a little closer to home.

  4. David,
    You wake early! It is not my intention to get into a slugging match with anyone, I am only expressing an opinion as I know Mr Chastanet well. Perhaps the word “clown” might be harsh but I stand by it.

    Yes I own a tour operator which specialises on selling the Caribbean from Scandinavia. As such I am aware of what goes on in the 17 islands that we sell today.

    I like others have followed this blog and although I do not contribute, I note that your site like others fill a void needy of news and such.

    My hope however is that there can be a more positive tourism input as Barbados is one of the tourism leaders in the Caribbean despite the sometimes strange decisions made by those in authority.

  5. Adrian,
    I was the one responsible for creating the Scandinavian charters in the late 80’s so I know how much this market has disappeared.

    Regarding the BOB (Best of Barbados) package this was originally called the Bonanza package, it was launched in Canada as an idea by Dennis O’Leary who was a PR consultant to the BTA in the 60’s.

    It worked well then and can continue to work in some markets for the island. However it should be used as an incentive to influence people to Barbados. The profitability to which you refer should be based on the length of stay by clients. i.e. the longer stay, the more money spent on the ground.

    You are a man of facts and I think that this is great but I cannot agree 100% with you about the Cricket World Cup. Lynch & Co had a decision to make one year in advance regarding the hiring of a cruise ship and they did so. It turned out to be off base but give them credit for making a decision.

    It is unfortunate that the current BTA President has no commercial experience since his life has been as a civil servant.

    There is a lot wrong with Barbados’s Tourism Marketing but short writings on this site can never be the solution.

    However, I urge you all to offer solutions which might help our great Country to aspire to greatness and help the 5,000 kids coming out of school each year to find good paying jobs and have a positive attitude.

  6. Andrew…

    I think I have continued to offer solutions most of the near twenty years I’ve lived on Barbados.

    But you get a bit jaded when for instance a previous President of the BHTA stood up and told the media that the critics of the Best of Barbados programme ‘had not offered any alternatives’.
    Only days before he had been sent a 10 point plan which was also presented to the Marketing Committee which I chaired for while.

    Needless to say, none of the suggestions have been implemented todate.

    When I approached the President/CEO of the BTA with regard to launching a programme to target the potential 200 million frequent flyers members, the reason given for not implementing the programme was ‘that it would dilute the market’.

    The Best of Barbados programme is destabilising our market. Small hotels like ours are choosing not to even bother to open in the summer months, as we cannot (and do not want to) compete with return flights from US gateways, 7 nights accommodation at GEMS Time Out at the Gap, airport/hotel transfers and daily breakfast for US$319 (
    Imagine the effect this is going to have on employment?

    Regarding the charter of Carnival Destiny. I understand that this was part of the bid process,
    but they responded too late to the situation that evolved and remember that the Minister was even denying that Government/BTA had even
    agreed a loan for charter the ship right up until 25 March 2007.

    Even after India came out of the competition the Minister was publicly stating there still would be ‘90,000’ long stay visitors for the week of the CWC final plus ‘75,000 cruise ship passengers’ and ‘700 yachts’.

    In terms of hosting what has been repeatedly described as ‘the world’s third largest sporting event’ our actual net gain in long stay visitor arrivals for the first four months of 2007 was 44 persons.

    Probably, more than anything else in the world, I want a vibrant, profitable, service driven successful tourism industry on Barbados.

    A Switzerland of the Caribbean.

    But I am a realist and while I continue, what I consider, as poor policy directive, feel obliged to speak out.

    You mention our children.
    Almost daily, I speak to and encourage young hopefuls that are interested in tourism.
    You only have to ask the current and former Junior Minister’s of Tourism.

    And, Andrew you didn not address the issue of 25 hotels that have closed, the loss of 2,000 tourism jobs etc.

    St. Lucia will add 1,000 hotel rooms this year alone.

    Their cruise ship numbers are so far up 52% for the first six months of 2007.

    Yet you call Allen Chastanet a ‘clown’!

