Record Numbers And What Else?

Submitted by George C. Brathwaite

I am very heartened at the news that Barbados has succeeded in receiving record numbers of tourists for the month of January. This is significant given all of the other depressing news that surrounds the uncertainties associated with what is occurring in the UK and USA notwithstanding that Canada is holding its own.

Nevertheless, the good news is tempered by a concern over the issue of revenues and distribution in terms of any spending with the stakeholders. Am I to believe that with our gains in recording statistical data, we still prefer attractive sound bytes rather than getting to the detail. Hence, a few questions that Ralph Taylor or the Ministry of Tourism may wish to consider.

  • What is the actual or projected revenue from the record 50, 000 plus visitors in January?
  • How many of these arrivals were classified as (a) cruise ship; and (b) hotel?
  • How many of the major or small businesses have indicated any significant improvement of their earnings in January 2011 as compared to January over the last 5 years?
  • To what extent has the tourist industry since January been able to reverse the trends of unemployment or reduced work schedules in that industry as a direct result of the January numbers?

There is no intent on my part to bash the current administration or any of the agencies supplying the welcomed news. However, if Barbados is going to be on the ball, then the information fed to the public has to be as thorough as possible; and the information has to be meaningful in the overall context of the current state of the economy.

I hope that those with the relevant information would advance the pertinent information at the soonest; this so that Barbadians may have a more lucid account of what is the significance of record numbers of tourists arriving in January. Anything less is fodder for those who have political agendas that are inevitable within the existing political divide. The people must always count as the political class’ first base and ultimate priority.

0 thoughts on “Record Numbers And What Else?

  1. It would be very interesting to see Adrian Loveridge’s comment on the arrival figures quoted by Ralph Taylor, especially when he so passionately questioned similar data presented by the previous Tourism Minister and BTA board. Although I am not questioning the accuracy of these statistics, I would like, however, to see a breakdown of the figures. For example, how many of these visitors over the period in question were in transit, or came in to apply for US visas. All these arrivals, yet the taxi-men were complaining from last year, (Oh, tourist are probably travelling on the PSVs); hotels/guest houses saw no significant increase in occupancy levels. It is good strategy to present data in broad terms, but such data means nothing without the appropriate breakdown.

  2. The first few months of 2011 haven’t finished as yet but here is Taylor spouting numbers. Why are these people so quick to open their mouths before they have all the facts. The numbers, they sound good but the breakdown will be interesting.

  3. Are these not the kind of questions our journalists should be asking? As a matter of public imformation answers must be given.I do understand that recrimination serves no real purpose , but the fact remains that we were duped by the last minister whose facts and figures were shady at best, and the bitterness of Cricket World Cup is still regurgitated by all. We were told that we could expect a new beginning , so now expectant ones are thinking that out of accountability comes credibility and it can all start here with the relevant answers.

  4. Regardless of why the Tourist figures are up, say thanks for the blessing because Barbados does not have much to sell to the rest of the world.

    For the record, I know people who visited Barbados last year and are booked to go for March break.

    Those of you who care about Barbados need to help make tourism work.

    • @Hants

      We can’t educate our people and don’t expect to be asked questions.

      It is how we advocate and agitate in our system of government.

      If Ralph Taylor wants to spout numbers he has to be prepared to defends those numbers.

      The reality that he is a political appointee is all the more reason the process of communication from the BTA should be seen to be transparent.

    • If we judge in the context of how the overall Caribbean and Central America performed Barbados stacked up reasonably well.

      Check the latest stats for 2010 posted on the CTO website..

  5. Yes David. He needs to explain the numbers although I expect the Government has a department that actually provides accurate statistics.

    Politics aside, there should be no surprise when Tourists arrivals go up in January.
    The majority of Tourist are in the words of the late great Bob Marley “coming in from the cold”.

    Perhaps instead of spouting figures the BTA and Taylor should be focused on diversifying the Tourism product.

    Tourist like thins to do when the sun goes down and I have been told that the night life in Barbados sucks.

  6. An estimated 3.1 million Canucks visited Florida last year, up a whopping 16.2 per cent from 2009.

    Last year, Mexico saw 1,460,418 Canadian tourists, up 19.4% from 2009.

    I doan have to read an spell fuh wunna.

    Nuff nuff Canadians travel bout last year ansome help to mek Barbados figures look good.

  7. Robert,

    Not to much to say at this stage.
    ‘In January of this year Barbados saw as many as 53,000 tourism arrivals’ sounds a bit vague but certainly is an improvement on the highest number recorded since 2003, which was 48,888 during January of 2006.
    Seems to be lots of mixed messages though with the President of the BHTA stating lots of tourism businesses are ‘suffering’. It may help to tell us which particular sub-sectors.
    Under a headline of ‘Businesses must support themselves’ on page 5 of the Advocate today, The BTA CEO voiced lots of opinion including ‘we have to get out of this notion that the Government is here to prop up every business’.
    Only GEMS (Hotel and Resorts Ltd) is it then?
    Fortunately many of us discovered that years ago and if we had relied on the BTA to market the small hotels like ours, we would have been dead in the water.
    There is still no BTA marketing budget for the majority of small hotels and no functioning committee to support this grouping within the BHTA.
    As to when we should open and close OUR businesses, unless Mr. Rice is prepared to put money where his mouth is, he might prefer to
    concentrate on other areas.

  8. Every weekend several TUI aircraft arrive at GAIA with passengers to tranfer to cruise ships and vice versa – thousands of them. Are these included in the published figures? After all, they are required to fill out immigration forms.

  9. Numbers are not telling the whole truth.

    Air uplift of cruise passengers in Barbados are being counted twice, once on arrival at Airport for transfer to the cruise ship and again when cruise ship docks in Barbados at the end of the cruise for transfer back to the airport. Also when any cruise ship arrives with say 3000 people Barbados counts them all as arrived on the island when in fact only about 20% actually depart the ship while it’s in port. This false count is inflating tourists arrivals and is meaningless to the economy.

  10. It is absolutely amazing that a country which allocates a significant budget to education and one which ranks high on Transparency International index would play bo peep with the public about how tourists numbers are tracked. Is it not reasonable for an inquiring public to opine that other information which is placed in the public domain by government can be questioned? Is this an ethical issue?

  11. @David
    “Is it not reasonable for an inquiring public to opine that other information which is placed in the public domain by government can be questioned? Is this an ethical issue?”

    All Government information both in and out of the public domain must be questioned ie; “how’s things going at CLICO etc.” Ethical and the Barbados Government, now there’s a can of worms to open!

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