Tourism Numbers Down

Adrian Loveridge – Hotel Owner

The Caribbean Tourism Organisation has now posted the Barbados long stay visitor arrival numbers for the second quarter of this year, and sadly they do not show a pretty picture. Across all markets April was down 6.7 per cent (47,979), May down 9 per cent (37,935) and June down 4.8 per cent (36, 656). The figures in brackets are actual numbers of landed people and it is compared with the same period last year. Overall, it equates to nearly 8,400 less visitors and totally negates any benefits from the small gains made in the first three months of 2012.

Based again on CTO statistics, the last average intended length of stay I could find was for 2010 and indicated 9.8 nights.  Unless this has dramatically changed, it translates to a loss of over 41,000 occupied room nights based on double occupancy.

While initially these numbers may not seem vast, its the equivalent of filling every seat in more than 56 Boeing 737’s aircraft, or over 4.36 planes per week during the given period. To put this in perspective, ‘we’ have not been able to sustain even just one flight weekly out of Philadelphia or Atlanta (the world’s busiest airport).

Later this month we also lose what has now become a single weekly Dallas/Fort Worth service, despite its massive metro population of over six million, annual airport throughput approaching 58 million passengers and an almost unmatched hub and spoke offering nearly 200 connecting cities.

In terms of where the numbers have been lost, if you analyse for the entire six month period, the United States is down 3.1 per cent and Europe 7 per cent. Canada, appeared to be the only glimmer of hope with a 2 per cent increase overall, but this gain came entirely in the first three winter months. Canadian arrivals for April were down 9.9 per cent, May 8.8 per cent and June 7.4 per cent.

Probably, I am the last person to be reminded that we are in the deepest recession for nearly a century and the inevitable consequences of the APD (Advanced Passenger Duty), but surely these issues would be having a similar negative effect on our neighbours. In many cases they are not.

So what exactly is going so wrong?

For one thing, this is the first year that I can remember, that there appears to be no national summer marketing promotion taking place, and while you could certainly question how inclusive past ‘national’ campaigns have been, has this really made such a difference? Most of us are aware of the BTA budget restraints, but as the saying goes, if you do nothing, nothing will happen.

What is graphically clear, is that any projected or forecasted increases in arrival numbers or visitor spend will have to be the result of anything that takes place in the last six months of this year.

This includes September and November, traditionally two of the most challenging trading months in the tourism industry. In September, many sector businesses close for annual holidays or refurbishment and some have decided to extend this period for up to six months, as in the case of Discovery Bay Hotel.

0 thoughts on “Tourism Numbers Down


  1. For the November the food wine and rum festival looks like been pillage and cut to piece and is currently a sad shadow of it former self. Hopefully they will fix this as this will not draw the crowds it done for past 2 years.


  2. Factor this into your projections Adrian.

    Canada’s economy unexpectedly lost 30,400 jobs in July in a third disappointing month for the labor market,


  3. David/BU

    The APD Tax out of Britain hitting Barbados hard.The riley fella from the CTO said that Tourists out of Britain declined in the last 2 years by 500 thousand,and we know Barbados depends heavily on the UK market and Canada.

    So no surprises there.


  4. Hate to say it and could be wrong…but really really…is it just because of the recession that Barbados is losing its tourism appeal? Nope. Simply said again. Nope. Think we have been through the real reasons a million times…Rihanna who I adore will start her heavy promotion of the island I read…will she bring in the millions? Nope. Simply said again. Nope. Unless she is living on the island and bus tours take one to her home and she comes out to wave. And even then I repeat. Nope. Simply said again nope. How long will it take us to understand that the island is tired…so we got to clean up the infrastructure and get the basics back in place. Better welcome. Better prices. Better service. Better food…and that means local food – ‘foodies’ don’t care much about recession but what foodie is coming here to eat American food done badly. Now I real done.

    Ooops! Not quite. Having not paid attention to the visionaries who foresaw the reasons why Barbados was losing its visitors, even after fixing it all up again, it will take years to bring back people’s faith in us as a destination…and remember Cuba opening up and guess where gine be the place to go as well as there…Jamaica…why? ’cause at a time when the whole world was watching not only did their athletes spread the word but each Olympic venue had a well organized Jamaica House with Things Jamaica for sale and much friendly hospitality and welcome to Jah land brochures…sorry…but truth is truth.