  7. With all due respect, I do not think you can attribute the new hotel rooms or cruise ships to Allan Chasternet he has only been tourism minister for about 7 months, these are the fruits of the last tourism minister. On another note I do not think it is fair to compare the two islands as St Lucia was primarily an agricultural (banana) economy until 1997 when the government started really looking into the possibility of tourism and only in the last 4 years have there been any success stories. I think we should allow the 3 mega yacht marinas, 4 golf courses, 3 casinos, and renovation of the 2 airports on the island to take place first then judge what Allan is proposing as all these things are already in the pipe lines and has absolutely nothing to do with Mr Chasternet.

  8. Danny..

    Fair comments and I certainly would not think of crediting Mr Chastenet with the kudos.
    But I think 4 years is stretching it a little.
    How long ago did the first of three Sandals open?

    The point I was trying to get across is that he hands-on.

  9. Andrew Nehaul this was a great letter and you are to be commended for the explanations and insights given into and for the problems of the Tourism Product in Barbados.

    You have correctly suggested and asked for constructive ideas about re-vitalizing Tourism in Barbados and herein lies the problem.

    Personally, I think that the industry of Tourism in Barbados has so many deficiencies at this time many of which have been directly inflicted on it by Government policy and taxes that quick fixes is out of the question. And the average contributor on this blog knows that Government intervention is essential if not the only way to solving the problems I speak of. The hoteliers must also in many areas of their operations adjust to the changing economic times which many are not prepared to do.

    The Best of Barbados is certainly not the way to go yet it is the only way to go given the present circumstances and is but a band aid solution if it is a solution at all.

    But you are correct a few columns on a blog will never solve the tremendous challenges facing the Tourism Industry not only in Barbados but the Caribbean. The region of the Caribbean and in particular Barbados has always seemed to have adopted a business posture of knowing more than anyone else and believing all knowledge was in the Caribbean. This has resulted in catastrophic challenges for other Industries situated in that region besides Tourism. And has become more critical following the many, social economic and political obstacles forced on the world following 9/11.

  10. Andrew Nehaul should shut his big mouth calling people clowns. He got where he is because his mother was Director of the same BTA and used her influence to set him up. Without her no one would have heard of Andrew Nehaul. While he is at it let him explain his relationship with Sandals. Did he work for Sandals and BTA at same time? Wasnt that conflict of interest? Was his situation similar to Alfred Taylor with Butch Stewart?

  11. Based on the post as below it seems to me that the clown that we have a minister in his wisdom (now that is a hard call) committed over $ 155 million to rebuild an airport and it now is less
    praticial and working than the old one but we can get used to these events because idiots are the ones making the decisions but more over they spend millions to the airport but neglect the heart of the airport the air traffic control division, it has been years these controllers have been complaining about lack of quality equpiment to assist them in doing their jobs, and it has come to light once again in the post below.
    Why is it they are being neglected and putting our safety and the safety of our vistors at risk?
    Could it be because they are the majority of DLP supporters in that office if it is this is a dangerous and sad situation.
    August 21st, 2007 at 9:49 am
    I have been following with interest comments made in the press about the effects of squatters on the radar readout in Adams airspace. It is worrying that high ranking officials within the Department of Civil Aviation could so mislead our prime minister. Also of concern is the fact that matters of grave importance have not been given equal attention by these department heads. Some two Saturdays ago controllers at Adams were hit with random power outages where on at least 3 occasions on the same day, there was total radar and communication outages, I cannot overstate how potentially dangerous this situation was and is as the potential for it to occur at anytime remains. What is worrying is there is supposed to be back-ups to guard against this. These back-ups failed. Approaching two weeks later the controllers are still working with minimum telecommunication facilities, and they continue to be concerned about the inadequacy of the frequencies available for communication with aircraft. They have brought this and other matters to management’s attention countless times over the last few years. Every attempt to have this and other matters such as critical staffing levels,
    inadequate lighting, inadequate maintenance and such address have met with failure. More so when these matters are put out in the public
    domain they are downplayed by our managers and the stories which should be of critical concern to all
    are given less than adequate attention by the media. It is feared that in this instance like so many on this little rock some great disaster will have to occur before those in a position to do something actually act.

