Adrian Loveridge Reviews Tourism Statistics And Concludes~"I’m puzzled, really puzzled"

web-button26.jpgUnder a CBC TV headline ‘Williams says robust growth in tourism’, Central Bank Governor, Dr Marion Williams reported a 4.4 per cent expansion in the Barbadian economy for the first nine months of the year ‘fueled largely by robust growth in tourism’. This follows an article that appeared in the Barbados Advocate, Wednesday 24th October 2007, quoting figures which the newspaper stated had been supplied by the Barbados Statistical Service and referring to a ‘whopping 18 per cent increase’ in visitor arrivals for the first seven months of this year.

I have made repeated applications to the BBS to obtain these figures but despite acknowledgments of my request, have still not received them.

Log-on to the BBS website and you will see that even after hosting ‘the World’s third largest sporting event’ that we finished the first four months of 2007 (our peak period) with a net gain of just 44 long stay visitors. So according to the Advocate and the Central Bank this ‘robust growth’ been in the traditional soft summer months. Yes! There was crop over, but if you look at the stated figures, both arrivals from Trinidad and Tobago and the rest of CARICOM were substantially down.

Dr Williams dismisses the 140% increase in airport departure tax as having any major effect on the dramatic fall in intra-Caribbean travel, and instead cites the historically highest ever regional airfares. In reality, I believe it’s a combination of both. And if long stay visitor arrival numbers were really doing so well, why would our national marketing agency, the Barbados Tourism Authority, increase the taxpayer subsidy on Best of Barbados packages from US$200 to US$300? With the complimentary hotel night stays and daily breakfast, there is in fact, little or no national revenue gain for this programme. You also only have to check with some of our larger hotels to discover that many staff have been working reduced hours and/or days per week.

Please, don’t anyone take my word for it, but I hope the BFP and BU readers who work in the tourism industry will report from their perspective.

Adrian Loveridge

1st November 2007


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33 thoughts on “Adrian Loveridge Reviews Tourism Statistics And Concludes~"I’m puzzled, really puzzled"

  1. I rest my case that that no statistical information in Barbados is supported by scientific or credible evidence.

    But I take that allegation further. Barbadians cannot take seriously any statistical information coming from the BLP Government sector, because it is prejudiced and seriously flawed to suit the BLP agenda.

    The thing that is even more scary is, when you get the Governor of the Central Bank closing her eyes to this situation and playing the game too being a puppet of the Government one has to wonder what is the true financial situation of Barbados. And can you believe Williams when saying the Barbados economy grew by 4.4%?

    Scary stuff even for the Government of Barbados.

  2. No-Name please do not get caught up in the politics of the moment and forget some important points! The Central Bank of Barbados has accumulated a solid reputation over the years through successive administrations. To cast aspirations on the bank and Governor Williams is unkind in our view.

  3. I am not casting aspersions David the facts until refuted is what I base my comments on.

    When the Bank Governor says the Economy grew by 4.4% fuelled by a robust increase in Tourism industry of 18 % but no one including Adrian Loveridge if you believe him can obtain numbers from the Government Statistiacl Department to support it what conclusions are you to draw?

    And this situation is nothing new. We have long seen stsatistical numbers thrown around about crime and other issues none of which anyone to my knowledge ever questioned.

    All I am saying is if Tourism increased by 18 % why are the figures and facts not available to the public to support it. If you cannot see the facts why should I or anyone else believe the economy grew by 4.4%? That is all I am saying.

    Show us the Beef! why should the numbers supporting the good news be kept a secret?

    MANY inferences can be drawn that is our point.


  4. I think the Governor of the Central Bank is a good person but I don’t believe anything she says about the economy because she like other professionals has allowed herself to be used by this government to suit its purposes. Sooner or later she is going to have to do some introspection.

  5. Maybe we are naive Tony but do you think the Governor prepares and 100% analyze the information she presents? At many of her press conferences she is flanked with her fellow Central Bankers who appear to be holders of some very high qualifications. Also many Central Bankers like Delisle Worrell, Winston Cox, Darcy Boyce and Clyde Mascoll??? have developed good reputations and pursued successful careers.

    We can’t imagine Governor Williams setting out to lie because it means all of her colleagues would be liars also.