    Barbados has now to crawl outta de hole we have dug for ourselves…and perhaps when we do we will remember that green pays and plant a tree that bears fruit!


    • @Rosemary

      Good intervention and it is why the government made a decision about a year into office to split the structure how it manages marketing and product.

      Has it been implemented?


  5. @DAvid
    that’s the worry. Others are “ok” while we are dropping.

    @Adrian
    does the decline surprise you? Any thoughts on the “success” of the BTA in achieving its mandate?

    @anyone
    I asked this question in another post, but how does the tourism decline impact us economically during the associated quarters? cause for worry?


  6. Just finished watching Paula Deen’s from Food Network family vacation in St. Lucia. Boy she loved St. Lucia, the food, the service, the sailing, and the beauty. She visited the local market place and had lunch at a stall in the market. She toured the market and from what I could see there were no imported vegetables in the vendors stalls. She had breakfast on the beach, that consisted of salt fish and bakes. Sorry folks we just don’t get it when it comes to Tourism. We have to rethink this thing called Tourism, it lacks ethnicity.


  7. @wrote “Rosemary Parkinson |so we got to clean up the infrastructure and get the basics back in place. Better welcome. Better prices. Better service. Better food”

    I wrote the same thing a few days ago.

    @David is there any correlation between the success of some countries and their Gambling Casinos?

    Is there also a correlation with Islands that are backed with the massive spending by Sandals on TV advertising ?

    Is the BTA capable of dealing with difficult markets and do they have a strategy to reverse the decline.

    Maybe they need some young Bajans to replace the geriatric brigade.

    By the way it was great to see BAJAN Miles Robertson on the big stage tonight at the Olympics.
    How about inviting Adele to vacation for a few days in Barbados? earth to BTA hello!

    If we continue writing —– we might come up with solutions that the marketing gurus at the BTA can use.


  8. i believe tourist in general are tired of the black experience.bad service.treated like meat.i don’t believe that the world now is saying’ lets go to some backward dirty island with blacks that bother us endlessly.make comments as we pass by and call us names and try to rip us off.’.
    the black Caribbean experience is getting boring except for the granny grabbing women.i believe if i lived in a country that was mostly white i would be terrified to walk around barbados.and not feel comfortable around them.not being used to seeing so many in one place.is like woa what the funk.am may be Hawaii might be a idea next time..comprehend?all the girls that wanted to try the big bamboo
    been here or there and done that .boring..Mr loveridge you don’t seem to realize that is why the tourist used to come here.used to.!!!!!been there done that kind of deal.
    what else we got???????????


  9. Harry your mouth running like a sick racist backside. Will you get to fcuk back to Canada and shut to fcuk up? Tek yuh red arse and get to shoite from bout hey!


  10. islandgal246 | August 12, 2012 at 10:57 PM |
    Harry your mouth running like a sick racist backside. Will you get to fcuk back to Canada and shut to fcuk up? Tek yuh red arse and get to shoite from bout hey!
    ……………………………………………………………………………..
    Bonny Pepper could not have said it better!.


  11. Hants,

    I understand the problems you have in Canada but how do you explain that several other Caribbean destinations have witnessed major increases in Canadian arrivals?


  12. David,
    The Tourism Master Plan and pledge to ‘Restructure and strengthen the Barbados Tourism Authority’ was promised in the 2008 DLP Manifesto (page 38) together with many other heady objectives.
    I am not sure nearly five years later than ‘we’ could blame the global economic recession for not being able to achieve these simple goals.
    Is the BTA any stronger now than in 2008?
    My own thinking is that until the BTA returns to the objectives of its mandate,
    and that is to market Barbados, we are not going much further.
    Your point about the Almond Beach Village closing (our single largest hotel)
    could have had some effect on the numbers, but with so many other hotels
    barely achieving 50 per cent occupancy or less. I am not sure that this has contributed significantly.
    With the closure of Discovery Bay Hotel for six months (July-December) it would be interesting to ascertain if booked clients were switched to another hotel on Barbados or the REX group moved them to another Caribbean destination where they operate other hotels.