    At the root of the problem lies one of the most substandard management teams within government. They have failed at almost
    every level to efficiently oversee the department. Air traffic continues to function in Barbados because of a dedicated, overworked
    and short staffed team of controllers who do the best they can with with what little they have. Case in point within the last 2 years the government of Barbados was called upon to replace their training simulator so much needed training could occur. This endeavour cost the government millions.
    This system was bought and is now sitting at the Barbados School of Air Traffic Control in a state of dis-repair due to inadequate maintenance.
    Yet another waste of government funds.

    Controller friend

  12. I am not saying there was no tourism product before 1997 but it was ignored and under developed until that time in favor of banana production, however getting away from that topic I am simple saying you may be jumping the gun on Allan Chastanet, I don’t think he has had enough time to work to be considered any kind of shining example for anyone at this point, however he seems to have potential.

  13. I just want to add what I perceive as hands-on compared to hands-off.

    Whatever, Senator Chastanet’s motive was to inspect the hotels following the passing of Hurricane Dean, it enabled St. Lucia to put out in the media that there was minimal tourism infrastructure damage and that in their words ‘they were open for business’.
    These media reports were then disseminated globally across all of St. Lucia’s major markets, both in the public and travel trade domain.
    Travellers contemplating booking St. Lucia or who had already booked were reassured that it was safe to visit.

    Go onto GOOGLE and type Barbados Hurricane Dean and you will only find negative postings reporting the storms approach.

    No ‘ALL CLEAR’ follow-up.

    St. Lucia media releases also quoted Mr Chastanet stating the ‘Government was going to clear up the debris’ left by the hurricane.

    Compare this to:

    1) Go into, the official BTA website and there is not even a mention that Dean passed with minimal disruption and that BARBADOS was also OPEN FOR BUSINESS. Especially important as they are trying to capture additional visitors from the USA in September through the Best of Barbados programme and these packages have to be booked within days. We know that this market especially is perhaps not as geographically savvy as other markets and tends not to differentiate between the various destinations in the Caribbean as we would like.
    In the fickle discount market for people clambering for last minute bargains you have even less time to assure potential bookers that the destination is safe.

    So, contrast St. Lucia’s position and remedial steps with ours and you can judge the difference between hands-on and hands-off!

    Our Government hasn’t yet even cleaned-up one of the finest beaches on Barbados, Long Bay (Sams Lords) after Hurricane Ivan.

  14. Very, Very well Said Adrian.
    Do not let Nehaul ruffle your feathers in the slightest, his claim to fame is in his mothers name who faciliated his tour company talk about using position to assist ones family.

  15. Very, Very well Said Adrian.
    Do not let Nehaul ruffle your feathers in the slightest, his claim to fame is in his mothers name who faciliated his tour company talk about using position to assist ones family

  16. Allen Castnanet is no role model for the ultimate Caribbean Tourism Minister. He is simply a clown and has always been such. Visiting the hotels after the storm makes great publicity especially for a non elected Minister seeking election

    i totally sgree

  17. Adrian with all due respect just let me be “Devils” Advocate.

    I know nothing about Allen Chastnanet but reading your comments I say he is a very shrewd businessman.

    Whatever his reasons for visiting the hotels following Dean is unimportant and irrelevant because it served his purpose. From what you say he followed it up with brillant advertising and PR. And in so doing caught the rest of you with your pants down. I am not blaming you or other hoteliers personally but in fact I am agreeing with you that the bumble heads at BTA have to learn the tricks of the trade. But I am sure you know better than me few have the cranial capacity to do so!

    My point being why would anyone demean Chastanet for being brilliant!

  18. This is a spot on description of MMLynch–
    “On the other hand we have Barney Lynch wheeling around Sandy Lane Golf and Country Club like a Lilliputian as he curry favours from the rich and famous.”

  19. Reporter..


    Its the difference between having someone that is street savvy and someone that is not, directing your most important industry.
    Its not a prerequisite that a Minister of Government is an expert on the subject of his portfolio.
    But if he or she is not, then they have to surround themselves with people who possess
    the expertise and most importantly listen to them and formulate policy based on their advice.

    Allen Chastanet has developed from a culture of
    opportunity, good business practice and success.
    I too, cannot see any wrong with that and at least he admits it when he doesn’t get it right!