  6. It’s not a question of lying, it’s more a question of reporting genuinely comparative figures, and the explanation of any deviation from estimates.

    For example the comparative 2006 report states that the Fiscal Deficit “should contract in 2006 and the first half of 2007”, when in fact the latest report shows the Fiscal Deficit more than double, from $69m -> $159m, with hardly an explanation for the the massive miscalculation.

  7. The truth of the matter is that the Governor of the Central Bank has always been used by the Prime Ministers as a political football to be kicked around at will.
    Many would remember Mr Courtney Blackman’s famous comment something to the effect that he says and does whatever Tom Adams wants him to say or do, if you understand that this is the way that the bank functions therefore there can be little doubt about their willingness to slant the outlook to enhance the ruling parties status.
    As for the Tourism arrival figures trust me should one review the numbers up to world cup and realise we had a nett gain of what 44 people or crazy figure such as this even after their nonsense of double and tripling counting visitor arrivals off of the cruise lines than were here for CWC if after their valiant effort to distort the figures the nett gain was 44 persons the real news is that our Tourism industry had failed very badly this year and it has not performed at all but if after all of these antics and our numbers are as poor as they are then were in heavens name has this sudden excessive growth arrived from?
    It certainly is not from CARICOM visitors arrival as Owing and Lynch killed them with their manhandling of the LIAT takeover deal with the move of tripling airfares during the usually busy CARICOM summer season.
    In conclusion there is no way that any sensible thinking Barbadian can or will accept these figures as real and honest numbers because they do not exist, this is the biggest load of crap every attempted to be fed to thinking taxpayers and they should be refused to be accepted and the citzens need to make them ammend them and to come honestly to the public. (now I know honesty is not a trait normally associated with the blp so we will have another problem, that is where do we go to get this honesty?)

  8. WIV by your statement we know that you are aware you have implicated the party which you love. You said successive governments have used the Central Bank as a political football. The question you should answer for us WIV is what plan of action David Thompson has to arrest this long standing issue.

  9. David let me make something perfectly clear. And that is, most of what I post is simply to give another perspective on the issue and hope it causes others to look at it differently.

    I am not denying that some of what I post is not political but that is the least of my concern.

    The point I think you are missing is this and you me and 75% on this Blog are GUILTY of doing it. And that is yes we do cast aspersions on Mascoll, Lynch, Arthur et al because most of what we say is innuendo and unproven. The only person before the law courts is Marshall.

    Having said that ALL Government members including the Governor of the Central Bank deserves it and I am going to tell you why.

    We in Barbados function under a political system where there is no integrity laws, politicians have to disclose few if anything about their holdings etc. And if the public dare ask about it the Minister sues as did Lynch.

    In addition to this abuse of Democracy we have few avenues that we can make Government disclose wrongdoing about anything. And the lopsided Majority the BLP have in Parliament compounds this problem. There is no transparency, the Government does not have to tell us DICK. Therefore the people have the right to draw their own conclusions.

    Hartley Henry wrote albeit I am sure a partisan article in to-days Nation News that says it all.

    Has the Government made any effort to show transparency in the matters of Edu Tech, Greenland, Gems (still not audited for 5 or so years), Jaws, Hardwood ABC etc etc etc. Do you think they will. I doubt it!

    Owen Arthur admits or alludes to corruption in Government and the broader society so he should know. The question then that begs to be asked is where is the corruption and how far has it infiltrated different Ministries and arms of Government.

    You say Marion Williams is a clean Governor and you could be correct. But let me ask you this David.

    Was Glendairy not also an honorable institution until it was burned to the ground? And what has the ongoing inquiry into this mess shown.

    Well to me it shows that even the Attorney General and Senior Bureaucrats were not aware of the slack, incompetent, careless, lying way this honorable institution was being operated until it burnt down. Or they knew about it and said nothing. And the inquiry has revealed the MANY horror stories that no one in their right minds can believe went on with no one in a senior position or the Attorney General knowing about. Give me a break here!

    I say if it can happen at Glendairy and given the many other scandalous cover ups going on why can’t it happen at the Central Bank?