  13. @Adrian

    Do you serve local food to your guests?

    Has spending per tourist decreased?

    Are u aware that a number of persons are visiting these shores and not listing themselves as tourists and staying with family and friends and are contributing to tourist spend?

    What role are the tour operators playing in this exercise, are they getting greater commissions to send their clients to other caribbean destinations?

    Can you tell us what percentage of tourist arrivals is repeat visitors an their country of origin.


  14. To the Point,

    We have always had a buy local policy (where possible).
    According to CTO statistics only 58 per cent of our long stay visitor arrivals
    actually stay in registered hotels.
    There is a huge number of unlicensed accommodation providers, so much of it is guess work.
    As as tour operator for over 12 years, we sent people where they wanted to go and it it not depend on higher commissions, but on levels of customer satisfaction.
    Again, factual figures on the percentage of repeat visitors is a difficult one.
    If you do not have an accurate idea of the room stock due to lack of effective licensing, then once again we are guessing.


  15. @Adrian

    you are not factoring the greed of tour operators, who can persuade people to go to destination where they will get the greatest commissions. sometimes person wanting to travel for the first time might be influenced by these tour operators, so dont discount this factor. The tour operators are salespersos.

    you have not answered my question about the serving of local foods in your establishment. As I said before, tourists need a new experience when they visit a country. This will be a nice piece of research to undrtake among departing tourists, whether they expectations have been met while holidaying in Barbados. Would you support such research and would you be interested in contributing to the financail cost of such research?


  16. How many times to say it:

    Harry is not in Canada;
    Harry Is not a bajan white – they are usually very patriotic and even if upset about things in Barbados – they don’t speak about Bim like that;
    Harry is an Indian and moreso I suspect Guyanese who lived and worked on the island as a carpenter or labourer and hates bajans but desperately wants to be in Barbados.

    I happen to link to another blog posted on BU a couple years back, and there was so much racist stuff by someone using another name and admitting they are indian,and the writing was essentially the same,the hate filled views exactly the same as this ignorant person.

    Now David/BU I am really disppointed in you.
    Even in the USA where freedom of expression is enforced to the max,they don’t tolerate this type of abuse on their blog.Yet you seem to think everyone should be allowed to say what they like and bloggers engage them or just ignore them.

    That is totally irresponsible of you,since it is clear that even though bloggers try to reason with this poster,he ignores them and comes back up with this rubbish and it is offensive to almost all those on this blog site who participate regularly.
    I I don’t believe readers should be subjected to this filth – whether new readers or regulars.
    There are times to exercise A BAN and this character is one such example.


    • @mash up

      As one of the early members of the BU family you know when people are ‘exposed’ they leave. That is the better way. Let us soldier on.


  17. @Mashup

    i dont agree with banning harry. i ignore his scribbles and s he doesnt spout anything that make sense. Ignore the idiot he/she is seeking attention.


  18. To the point,

    I thought I had answered the question. We have a buy local policy and obviously this includes food.
    Research is sadly lacking in all areas of tourism. Would we contribute to the cost of such research?
    We do, its called VAT, corporation tax, NIS, Income tax, land taxes etc., in fact, in our case around 20 per cent of our annual turnover (not profit).
    Again, from the tour operators perspective, I can only speak with authority about our business, but I lived through the AirTours and UniJet period and vividly remember the then chairman of AirTours describing their most profit year, prior to 1988., when they made a profit of GBPounds 1.88 per person.
    In fact that profit did not come from tour operating, but using the clients deposits to generate interest. I think more blame has to be levied on the hotels that give Tour Operators ridiculous rates than the operator themselves.


  19. How many times to say it:

    Harry is not in Canada;
    Harry Is not a bajan white – they are usually very patriotic and even if upset about things in Barbados – they don’t speak about Bim like that;
    Harry is an Indian and moreso I suspect Guyanese who lived and worked on the island as a carpenter or labourer and hates bajans but desperately wants to be in Barbados.
    =================

    harry could be bajan white or Indian coolie both groups are the worst racists this side of the lost Boer kingdom


  20. Question apart from pimping around the statistics of the number of visitors to the island simultaneously holding prayer vigils hoping for declines what does Loveridge do to justify his existence?!?!