  20. Mr.Nehaul~we agree that our blog cannot be the panacea to the problems which plague our country. If BU is slanted towards highlighting negative issues it is because the mainstream media has completely sold out to the mighty dollar of the sponsor. With a feeble opposition over the years BU, BFP and others have had to find a way to spread the word. People like yourself with a wealth of knowledge should jump in and help us offer alternative ideas. This is why we give Adrian Loveridge the opportunity to disseminate his views whether we agree or not. He has been a lone voice crying in the wilderness. If our tourist product is doing so great why are we currently running a special to discount trips up to USD300.00? On the one hand we are positioning Barbados as upscale destination but yet we run promotions which bring the budget people. Help us to understand, please!

  21. David because our tourism product is moving like a rudderless ship without any direction.
    Are we t0 seriously consider Noless Lynch as a source of intellectual guidance we are sadly mistaken, now if running his ministry operated based on egos his ministry would be an outstanding success.
    Tell me what has Lynch said or done in the last 5 years that warrants serious consideration or thought ?
    Nothing not one iota, and why do we believe that he will contribute anything meaninful in the twlight of his days ib office, he has been a total waste of space as a minister sadly while he flounders our tourism product sinks further into trouble.
    Remember his statement that there is ongoing research into Condos versus hotel rooms and we will wait to see the outcome of this research but shortly thereafter he sells out prime beachfront real estate to private enterprise to build more condos is he even thinking if he is surely he is not thinking sensibily or rationally.
    The money in his bank must have affected his thinking ability.
    Then again if he had any decency he would have done the right thing and resign.

  22. David,
    I am delighted that your blog has become so vibrant and that it is well used. Perhaps soon it will also attract others who wish to share their views as I think that there are many voyeurs but few participants.

    I must say that I am amused by some writers who write about me without research but my record is an open book.

    On the topic of Barbados’s Tourism, I can only speak on the marketing in the European sector but there seems to be some confusion when your writers speak of the tourism product in general. Some refer to the tourism plant i.e. infrastructure while I am interested only in the marketing.

    My company sells over 80 hotels in 17 islands. We specialize on all-inclusive hotels and the wedding and honeymoon market. I know the prices around the Caribbean.

    Barbados is not on the top of our list of destinations due to the fact that there is a lack of a good air service from Continental Europe. The only carrier that our clients can use to reach Barbados the same day is Condor from Germany one day a week. With BA or Virgin, they must overnight in London.

    Regarding the Best of Barbados, I think that this is a package used to stimulate business in the off season. Many people on this and other sites write of the USD 300 discount but how many know what else is on offer in the US market to consumers? To Bermuda, Mexico or Jamaica for example? They do not have to choose Barbados – it is our marketing that makes them do so.

    Here for example is the Bermuda summer offer: “Get a $300 Gift Card to spend anywhere in Bermuda that accepts major credit cards when you book an island getaway today. Offer applies to travel between August 23 and October 31, 2007, with a minimum 4-night stay.”

    We need creative minds to help secure Barbados’s tourism future. I am positive that there are many out there!

  23. I really do believe that what a number of commenters are failing to recognize when it comes to the failing Tourism Industry in Barbados is, that Barbados is not the only destination experiencing a decline.

    Visitors to Barbados and I dare say other destinations consistently complain about the same things which deters them returning but it all falls on deaf ears.

    They cite high hotel rates, inferior accommodation, bad food, poor service levels, crime and that playing golf in Barbados being out of the reach of most. And the golf courses are inferior to those at home! But these complaints believe me is not restricted to only the average hotels, but includes luxury resorts like Sandy Lane and others. I have been witness to this first hand!

    Another thing as so many have already said is, the BTA and Noel Lynch is not handling the promotion or the problems impacting Tourism in Barbados effectively. The BHTA are equally guilty for the same thing. The tourism pie is shrinking and only those destinations who are aggressive will get their fair share.

    The Government of Barbados in general as some have said abandoned Tourism and instead of trying to nurture it because of increasing competition exploited it. What better example than the horrific increase in the departure tax.

    In addition to all of these factors much not all of which can be fixed there are outside influences that Barbados and other winter destinations have no control over that is too impacting tourism all over the world.