    When you are tainted as being dishonest and your PM admits dishonesty is in Government yet does nothing to expose it and eradicate it, the question that begs to be asked is where does the dishonesty begin and where does it end? The Governor might indeed be clean but like the situation at Glendairy she is ultimately responsible as was the Attorney General.

    How do I know the dishonesty has not permeated the Statistical Department, Town Planning, The Central Bank or the Ministry of Tourism? We don’t because the Government does not have to do a damn thing about the many scandals we have questions about. So we have the right to draw our own conclusions based on Government misconduct and abuse of power.

    That is why I say ig Adrian Loveridge cannot get statistics how can I believe or why should I believe the Bank Governor. How do I know corruption has not permeated the very senior echelon of the bank who might be conning her.

    What I also find strange is how can we have a 14 or 18% increase in Tourism if I believe Adrians numbers for long stay visitors early in the year coupled with an 8% decline in Visitors this Fall as posted by the BHTA?

  10. A healthy economic outlook, unflattering inflation figures AND cuts in interest rates.

    This just doesn’t add up!

    Can someone explain?

  11. Wishing in Vain

    Your thoughts as you expressed them in writing are little here, there and everywhere, with these very long sentences that if you do not punctuate, tends to make no sense at all if you choose to put so much different information in one sentence which, tends towards much ambiquity. Like the one I just wrote. Just an observation

  12. Yes David political parties have used the Central Bank from the very beginning of the birth of the Central Bank.
    I have no information with regard to Mr Thompson’s involvement or his plans for the bank let me state that my comments are those of a concerned citizen that has watched this country fallen into a steady rate of decline with corruption peaking and is at an all time high driven by Owing and his inner company of friends.
    I am not a party loyal as I have voted for both parties over the years or an insider but I have built up a tremendous hatred for the manner in which this gov’t is operating and the extent of their dishonesty, stealing and corruption.
    I suggest to you that someone should ask Mr Thompson about how he intends to relate to the Central Bank when he becomes the next PM.

  13. I often query why Bajans are so pessimistic, yes I can accept the party yardfowls and their axes to grind. But statistics bearing bad news are always accepted with no question. However being the bearer of good news will always result in people questioning your credibility.

    Lest we forget…..

    BHTA has made favourable comments about the tourist industry this year. With one comment by Sue Springer in particular describing the World Cup as a “Master Stroke” according to the Nation.

    Ask anyone in construction about how hard it is to hire a Bajan. And don’t come with crap about how they are all hiring guyanese because they are cheaper… Bajans aren’t applying for the jobs.

    Look in the Sunday paper and see how many vacancy ads are in the classifieds as opposed to position wanted ads.

    Generally the country is prosperous. There are issues to be dealt with, but the economy is not doing badly. To question the integrity of the Central Bank is ludicrous, the central bank has reported both good AND bad news in its time.

    Yes the World Cup had its issues, but just as Noel Lynch is guilty of emphasising only the good parts, many of the commenters on the blogs are only emphasising the bad. Both approaches are wrong. Similarly it would be wrong to make a “final” judgement on World Cup any time this year. The true benefits of the event will only be objectively judged over the next five years or so.

    The government can be criticised on many things, but by any objective measure the Barbados economy is doing well.

  14. If Barbados is doing so well, why, in the face of the spiralling cost of living, is the Central Bank urging wage restraint?

  15. Ladies and Gentlemen,
    It confuses me that our Tourism Industry could be doing so well when we are seeing closure of so much of the plant in Barbados.
    We are now seeing the demise of yet another hotel along the West Coast this one being SANDRIDGE HOTEL owned by Arthurs good friend Mr Bernie Weatherhead, this hotel has recently been sold to the owners of St.Peters Bay being built right next door, now my question is will the new owners maintain this property as a hotel (which they should do) or will they apply to Arthur for a change of use and then extend the Condo property to encompass the SANDRIDGE HOTEL PROPERTY?
    As we drive along the West Coast nearly every open piece of land has been converted to Condo blocks and a number of Hotels being converted to Condos, where is the study that Lynch referred to that they were awaiting?
    They are yet to see or hear the report but yet Lynch goes ahead and allows a private sector agency to built Condos on prime beach front property at Dover, somewhere that is very much more suitable for a beachfront hotel than a Condo block.