  21. @ Adrian Loveridge | August 13, 2012 at 8:27 AM |
    “… We do, its called VAT, corporation tax, NIS, Income tax, land taxes etc., in fact, in our case around 20 per cent of our annual turnover (not profit).”

    Aren’t you being a tad disingenuous here, if not innocently misleading, euphemistically speaking?

    You know very well that businesses do not bear or pay taxes. It is the customers, consumers or clients that pay the taxes. Businesses just collect the taxes as included in their prices of goods and services sold and then pay over to government’s revenue collection agencies (at least some of them, as seen from the large VAT arrears owed by many businesses). Even the profit element is grossed up for tax purposes when setting a sustainable or profitable price for a product or service for sale.

    I would grant you that a government’s taxation policies whether indirect or on corporate profits could promote or stifle business activity and hence put a drag on consumer demand for a country’s goods and services sold to foreign consumers or even locals.


  22. Bdos Unfree Press | August 13, 2012 at 9:55 AM |

    “Question apart from pimping around the statistics of the number of visitors to the island simultaneously holding prayer vigils hoping for declines what does Loveridge do to justify his existence?!?!”

    Answer…Tek yuh head outta yuh rassclat and MYOB (mind yuh own business)!


  23. Miller,

    I see your point. But as you may know we are currently closed, so no customer income and yet we are still paying land tax, VAT, etc.


  24. @ Adrian Loveridge | August 13, 2012 at 10:39 AM |

    I think it is morally and technically wrong to impose land tax on commercial or business properties that are closed or genuinely losing money for the sake of keeping employment or business ticking over. We have to continue paying the emoluments of public sector workers who have nothing to do but to turn up for a paycheck. This is confirmed by the Minister of Tourism’s remark that the government’s main focus is trying to find the money to pay public workers even though the private sector from whom the money is extracted to pay these ‘sophisticated unproductive welfare recipients’ is under severe pressure, making tremendous sacrifices and unfortunately having to let go of erstwhile productive workers.
    Bur be careful, Adrian, with the VAT bit. It does not compute!
    I


  25. Miller,

    I agree. We still have electricity costs, pool, grounds, building maintenance, security and telecomminication costs. ALL of which carry VAT.


  26. @ Adrian Loveridge | August 13, 2012 at 11:22 AM |
    “We still have electricity costs, pool, grounds, building maintenance, security and telecomminication costs. ALL of which carry VAT.”

    Which you have to pay upfront from a diminishing cash flow financed by borrowings from the bank or your pocket. But you can claim them as input VAT which would take you years to recoup from the VAT Office.
    God help this sector of the Barbados economy which has been the milch cow and goose that laid the golden eggs for many years to help finance our opulent lifestyle and addiction for imported luxuries.


  27. A Friend of Barbados from the Great White North comments.

    As a retiree and frequent visitor to Barbados, I find the time to read, or at least glance through three Toronto newspapers daily – The Star, Globe and Mail, and National Post. Each has a weekly TRAVEL section.

    Over the past six months there has been an almost total lack of advertising of Barbados and/or Barbados destination packages – by BTA or tour packagers including Air Canada, Westjet, Air Canada Vacations and Westjet Vacations. Almost like there is no advertising budget – for BTA Canada at least.

    At the same time it seems a week does not go by that St. Lucia is front and center in one or more of the three newsparers – partnered with Air Canada or Westjet or Sandals

    There may be a connection to the declining arrivals reported by CTO.

    It is also worth noting there are half to full page ads at least weekly by Sandals in one or more of these newspapers promoting their Caribbean destinations – often featuring St Lucia

    @ Hants above – Is there also a correlation with Islands that are backed with the massive spending by Sandals on TV advertising ? – There can be no doubt

    It has never been explained to me why Butch Stewart was rebuffed form Paradise Beach – only to allow another group of investors to start the Four Seasons project (which investors will probably never complete the project and will lose their shirts as will the purchasers lose their deposits). Whatever the reason to send Stewart packing 10 years ago, with Sandals well oiled marketing machine government should not only welcome Stewart now as the purchaser of the Almond Beach Village property; but should encourage or even support Sandals as the purchaser.


