The Fall of Almond Beach Village, Next Chapter

Are tourist arrivals influenced by Capital markets?

Almond Beach Village (ABV) deposited hundreds of employees on the breadline yesterday. There is no need to rehash all that has been stated in recent weeks except to express commiserations with the employees of ABV. There is the saying that behind every grey cloud is a silver lining and BU remains bullish given the ‘quality’ of suitors vying for the St. Peter property.

When updated ARI financials are posted the country needs to answer the questions – what the hell happened at ABV given the leadership position it had in the market? How did the shareholders allow a property which was profitmaking for most of its existence to collapse? It is important for Barbados which depends almost solely on tourism – a strategic asset – to analyse what really happened to ABV. The fact that it used an all inclusive model is another consideration.

Based on the data supplied to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) by Barbados the performance has been good despite the challenging economic conditions. A trend analysis of the last decade shows that decline in arrivals was worse in the period 2001 to 2002. Surprisingly, a dive into the stats, four of the ten best months for arrivals since 2000 occurred post – 2008! What makes this highlight worthy is that it includes CWC 2007 activity. Minister Sealy and the Barbados Tourism Authority appear to be successful in luring tourists in numbers to Barbados but the dollar spend has declined significantly. Should the government continue to blame the economic climate or is it ineffective marketing?

Governor Worrell indicated in his press conference last week  that there is little direct correlation between the GDP of our main tourist markets and the tourists who visit Barbados. However, what the research shows is that there is a strong link between the performance of those tourists’ capital markets and the decision to holiday in Barbados. BU research concludes that Capital markets are strongly influenced by GDP growth expectations and Barbados planners can use this approach to predict arrival trends  months in advance. When people feel wealthier they spend more and the flipside is true – see chart above.

If we apply the analysis to ABV, in a market where tourist arrivals have been trending upward when juxtaposed with ABV’s poor financial health, it  is evident  Almond was a price taker, commendable in getting tourists through the door but whither cashflows?

42 thoughts on “The Fall of Almond Beach Village, Next Chapter


  1. Are we really doing that well on Barbados?

    St. Lucia UP 15 per cent overall for first three months of 2012.

    Up 30% – UK (despite the APD)
    Up 28% – Canada
    Up 9% – USA


  2. This sepulchral is nothing but a changing of the guard,moneybags being filled while we at it .. and off course, some being shafted for their good measure….We know who they were. How quick we are to resemble what goes on on outside financial markets without any bail out success. The cry for more protective laws for investors sounded since days of the Cotton Factory, Trade Confirmers and Narshim Insurances, with little attention being paid to stamp out the transgressors. Guess one man’s meat is a another man’s poison still holds. Time we start ‘lifting the veil’ and pursue these Johnathan Fridds as we can see what is being done to our local investors’ interest by all this.


  3. David, I understand that a Tourism Master Plan (10 years) has finally been commissioned and will be compiled over 18 months. Why so long in coming?
    St. Lucia can attract 5 direct flights a week from Atlanta, while we cannot sustain one. British Airways down to 7 flights from 11 and more double-drops which will also help St. Lucia and Antigua.
    Some questions need to be asked and answered, why we are not doing better? With the loss of ABV which even at 80 per cent occupancy could amount to 33,000 long stay visitors a year or put another way, the seating capacity of 145 – B777’s or three BA flights a week.


  4. “How did the shareholders allow a property which was profitmaking for most of its existence to collapse?”
    ********************
    Who wrote his? ….John?
    What shareholders what??!!
    Shareholders are nothing but patsies in these games. The only player in the game is the major shareholder. It is the BOARD OF DIRECTORS who make all the decisions which can lead to bankruptcy, while the minority shareholders just suffer….
    Indeed, these organizations are so corrupt and perverse, that ofter, NOT EVEN THE BOARD knows what is going on – with only a small inner circle controlling things while board members (who are often selected precisely for their level of gullibility) just sign as directed

    Such a system perfectly suits those crooks who seem to gravitate to company leadership as we have seen with CLICO, Sanford, and countless others.
    The only organization where shareholders have the POWER to make a serious input is a Co operative.