    The younger generations are opting for other winter activities unlike their parents who went South. Travel Insurance is becoming harder and more costly to afford especially when you have a pre-exisisting medical condition. And most older people have pre-existing conditions! All retirees are not wealthy!

    As a result the so called snow-birds who are now well into the twilight of their years are flocking in increasing numbers to places like Florida where they can drive, stay longer and for far less, money than they could in Barbados. Many take cruises as this mode of travel is almost worry free and you get good meals and reasonably priced shore activities.

    Another factor is this. The aging North American if taken as an example, their number one sport is golf. In Florida, Arizona, California they can play golf cheaper than anywhere in the Caribbean while enjoying very nice weather and temperatures.

    I do not think that the decline in tourism in Barbados can be solved as easily as some are advocating, because a major cause for tourism declining in many destinations is due to Tourism numbers declining because many are looking at and availing themselves of other options!

  24. The only carrier that our clients can use to reach Barbados the same day is Condor from Germany one day a week. With BA or Virgin, they must overnight in London.
    I beg to differt hat statement is not entirely correct as I recently had friends in from Europe that were able to fly out of Frankfurt and into Barbados all on the same day.
    What we need at this critical time in our industry is creative thinkers and by no stretch of your imagination can Lynch be said to be creative thinker some would even question if he thinks at all, but then again we know that he has creative talents as he created loads of lies during CWC, and created some quick unaccounted wealth that we are yet have explained.

  25. Andrew Nehaul said ‘Barbados is not top of our list destinations due to the fact that there is a lack a good air service from Continental Europe’.

    Maybe so Andrew, but of the 17 islands your company operates to, exactly how many offer a direct air service from Continental Europe, apart from the obvious ones like the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Mexico?

    Why didn’t you do better with the BWIA direct Barbados service out of Scandinavia?

    And why don’t you do better with the Condor service. The ground handlers here will tell you it
    drops a few in Barbados and the goes on almost full to Margarita with the rest?

    After all, the Barbadian taxpayer gives them ‘marketing support’.

    What you also forget to tell Barbados Underground readers is the US$300 Bermuda Gift card you refer to is only valid when booked through 11 hotels. All of which are the more upscale expensive properties, so they have greater margins especially in the summer months.

    Finally, the currently cheapest package out of New York to Bermuda including flights and 4 nights accommodation is US$712.

    Return flights from Philadelphia (further distance) to Barbados, airport/hotel transfers, 7 nights accommodation at taxpayer subsidised GEMS Time Out at the Gap and daily brekfast is US$319.

    Lets compares apples with apples, Andrew.

  26. I cannot comment upon how out of touch the marketers of this unique tourism product, Barbados, are.

    Because words fail me!

    Do they not take notice of the exit questionnaires?

    You would think I am making it up.

    To gently bring our tax dollar supported agency up to speed, they are trapped in a seventies time warp.

    The world has moved on.

    Way beyond what Bardados once offered.

    Every citizen of a first world country, rich, comfortable or poor, if they choose a Caribbean destination is prepared to “push the boat out”.

    It don’t matter it could be Bim, St Lucia, Dom Rep, Cuba or Tobago there are 600 million potentials in Europe with a “Caribbean Dream”…..and when they go for it they will spend to realise it.

    They are not going to return home to say its worse than the Costa del Sol for one quarter of the price.

    They want Caribee! and lots of it!

    It may be once in a lifetime for some, but they will fulfil their dream, and live forever on the memory.

    Once a lifetime for 600m in my books is a ten million a year potential to be tapped.

    Don’t need discount , got the product, the marketing is s***.

    Half the market thinks the product is overpriced , the subsidised half can’t believe it will be the same value for money as the Dominican.

    Just beyond your imagination, that’s how bad we are positioning ourselves, unattainable.

    First stop. First class. Barbados!

    Get positive and mean it!

  27. Trust me I would much rather have Mr Allen Chastanet directing the affairs of our Ministry of Tourism than Noeless Lynch doing the job at least he Mr Allen Chastanet has a connection and knows what the insustry is about and what its needs are, so unlike the idoit that we have in Lynch who opens his mouth and not even he knows what to expect to fall out of it sad but true.
    When one becomes so self important and arrogant to forget what his role is in the ministry we have lost the plot.