  16. I in the name of God cannot figure out these points if true. With inflation again raising its ugly head, why would intest rates be LOWERED as Yum suggests? I thought most economies went the other way to cool off the hot economy and stem the rate of inflation?

    The next point I do not understand is with a HOT HOT HOT economy how come 40% hollering that the cost of living too high. They are wukking and must be mekking BIG MONEY in this HOT HOT HOT economy so why are they complaining. In other economies it is only the unemployed crying about cost of living because they have no money coming in.

    As for putting any confidence in what Sue Springer says you would be better off going to a fortune teller.

    It was after the CWC that the same Sue Springer and some other yardfowl at BHTA said the Fall numbers of visitor arrivals were down 8%. I think it was September and October. This was only 5 or so weeks ago and listen to what the “yardfowl” at BHTA blamed it on (1) school regulations in the UK changing and children not being able to be taken out of schools and (2) The hurricane season.

    Can you imagine anyone with intelligence talking such crap when SOME hotels during the same period had very good occupancy rates?

    It caused me to ask the “yardfowl” at BHTA if the hotels doing good were catering only to childless visitors. Why did the hurricane season effect the 8% decline in 2007 when Barbados has a hurricane season every year. And if Barbados was now only getting visitors from the UK alone which impacted the low occupancy hotels. It is all shite talk!

    Maybe ever body wukking for salaries of $150,000 per year but it tekking $300,000 per year to live. What kind of economy is that?

  17. The point I guess that I am trying to make and obviously not very well is this.

    The issue is not about “good” news or “bad” news but reliable dependable news that can be supported by statistical data that is scientifically credible and transparent. We hear the same claims about crime reduction and in the next breath Dame Billie Miller shits all over the UN for not helping the Caribbean enough to stop rising crime, drugs, gun running etc in the Caribbean and Barbados included. This double talk does not instil confidence that the a—–holes in Government know what they are talking about. Does it?

    Had anyone said prior to Glendairy being burnt down that it would OR COULD happen most Bajans would have said “that is impossible”.

    The next point is why did it burn down on the BLP watch was it coincidence. Well from my perspective I think given all of the other scandalous things going on, and on the BLP watch it might have happened because of gross negligence. And to suggest that any Ministry the Central Bank included cannot or is not tainted with the same gross inefficiency is nonsense. I think as soime have suggested we Bajans or some of us are truly gullible.

    The Construction industry alone will probably employ a very small percentage of Bajans due to the lack of skilled workers that is why the Chinese are there isn’t it. Where then is all of the other Bajans being employed to justify a 4% un-employment rate? And what about Ezzra Alleynes claim that 145,000 Barbadians do not draw a pay check. I have seen no one call Ezzra a bloody liar.

  18. My take on it Uncle Tom Al Gilkes is that “No News is simply the BLP has been caught with its pants down lying and do not know if to shit or wind its watch”. Not an uncommon situation for a Government whose own Prime Minister has gone on the Public record to say is CORRUPT.

  19. And here in lies my point. If you dare say that ONE aspect of Barbados is run well, you are jumped on by a host of people who point out what’s not run well.

    Further all manner of off point arguements are introduced.

    For example the point above about 40% of the population feeling that cost of living is an issue. Yes there is an issue with inflation that the Central Bank Governor pointed out. And if historically you compare the inflation rate it is extremely high with what has historically been the norm in Barbados. However one does not negate the other.

    Further suddenly the BHTA is a yardfowl of the government? Were they a yard fowl when they went to the public saying that World Cup would be a disaster if no corrective action was taken? You can’t have it both ways. The BHTA criticises when it has reason to and praises when it has reason to. It is the commenters on this forum that simply criticise.

    The venom of the reaction to my post on the Central Bank delivering good news is the best proof of my argument.

    Thanks guys!

  20. All I am saying is how can the BHTA be considered credible when explaining the 8% decline in tourist arrival numbers in Sept and October to be caused by the “hurricane ” season among other stupidity.

    And does shit like this instil confindence when it comes to having the people of Barbados believing what the BHTA has to say. I doubt it my take it on it is that it is suggest the BHTA is headed up by BLP “Bimbos” when considering their explanations for a declining tourist numbers.