  5. I read somwhere AA will stop fights to St. Lucia this month. Adrian are you hiding details? St. Lucia arrivals were down last year Barbados’ were up by nearly 10% . Is that true Adrian?
    St. Lucia tourism piggy backed without shame and with success on Barbados for its entire history.
    Its a relatively new destination whereas Barbados is mature and established.
    They are enough visitors around for each destination in the Caribbean to get its share no need for the unpatriotic among us to come on here to run down Barbados to promote other islands. If you dont like safe Barbados where the rule of law is respected then move to another jurisdiction.


  6. @Pico Teneriffe

    I don’t think it is AA that will stop serving St. Lucia. What I heard on the news was that American Eagle (AA’s small, prop plane, commuter airline subsidiary) will stop service to St. Lucia from Puerto Rico. This could impact St. Lucia’s overall arrivals from the US to some extent as it will impact the ability of US travellers to transfer in Puerto Rico to connect to St. Lucia But that is a horse of a different colour from AA itself suspending service to St. Lucia.


  7. Have we paid careful attention to the concept of all inclusive, whereby those travel groups are responsible for filling the hotels with any dick and harry and who hardly have any money to spend outside the hotels. Barbados’ tourism product cannot compete with countries like cuba and some of our neigbours who have more diversity to offer than us.

    Gone are the days when tourists come to Barbados for the four s; sex, sea,sand and sun. Those can be had anywhere. We no longer have that compeitive advantage. Regional countries are improving on their infrasctuctures and, besides that, the virginity of some of the isalnds can be very appealing. Tourists visit an island to experience things that they are not experincing in their native countries, They do not want to eat and drink the things they are accustomed to at home. Are we understaning the psycological and socialogical reasons for tourists leaving their countries to visit other countries? They leave home to experience a diiferent culture, .

    Cultural and sport tourism should be foremost in our minds in expanding our tourism strategy. The cost of air transportation is a another factor in the minds of tourists when making a decision to visit a country. Are we pricing ourselves out of the market because of the greed of some of the hoteliers, Should our marketing strategy be tageting mostly persons who spend money as if there is an unlimited supply of that commodity?. Should we de-emphasing all inclusive where the small hotels are held ramsom by the tour grroups forcing them to give deep discounts just to have business?.

    Last year I was in Montega Bay, stayed at a hotel where you get mostly local foods, and which had facilities allowing the local craftmen to sell their products to the guests. In addition, the cultural activies included teaching the tourists local dialect which they seemed to have enjoyed.

    When Barbados first diversified into tourism as a development strategy, emphasis was on the cultured tourist who have loads of money to spend, but with some emphasis on the mass tourist, we certainly notice a decline in revenue from tourism and decline in bednights, In addition, we have witnessed that the hotels have moved into areas that were reserved for the small man who normally would have personalised the business to the extend where the tourist would have had a barbadian experience, as the survival of these businessed depend on their personal marketing strategy. On the other hand, working for the hotel means that you would not have to give your all, if you are guranteed a wage/salary.

    It is evident that we need to relook the way we market our products, and some hotels need to pay more attention tp marketing; using the socail media to cut out some of its cost.. Although i am aware that there is an informal home torurism strategy developed by Barbadians who are housing torists, this concept should be formally embraced as one of the strategies to further develop our tourism product.

    Disclaimer i write as the points came to my head, so if they seem non sensical i was not thinking straight. ;


    • @Blogger2012

      One of the arguments from Ralph Taylor of Almond is that it is a large if not the largest buyer of local produce. Of course the question he needs to answer is if Almond the business is losing money and or not being managed efficiently where is the logic in his argument?


  8. Pico Tenerife,

    I am not sure what your motivation is to totally mislead people. Fortunately some of us have a brain. Green Monkey is correct. In fact American Airlines have been trying to offload Eagle for sometime and plan to cease operations out of Puerto Rico totally with Eagle services next year.

    Now the KNOWN facts for St. Lucia and Barbados.

    Long Stay Visitors
    2010 –
    Barbados – 532,180 representing a 2.6 per cent growth on previous year.
    St. Lucia – 305, 937 representing a 9.9 per cent growth over previous.
    2011 –
    Barbados – 567,724 representing 6.7 per growth over 2010.
    St. Lucia currently is only showing arrivals for period Jan-August 2011.
    So unless you have direct line to the St. Lucia Ministry of Tourism

    Best to do some research BEFORE you start to say all sorts of silly things.