  28. Idealist 600 million is a very impressive number but that number if correct means nothing unless what you are selling as a tourist destination they want.

    Surely those 600 million given advertisments, blogs, word and mouth from visitors from their country who visited Barbados has not convinced them to come to our shores. So what do you suggest we do to fix that!

    Did you know that Europeans more so than North Americans and Brits really love to stay at home and enjoy winter? That is a fact sir.

  29. As a European I know one fact, the most stay at home developed nation , after the Americans,
    are the French.

    OK , discount them, say your market is 540 million.

  30. I’m of the belief that the Barbadian product is tired and worn, St. Lucia from what I’ve observed has followed the Barbadian model closely using our experience to avoid the pit falls, e.g. for CWC Barbados had prime spot on, as games grew closer St Lucia suddenly appeared similar ad same place. It is still a relatively new product.

    With the failure of sugar and ongoing crushing of the banana industries Barbados faces ever increasing challenges from these new players.

    We are old hat, high priced and sadly no longer in many cases offer value for money.

    Bridgetown shopping looks cheap (not the prices).. a million shoe box stores, in a space that should hold 2 small shops, the sales assistants stand on the outside. As a local I don’t want to go into these areas to buy anything, much less a visitor.

    On Sunday some visitors went to a hotel (that was recommended), the condition of the rooms and property appeared to be such that they immediately sought a nights accommodation else where. What will they say to others about their stay?
    Persons go to get something to eat only to discover that the service is poor, poor food or ordinary food. Food that is the same they can eat at home, why not stay their its cheaper.

    Many destinations, the US in particular have turned inward post 9/11, I do think there’s more to the passport issue than security, perhaps to keep their own people (and money) at home.

    Barbados is being sidelined in the region to a certain extent as the transportation hub for traffic entering the region, see the hops required to get to the US and UK via Trinidad. Note also almost every other island seeks to get its own international airport.. for a space as small as ours there seems to be no need (to me) for so many where is the coordination and rationalization within the regional community.

    Of course I’m no expert I just live here, others who have posted before appear more knowledgeable but Our product must be renewed and improved to target not only traditional markets, but new both extra & intra regionally not forgetting specials for locals (it worked after 9/11, to some extent we now appear to have been rejected again).

    Government must set policy and facilitate, in close contact with industry players who must be the driving force and implementers. Aside from NISE (which is policy) gov’ts often have great ideas, but fall down when they try to implement it themselves on the ground, they often have too many considerations, red tape and lack the industry touch.

    Oh yeah all better pray Castro lives forever, because if Cuba opens up fully, Barbados, St Lucia, the other islands are up a serious creek, no paddle. Bye bye US, UK tourist money.

    I can’t quote figures, this is just what I think.

  31. Aug 21st 2007 at 2:48 am

    Mr. Nehaul you are using some strong language. Are you the person who is a very successful tour operator out of Sweden? In that is the case you have been in the business a long time and BU would never dream of engaging you on these matters. Hopefully Adrian is up to the task!

    Our source in St. Lucia says you are wrong about Allen so you may want to lay some more grounds for your comment.As a tour operator though why would you call a Minister in a tourist market which is currently growing faster than Barbados a clown?
    Well David you know that Mr. Chastanet was singing a different tune to that of our very own tourism Minister and Deputy prime minister on the handling of CWC. I would hazard a bet the Mr. Nehaul views of Mr. Chastanet coalesce around personal political affiliations, but i could be very wrong. He would not have the same access to Mr. Chastanet as he would to GoB. Could it be all personal for these folks?

  32. Adrian…

    If you read back through the various comments you will see that Andrew Nehaul has avoided a lot of the questions posed to him
    Even when he has attempted to counter balance an argument, he uses comparisions like a US$300 retail Gift voucher given out by 11 upmarket hotels on Bermuda with a DIRECT taxpayer subsidy applied to the Best of Barbados programme.

    He would at least in my mind, be a lot more credible if he answers some of the questions and compares like with like.

    I have no mandate for Senator Chastenet. In fact I have not even met him personally, but his approach seems to work a lot better than many others.