    The same type of irresponsible and unsupported reasons are given for the state of the economy in Barbados and WE CANNOT BELIEVE THE STATISTICS ON WHICH THEY ARE BASED. THIS IS THE FOCUS OF THE PROBLEM!

  21. And yet when bad news is delivered no one says …”gee do you think the statistics might be wrong?”

    It’s accepted as gospel.

    You simply can’t have it both ways

  22. Anonymous as I have said you are missing MY point.

    I am saying I cannot believe any news “good” or “bad” and any Barbadian I think has to agree with me.

    You have to have believeable, credible and accessible statistical data to support “Good” or “Bad” news.

    How can anyone blame the “hurricane” season as a reason for declining tourist numbers this year in September and October. Barbados has a hurricane season every year why did it effect the tourist numbers this year ONLY? Isn’t that kind of stupid?

  23. No Name, your comments are at best comical and at worst uninformed please explain your expertise in tourism that you can call Mrs Springer a regionally recognised tourism expert an idiot and suggest yardfowl ism with her. On the latter point i would suggest you look in the mirror for a yardfowl and leave innocent people out of it.

    Bash the government and opposition all you want… or sorry you can’t bash the opposition you think they are the best thing don’t you.

    You and WIV are hell bent on discrediting everyone associated with the current administration…… but you alone hold only 1 vote…thankfully

  24. David..

    Please see Broad Street Journal article regarding long stay visitor arrivals for the first nine months of this year.

    No wonder the BBS did not want to confirm the figures printed in the 24th October 2007 issue of the Barbados Advocate stating there was a 18.2% growth.

    Lets try 2%!

    And regarding the ‘increased spending’.

    Unless this figure is inflation adjusted, it means nothing.
    In fact unless it is, it means are visitors are spending LESS, not more!

    I have inserted link to BSJ.


  25. Adrian I have said my piece on this subject. But your additional comments are timely to support what I am trying to say and what I have been saying for years. And which I tried to explain to Anonymous is my concerns. It has nothing to do with pessimism or trying to discredit good news of any kind relating to anything to do with Barbados. Not at all. My concern is the information (statistics) are spurious and unproven and with what is going on in Barbados mainly because of the lack of integrity by the BLP Government I do not trust them without facts to support what is being claimed. Is that unreasonable when I see millions of tax dollars mine included going through the eddoes with nobody telling us Dick? Man gomme a break!

    Statistical information in Barbados is grossly unreliable and it appears everybody has their own numbers and where they come up with them only God in heaven knows. What the Government posts are obviously seriously tainted and with no one being able to verify them, question their accuracy, reliability etc as is done in other Nations how to hell do you know what they mean.

    How many times and you are in the business that you do not pick up a newspaper and read to-day that tourism has increased or decreased. Then two months later the same sources have reversed their positions? The same is true with crime statistics and most others.

    We hear the economy in Barbados is on fire and the reason given for this situation by some on this blog is building construction. The Governor says it is a robust increase in “Tourism”. Which is it Construction, Tourism, Prostitution? What to hell is it?

    Most Nations say as an example. The economy is growing at a rate of 4.3% led by, minerals, energy, construction, tourism whatever. And they give a breakdown of the growth in each sector and analyze the reasons or their reasons for it. In Barbados does the damn Governor do this? Do the newspapers do this? No, they merely say Tourism is up 14 %. Or the economy has grown by 4.3% driven by a robust Tourist industry that grew bu 14%. However, the people are expected to accept this BS without having any access to how the conclusions were reached and how reliable the statistical data is. Economic forecasting in the REAL WORLD is not done like this only in Arthurs world!

    This is the low season for tourism and as you know and as I said the BHTA themselves claimed they had experienced an 8% decline in visitor arrivals. Am I lying? They blamed this on one market the UK claiming school regulations were changed and UK visitors could not take their kids out of school. Then another yardfowl at BHTA made the most ridiculous statement saying the “Hurricane” season was also to blame as though Barbados had its first hurricane season in 2007. Did people from other countries not come that resulted in the 8 % decline? Why were some hotels doing quite well and others not? Should that not have been the focus?