  9. @David

    u r a clever blog master. I guess we all know u know how to start a good argument. he would have to say if they use buy more local products than the other hotels. We need a formal policy of not allowing certain agricultural products into barbados and this will allow for the further growth of local africulture and this will force hotels and restaurants to think local.


    • @Blogger

      Not sure if you heard James Paul on the radio yesterday, after all these years he expressed frustration that there has not been the business marriage made between agriculture and tourism. It therefore boggles the mind what successive governments have been doing because it seems a happy marriage to achieve a ‘quick pick of low hanging opportunity” to compensate from economies of scale.

      BTW stop writing you have no sense because the BU family knows different, you just need to give Caswell some slack.


  10. @David and Adrian
    re. Agriculture and the Tourism Master Plan I often marvel or am amazed at how long it takes good ideas, that are already formulated and trashed out to come to fruition. It’s obvious that by the time they do, the circumstances have changed adn more time and money will have to be spent to modify them. this holds in many other sectors as well, not sure if it is a symptom of our “laid back” culture. If it is this will “kill” us in an age of technology and data driven business practices.

    Regarding Taylor’s comments I too was surprised that he “boasted” of being one of the biggest local purchasers. that says to me that the ripple effect mentioned here over and over again may be even greater than we think.


    • @Observing

      There was information that a ‘whole’ travel agency had to close its doors in the UK. Almond will be a mess which the authorities probably don’t have a clue how to mitigate impact.

      @Adrian

      Have you any idea the terms of reference of the master plan project?


  11. @David

    that was my undergraduate thesis, to some extent 26 years ago. i say no more. AND WE are still experiencing that problems what it tells you about us as a people, just talkers.


  12. David,

    Sadly not. I spent nearly three hours with one of the persons compiling the Master Plan a couple of days ago.

    I hope that the industry is going to be fully involved.


  13. I am still to meet a Canadian who.wants to go to Barbados to experience the culture.

    They want the SUN especially when it is -10c up here.That is why there is a winter season. The sea,sand and anything else is a bonus.

    There will be a lot of pain with the closure of Almond.The whole country will suffer.

    What next?


    • @Hants

      Good question.

      There is no doubt the closure will have a significant on the forex reserves. How much no one is saying at the moment.

      Clearly the pressure on the reserves will make this government even more cautious with its fiscal policy which has been under pressure from the opposition up to now for it to be relaxed to fuel domestic activity.

      Reports indicate that the forex reserves have dipped slightly and all eyes will be on the reserves going down the road.

      This government will be hard press to defend its position if it wants to use the medium term fiscal strategy which calls for slashing expenditure without finding opportunities to reinvest to find growth opportunities.

      Such a position is like being 2-steps forward and 3-steps backward.


  14. Loveridge do you take Bajans for idiots you start off by saying
    -St. Lucia UP 15 per cent overall for first three months of 2012.

    later on you write
    -St. Lucia currently is only showing arrivals for period Jan-August 2011.

    You know 2012 is up but you dont have full 2011 statistics. Does that make sense to you- no indication of the overall 2011 numbers but you know 2012 is up on 2011. You guys will conjure up any hogwash to make Barbados look bad.


  15. @Hants

    It means that you have not read the studies on why visitors leave their home country to visit another country. I suggest that you try contacting the Univesity of the West indies to ascertain whether the research on the sociology of tourism is avaliable on line. Those studies are narmally in the West Indies Collection. And I would have read lots of them while undertaking research on the same subject as an undergraduate in the 1980’s; You also need to understand when one speaks a about culture what one is speaking about. Culture is the way we live, for example, the way we speak, how we do things, the food we eat, among other things. By the way, our culture distinguishes us from others,

    Why do u think people travel, just to say they travel, it is a new experince. Go read some literature on the subject and come back and tell us about what you have discovered in your reading.


  16. @Check

    Thank you.

    i enjoy the area of tourism. some years ago i did an excellent research paper on that area . i was highly commended for undertaking the reaeach and the analaysi presented. That paper looked at the torusim strategy and what was actually happening. That was a post graduate paper.


  17. “You guys will conjure up any hogwash to make Barbados look bad.”