    We on the other hand that have a Minister who was responsible for spending $155 million ‘improving’ an airport which still leaks, the air condition doesn’t work properly and 4 totally unsuitable buses were purchased.
    Not to forget the trolleys.

    In this ‘masterplan’ no initial provision was made for an airport medical facility and it would appear that little or nothing was budgeted for air traffic control safety and upgrading.

    Need I say more?

  33. Let me say that I can support Adrian about the inferior work done at the airport and it is or was leaking.

    However, what I did not know is that the knuckle heads had no medical facility at the airport. This is truly dumb! Forget serious Emergencies like an airplane crash but did I not read sometime ago that a visitor lost their life because of some type of medical emergency and no medical resources at the airport to deal with it?

    This is truly a Third World Country publicly displaying third world facilities for people to see as they get off of an airplane. I wonder how many as they get into the airport for processing must think “can it get any worse than this” only to find out yes it can!

  34. Here is an intersting concept that maybe Noel Lynch et al might want to consider for improving Tourism numbers in Barbados.

    I was just surfing the web and saw on the Global News web site where Toronto is getting great publicity and significantly increased numbers of tourists and from the most unlikely source. Oprah Wimpfrey.

    Oprah has evidently endorsed Toronto and has shown a number of first rate and other hotels she recommends people visiting the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) should use and activities and restaurants they should visit and eat at.

    Now if I am not mistaken did Tiger Woods the greatest golfer of all times not get married in Barbados at the Sandy Lane Hotel? And did Oprah not attend?

    Maybe Noel Lynch or some other person with brains and imagination might think of tapping into the powers Oprah and Tiger have, in influnencing people to do things they would not normally do. And given the ethnic background of both of these celebrities in their own right I am sure they would consider doing it for a fraction of what they would demand of other more lucrative tourist destinations. I think it is worthwhile considering what do other Barbadians think?

  35. You maybe overstressing Noeless Lynch, would you really expect him to be thinking outside of the box ?
    He is a dumb useless idiot running a vital ministry, sad state of affairs.

  36. Adrain~maybe you are right because Mr. Nehaul after a brief exchange with BU residents has gone silent. A similar behavior demonstrated by William Duguid and Lynette Eastmond!

  37. Here’s yet another example of a Tourism Minister that knows absolutely nothing about how to woo valuable tourists. Jamaica in the aftermath of Hurrican Dean took proactive steps to bring tourists to their shores by showing that they are in a position to host their potential guests even in the aftermath of a disaster. Meanwhile here in Barbados, we pay the tourists to come to shores, but do not care whether they ever come back; visitors to our shores were subjected to a night on cold benches and on damp concrete at a leaky airport. Mind you, this is one of the airlines that our (Honorable?) Tourism Minister stood up in front of the press and proudly announced to the nation that it would be bringing these visitors to our shores , while paying them (or himself?) handsomely for this seemingly exceptional commitment to Barbados. Where was the airline in their time of need? They hid behind procedure and didn’t show any emotion to these visitors. Where was our Tourism Minister/BHA/BHTA at this time?

    We sat and did nothing while a golden opportunity to show the hospitality of Barbados slipped from our grasp. Surely the Minister for Tourism could have arranged with small hotels and taxis or tour operators look after these guests for a reduced fee, covered by the BTA or Ministry of Tourism. Cots and tents could have been requested from the army if all else failed. The goodwill extended would have paid off in a big way in terms of marketing for Barbados. The more and more I think about the people in power the more I recall Orwell’s Animal Farm. Pigs in power and lording it over the rest of the farm, who are either too scared, too deluded or just simply too happy to follow them to care.

  38. To repeat what BU wrote earlier we know St. Lucians who say that Allen Chastenet is very respected and people listen. He exudes the quality of a leader and it is required to complement the Acting Prime Minister who is lacking in leadership skills but seem to have the easy qualities to navigate a fragmented party through the current times.

  39. I am just curious as to how Mr. Chastenet can sit in the St.Lucia Cabinet and be a director of First Caribbean International Bank

  40. David,
    I do not know the two persons to whom you refer but let me make it clear that I am not a perpetual writer. I simply contribute my 2 cents when I have something to say.