  28. Having lived in Barbados almost a year, I understand why people don’t revisit Barbados when they would like to take another vacation.

    Customer Service is lousy (including in international chains like the Hilton), Barbadians are rude, prices are far too high (and tourists are charged much higher prices than locals)… In the US and UK, people are used to be treated with respect in general but especially when they are spending money and this is simply not the case in Barbados.

    Barbadians need a “how to treat tourist with respect and not give stank face” course.


  29. a hah/ Mary finally exactly what this decedent of Irish slaves .some 20 years before any blacks were here.been trying to say [i am white bajan]


  30. Excerpt from a UK newspaper about Grenada

    Hotels and restaurants are for the most part family-run affairs. Local epicurean institution Patrick’s feels like you’ve been invited into someone’s home. After pulling up a chair on the front stoop I worked my way through a home-cooked feast that included freshwater crayfish, beef casserole, kingfish and callaloo soup. And just when I’d eaten myself into a state of immobility, out came the homemade banana cake.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/americas/grenada-beauty-on-shore-and-below-the-waves-7505726.html


  31. THE news out of Saintt Lucia is the island is broke its borrowing money every month to pay its public servants. Its a scenario difficult to imagine because Adrian Loveridge backed by islandgal frequently reminds us of the economic tourism miracle Saint Lucia is.

    ADRIAN, islandgal, come explain Saint Lucia’s plunge towards bankruptcy given the millions of tourists arriving daily from ATLANTA> UK> + other parts untapped by poor rakey by Barbados.


  32. Day Runs waaaitt ..check out you back yard…..the news out of Barbados is that the island is broke and the government is borrowing money every month to pay its public servants. Barbados has been reduced to junk bond status, the Tourism plant is decrepit and customer service sucks. People are paying high prices for 3 rate goods and services. Keep looking over the fence while the bull running and aiming for your backside.


  33. @ harry | August 17, 2012 at 9:14 AM |
    “your competition,sorry no Negroes,or rent a dreads,or filthy conditions.”

    Beautiful place indeed! But with no “inferior” black servants to superciliously look down on and feel superior.
    Neither are there big dick black men to satisfy the deep yearnings of white women.
    You know what I mean little dick harry boy (LOL!!). Once your pale sisters go big black they never turn white back.


  34. the world and most women but sluts are tired of the big dick.
    and tired of black people bothering them.
    so you see mill .can you understand that ?with your little world of barbados tiny ape brain.lol


  35. oh and mill boy they don’t let in or like Negroes in Croatia.
    you should go visit some time .may be you don’t return huh.
    now wouldn’t that be a great loss for this earth.


  36. i went to school and changed and showered with bajan blacks at all boys school most were same as me couple were smaller couple were bigger.
    you small minded people .ever watch any porn they got whites from Europe with bigger dicks than bajans.may be it is the smell they like cause you can get big dick anywhere.
    what you are saying was true once upon a time but now women don’t come here [the ugly old ones exempt] for that anymore really.
    don’t be fooling you little brain mill negro.


  37. @Canajan ”It has never been explained to me why Butch Stewart was rebuffed form Paradise Beach ”

    The unconfirmed rumour was that Stewart never actually wanted Paradise, but it came as a dual purchase with the St.Lucia property, the one he really wanted. Rumour was that the unions in Barbados are a turn off to investors.


  38. “Ordos could be the next Dubai,” Marielle Wilkie, representing the Caribbean nation of Barbados, confidently predicted.

    Guess the Chinese won’t have to travel very far.


  39. Harry could either be Indian or White Male or Female as you cant tell who is sitting behind a computer. The indian guyanese go from websites to websites where there are black caribbean nationals and try to pit them againsts eacthother. On a popular barbados websites some guyanese use to pretend that they were black bajans and they on a daily basis try to set up fights between trinidadians, jamaicans, bajans, then a few months later you could see how tension started to escalate between the three islands. As a bajan with intelligence and owner of various websites you can tell by the ip adresses who they are and where they’re from inside or outside. Indians and whites like to see blacks from various islands fighting eachother, it makes it easier for the indians and whites to control black people more while taking the biggest chunk of the pie from each of the islands because all blacks from various islands are too busy fighting eachother to understand what is really going on.

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