    How does falling visitor arrivals make Barbados look bad? Whenever there is constructive criticism offered, many jump on the bandwagon and spout that people are making Barbados look bad. Tell me what makes Barbados look good? High prices? Below standard hotel properties? Rude service? Poor upkeep of our National treasures? The cleanliness of Bridgetown? Stupse We need to look and analyze why we are failing and what we need to do to improve our product.

    The tourism product has peaked and we have been in a decline for many years. If only the Tourism authority will acknowledge this and set about improving the product. They are selling dreams that no longer exist.

    Many hotel guests complain about the limited food choices, many would like to see more local food and fruits. Whenever I visit the French islands , there is an abundance of local fruit and food at the hotel and in restaurants. Things like FRESH mammy apple juice, mammy apple jam, FRESH passion fruit juice, FRESH pineapple juice, pineapple jam, FRESH orange juice, FRESH grapefruit juice, FRESH golden apple juice, FRESH tamarind juice, FRESH guava juice, guava jam, and the list goes on and on.

    We MUST change the way we do business and provide a wholesome product. You cannot buy authenticity from a can!


  18. islandgirl246,

    So well said.
    We got all excited when Pine Hill started to offer ‘fruit juices’ and on ordering we noticed that the fruit content was most cases only 15 per cent.
    I am not saying that we (Barbados) can produce everything we need but surely its possible to bring things in like mango puree from Dominica.


  19. @Island

    I love when u aint cursing old onions ur bf, u “does” gve we some good points when yah ready. if the hotles were to used local fersh juices a nice cottage industry could develop, but they want to import eveything so that in some instances the family member doing the importing adding on a markup thorough a intermediary company owned by the said family member.


  20. islandgal asks-“How does falling visitor arrivals make Barbados look bad?”

    Your are lying gal the Central Bank governor reported Barbados visitor arrivals were up last year and up again for the first months of 2012. I believe him. I dont believe you or Loveridge.


  21. RICH WHITE JACKASS….you papsy behind is sticking up in the sand and one day someone gine put dem foot pon yuh and bury yuh!


    • It is known that Ralph Taylor owned private companies which supplied many hotels in Barbados. We need to understand hoe decisions are being influenced by planners in the industry. This is a man who was head of the BTA and knew the ins and outs.

      What happened to the plan of the BTA to have a committee to focus on product and one on marketing? It goes back to islandgal’s point that we need to spruce up the product, it is tired for heavenssakes.


  22. Be Careful what you beleive in Print media on tourism or any other topic – An agenda is blatantly being played out. The Nation newspaper sank to another low today, May 2, 2012 when Sanka Price whose support for the BLP is obvious to anyone with a brain wrote a political propaganda piece entitled “We need the best brains”.
    You would think a title like that would draw from people across the political spectrum but NO WAY – that is not on Price’s agenda. He proceeds to only highlight two members of the BLP for praise while basically telling readers how good it would be to have these people back in power “in the immediate future”,quote,unquote.
    This man is not only a columnist but an editor who controls the input and layout of the Friday and Saturday Nation.
    Sanka Price needs to stop pretending to be a fair journalist as he is doing a lousy job at it . His columns are becoming all too predictable and today is another glaring example of how the Nation newspaper has been politically compromised with a group of one sided columnists who basically function as mouthpieces and “journalistic” prostitutes of the Barbados Labour Party – Sanka Price and the Nation should be ashamed!


  23. NationBLPNewspaper….didn’t you post this in another blog just now? What has this got to do with Almond? Stupse you like to know you can force your point of view. POOR TASTE you have!


  24. islandgal,

    The Nation is like a cancer in his colon……it is eating him away. Just because he perceives that the Nation is not singing in DLP’s choir. Never mind that he has the Advocate and CBC all to himself. Selfish and delusional, he is.


  25. TOURIST (STOP-OVER) ARRIVALS AND CRUISE PASSENGER VISITS IN 2012
    Destination
    Tourist Arrivals Cruise Passenger Visits
    Period Tourists
    %
    Change
    2012/11
    Period Cruise
    Passengers
    %
    Change
    2012/11
    Anguilla Jan-Feb 13,104 7.7% – – –
    Antigua & Barbuda * Jan-Feb 49,797 4.5 Jan-Feb 208,857 9.8%
    Aruba Jan-Mar 225,500 2.4 Jan 94,917 -2.3%
    Barbados P Jan-Mar 160,839 2.3% Jan-Mar 300,158 16.5%


  26. @ Blogger2012

    “Have we paid careful attention to the concept of all inclusive, whereby those travel groups are responsible for filling the hotels with any dick and harry and who hardly have any money to spend outside the hotels.”