    Therefore if the tourism industry is robust it must have been robust back in the winter with CWC and that has not been supported by fact YET. Does any it make sense?

    Another thing is this you and the BHTA have gone on the public record to emphatically say that many hotels WILL NOT GIVE OUT THEIR visitor numbers or trends. How many these are I do not know, but does this not also suggest what the BHTA post in statistics is at best not the most accurate.

    If we accept that Barbados’ economy is as good as we are being led to believe and it has to be if we accept the numbers like 4% unemployment, etc and interest rates being dropped what is driving it besides tourism or construction take your pick? And isn’t it funny that the island of Barbados is having the good times roll while the USA economy is up and down like a new brides pants hovering close to recession and the Canadian dollar now $1.05 against the green back. None of this enhances Caribbean economies. Excepting maybe this winter more Canadians might come to the region because of the high dollar but that is not a given but that will be a good excuse for BHTA next year to talk crap!

    I say all or most of what Barbadians are being fed is election good news BS and the, BLP, Bank Governor and the BHTA among others responsible for pulling the wool over the eyes of Bajans in this way should be ashamed of themselves.

  26. I am reading my Nation News and I am focused with shock and awe on the BHTA views of Tourism.

    Here is Alvin Jemmott the “hurrican man” I think expounding on the public record, that by the end of September 07 visitor arrivals will be up by 2% over 06. And by year end will be up 3% over last year.

    But two things bother me about this statement. How does Jemmott reach his prediction when saying HE DID NOT HAVE COMPARATIVE STATISTICS FOR LAST YEAR? Am I missing something here. If he has no comparative statistics for last year how does he reach his conclusions for this year? And where did the Advocate and Dr. Marion Williams Central Bank Governor come up with their numbers? Where did they come from?

    My next concern is the statement made by who is described as the Chairperson of Tourism Marketing Committee who als gave a very insightful and meaningful statement about Cruise Ship arrivals. She claimed this year 2007 the cruise ship arrivals were “MORE ACTIVE”. What to hell does that tell us or what does it mean. Why was this segment of tourist arrivals not supported by STATISTICS?

    And some on this blog criticize me for referring to these peole at the BHTA as yardfowls.

  27. NN the only yardfowls bigger than BHTA are the fowls on BTA board.
    The cruise ship chairwoman is most outrageous yardfowl of them all.
    Like you I take what both bodies report with large doses of those cheap white crystals.

  28. Harbour View

    I do not like demeaning people or hurting peoples feelings but you are correct. How can intelligent people running as important an Organization and Government Agency like the BHTA and BTA go on the public record and speak such nonsense that would insult the intelligence of a 2nd former? And I am sure these people are paid big bucks.

    But what is even more troubling and I hate sounding like a broken record is this. How can a Bank Governor of all people and the Advocate go on the Public Record with equally irresponsible statistics? It blows my bloody mind!

    My first impression about it is that they must think Barbadians art all uneducated idiots. I find it quite insulting actually!

  29. Pingback: What Price Journalistic Integrity? «

  30. Has anyone considered the impact that the cruise liners may have made to bulking up the tourism arrival figures with their recycling of the same guest during the cricket world cup period by as many as three visits in one week ?
    How were these people counted ?
    These surely cannot be triple counted but knowing Lynch as I do there is every chance that he has done so and it is distorting the real figures my humble opinion is that the real cruise line business has declined and the numbers are maybe 3/4 ’s of what they have stated.

  31. I also heard about the rumored sale of Sandridge Hotel today.

    If it is true, then that will make a total of 27 closed hotels over the last 13 years.
    Adrian I too have been asking questions as to if this sale is true or not and the feed back that I am getting is that it is correct that it has sold to Bejerkham and his group.
    Now why have we not heard a single word from Muscle Mary Lynch if this is the case, after all he is supposedly to be the Minister responsible for Tourism and its infrastructure and when hotels continue to shut down as is the case here then does it not then hamper the earning capacity of the overall industry?
    I think that the Minister has a duty to perform and that is to explain how our hotel plant and our island is benefitting from the closure of so many hotels and for them to be converted to fewer condos, because trust me whenever the contruction begins on the Sandridge property the number of rooms will be greatly reduced from what it is at present.

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