  41. This is the problem with Barbados people like Adrian Loveridge get criticize for putting it on the line every day but people like Andre Nehaul sit on the fence and piece off the issues which fit their agenda. You are suppose to be a man involved in the business for so many years and with out compromising your financial position why can’t your tell more of your thoughts?

  42. Concerned..

    You don’t have to go as far as St. Lucia to see other Senators sitting on the board of First Caribbean International Bank Ltd.

    Try Sir Fred Gollop and Sir Allan Fields.

    See the FCIB PR release.


  43. Here is what I find strange but then again it is no different to how most statistics are used, especially in Barbados.

    Why has it taken so long for the BHTA to come out with the numbers that the Executive Director of this organization Sue Springer posted in the media today?

    Are all or most of the hotels in Barbados not computerized and would they not know their occupancy levels daily, monthly, yearly at the touch of a button. Why so long to get the numbers out?

    But here is another thing why was this announcement made by the Executive Director and not the President? When Springer was President she was the main spokesperson for the BHTA.

    You mark my words these statistics Springer has revealed will be changed or contradicted much like most statistics are in Barbados within the next month or so. And not for the better!

    The police post statistics showing crime is going down and then a month later it is going up. I do not know why this is! And these incidents are not isolated they happen with great and obvious frequency.

    Having said that I would think that 20 hotels posting a 100% occupancy during the CWC is not that impressive because one would think that Barbados has at least a hundred hotels or even 75. I dont know because I have never seen a count!

    Another thing that was not mentioned was the gloomy outlook the CEO of Elegant hotels had about the impact the CWC would or might have on that chain. Did it materialize or did they do well too?

    So many questions so few answers!

  44. My apologies to Sue Springer, BU and readers. I misquoted Ms. Springer it was 20% not 20 hotels that had a 100% occupancy but that still seems low given the crowds that were expected.

  45. Reporter..

    What you have to bear in mind the business lost in the critical four winter months.
    January, February and March.

    April 2007 showed a substantial increase over April 2006, BUT, and its a big BUT, we ended the period January 1st until April 30th only a total of 44 long stay arrivals up on 2006.

    That is NOT a misprint – 44 people.

    This is according to the CTO which gets its information from the BTA/Barbados Statistical Service.

    Also bear in mind the BHTA only represents a proportion of our registered hotels, guest houses and apartments and from being a director for sometime, members were notoriously reluctant to divulge ACTUAL occupancy levels.

    We actually have just over 160 REGISTERED hotels, guest houses and apartments.
    You can compare this number with list of BHTA members on their website.

    What CWC did do for most hotels was to allow them to extend their normal winter rate past the traditional date of 14 April to the first week of May.

    No one can convince me that the revenue gained from this 21 day period made up for the losses of business in the peak winter months.

    I have to be very careful with my facts due to the attention I get from various sources, which is why I always base them on published information.

    I cannot however, absolutely guarantee the figures put out in the public domain by organisations like the Barbados Statistical Service are totally accurate, but there all we have to work with.

  46. Thank you Adrian for your usual responsible opininon.

    Given the chaos and fragmented way the hotel industry SEEM to operate under I find it too complex for me to follow.

    Maybe that is also a serious contributing factor for why the Tourism product is the way it is.

    Unless everyone sing out of the same hym book you will have serious problems.

  47. Pingback: Allen Chastenet Continues To Build A Track Record Of Success While His Critics Throw Barbs Including BU Commenter Andrew Nehaul « Barbados Underground

  48. David, on August 23rd, 2007 at 2:45 am Said:
    Adrain~maybe you are right because Mr. Nehaul after a brief exchange with BU residents has gone silent. A similar behavior demonstrated by William Duguid and Lynette Eastmond!
    I wouldn’t be surprise if I am right either. I heard Andrew on a Brasstacks sunday with Mia in the studio to explain the GoB postion on the visa requirement for CWC. His tone, first name basis, and casual reference to knowing Mia from school days tells me more now, than is feeble attempt to lay a legitimate and mature reason for his opinions of Mr. Chastenet. Yup it is all personal for some folks. It is all some folks have.

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