    I’m in 100% agreement with this opinion and I would like to add that often local Bajans are subsidizing these ‘poor welfare recipients tourists’ who receive the finest catering service and indeed the finest local produce from our Soil and Sea…for the little cut-throat deal their oversea Tourist Operators stitch-up for them. It smacks of modern-day slavery.

    another good point made it the issue of Heritage/Cultural Tourism

    @ Blogger 2012 again:

    “Tourists visit an island to experience things that they are not experincing in their native countries, They do not want to eat and drink the things they are accustomed to at home. Are we understaning the psycological and socialogical reasons for tourists leaving their countries to visit other countries?”

    The problem is that these Delusional minded managers from the Tourist Ministry suffer the illusion that presenting an Africentric Bajan Root is to ‘primitive’ and would rather affirm whatever pseudo-Eurocentric culture they can come-up with to show the (Mostly) European tourists that Barbados has ‘arrived’ and are nearly on par with their Eurocentric Culture. It is pure shame in ones basic identity that is driving this inane and BLEACH-OUT cultural Tourism from the Barbados Tourist Ministry.


  27. Re: FrankTalk | May 3, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    BLEACHED-OUT cultural Tourism from the Barbados Ministry of Tourism


  28. “The problem is that these Delusional minded managers from the Tourist Ministry suffer the illusion that presenting an Africentric Bajan Root is to ‘primitive’ and would rather affirm whatever pseudo-Eurocentric culture they can come-up with to show the (Mostly) European tourists that Barbados has ‘arrived’”

    Frank Talk …that is soo true and I see it every day. Yesterday I was at LimeGrove in Holetown. In almost every shop all staff members were dressed in BLACK. These were BLACK people wearing BLACK. I thought that I was at a funeral home. Have we become sooo STUPID that we allow these retailers to believe that Barbados is in Europe? So we have to dress like they do in Europe? In this steaming hot country BLACK people are wearing BLACK to work! Do they think that the tourist want to see the same shit they are getting at home? Why bother to come here at all! We are CARIBBEAN , we are a COLOURFUL people, where is our VIBRANCY and RHYTHM? Are we a lost people?


  29. “However, the SUNDAY SUN has otherwise been reliably informed that local developer Paul Doyle, who is owner of the Crane Resort in St Philip, has put in the highest offer for the purchase of the 31-acre beachfront property, which has been valued at $100 million.

    Doyle is said to be followed by Bjorn Bjerkhamn, who is proposing to build a 200-room Ritz Carlton hotel, plus residences, while the lowest bid has come from Jamaican businessman Gordon “Butch” Stewart.”

    Bjerkham or Doyle?


  30. DOYLE is by far the best person by what I have seen of his properties. He has a good marketing plan and has maintained good occupancy levels at the Crane. Bjerkman has done some hideous work, many remain empty and has no track record in this area. Bjerkman has too many projects going on and has spread himself too thin so I don’t think he can sustain this one properly. He claims he has the money BUT with St. Peter’s Bay empty, and Fort Ferdinand in construction, and building lower income homes for the government I can’t see how he can maintain Almond.


  31. Thanks to Testocore for resurrecting this blog, so we can see what was being said in MAY 2012,

    How things have changed in 16 monthS, except that Islandgirl’s observations are as true in September 2013 as in May 2012 –

    “Tell me what makes Barbados look good? High prices? Below standard hotel properties? Rude service? Poor upkeep of our National treasures? The cleanliness of Bridgetown? Stupse We need to look and analyze why we are failing and what we need to do to improve our product”

    De girl shud be a consultan to Minister Sealy


  32. I absolutely love your blog.. Great colors & theme.
    Did you develop this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m wanting to create my very own blog
    and would love to learn where you got this from or exactly what the
    theme is called. Cheers!

Leave a comment, join the discussion.