Working TOGETHER To Invigorate Tourism Numbers

Adrian Loveridge – Hotel Owner

From the media release following the launch of the 2012 Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival, it was heart warming to read the President of the Barbados Tourism Authority quote that the event had ‘attracted more than 1,800 tourists last year and 60 international journalists’. During the entire month of November 2011 a total of 47,208* long stay visitors, across all source markets were recorded, which represented an increase of 5.3 per cent* over the previous year.

So if you divide that number into an average stay of 7 nights, that means that nearly one in six of those visitors during the week of the festival, journeyed to Barbados specifically for this event. Basing the accommodation segment on two persons sharing one room, that’s over 6,300 occupied room nights during a month which is traditionally challenging. Again, it demonstrates the importance of niches and the value of destination coverage that those invited journalists can bring us.

A number of videos were also produced and a particular favourite of mine was made by the South African based company, Sand Castle Studios TV. Despite the video being posted on YouTube in March of this year, it hasn’t yet received the viewership volume that I believe it deserves. Perhaps the tourism policymakers can address that, as it certainly could be used as a powerful tool to help drive numbers.

Hopefully, our wide range of restaurants will work together with the wine suppliers that week to offer a value-menu, rather like the re-DISCOVER programme that operated so successfully for many years. Individual participating establishments all offered a 3 course dinner with a half bottle of wine (per person) for BDS$99. This also gave such a tremendous opportunity to highlight locally available food.

It might also at least go partially the way to get the message across to our visitors and locals alike that eating out can be more affordable.

Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy stated ‘that the event could eventually be one of the biggest foreign exchange generators for Barbados’ and in his opinion ‘the potential is there and the sky is the limit in terms of where the Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival could be in the next 10 years’. I am sure many agree, but that is where I found another part of the media release puzzling, again quoting verbatim, ‘ The BTA said it will be heavily marketing the festival in the US, which is one of the island’s major source markets’.

This implies that the event will not also be ‘heavily’ marketed in other important areas like the UK and Canada, our first and fourth largest origin of visitors and developing markets like Brazil. I cannot imagine that they do not have an equal percentages of ‘foodies’. In fact, a not dissimilar annual event called Foodies Festival takes place in seven cities across Britain to maximise interest and attendance.

It also allows manufacturers of all sizes the opportunity to display and sell a wide range of edible products , including pepper sauce, cheeses, local wines and homemade ice creams. If this has not already been considered, perhaps the concept could be incorporated in the new Sizzle Street event taking place in Queens Park.

*Source: CTO

0 thoughts on “Working TOGETHER To Invigorate Tourism Numbers

  1. While i do support the food wine and rum festival to say it brought in 1800 tourist is interesting . They may have sold 1800 ticket to tourist but as the biggest event of last season sold 400-500 persons in the venue is quite unlikely 1800 person came unless they insist that each event was attended by a new visitors. They were far more locals in support of these events than tourist. This year festival has been scaled back majorly from last year own. While i hope for repeat of the numbers it might be hard to accomplish

  2. The food and wine festival good marketing too to promote our foods but just not enough for long time strategy with the many international cooking shows on a daily basis entering people,s living rooms some body in the BTA needs to think outside the box and ask questions in the possiblity of having carribean foods as part of one or more ingredients in the cooking process that can start a dialogue and maybe help to open other avenues

  3. @ David | September 3, 2012 at 9:05 PM |

    Those are not true Bajan rums but “Barbados Branded Rums”.
    When the rum refined and bottled in Barbados is made from at least 80% locally produced molasses from locally grown sugar cane then we can say like the Mighty Gabby instead of “That is We Culture” “That is We Rum, Bajan Fuh Real” and the World’s truly Finest Rums.

  4. millertheanunnaki you are a genius.

    You just created an opportunity for an enterprising group of rum pruducers.

    A Premium Brand of PURE Barbados rum made 100% locally produced molasses from locally grown Sugar Cane.

    Nunnaki Premium 10 year old Barbados rum…….sweeeeeeet!

  5. @ Hants | September 3, 2012 at 11:13 PM |

    I agree, Hants!

    There is a vintage bottled at Nicholas Abbey in St. John that might qualify. But it has very limited circulation and, should we say hyperbolically, “Edition”. There is very little high quality advertising and promotion like “JWB or Hennessy or Courvoisier” and in its pure white form, “Absolut”.
    There is nothing more deserving of a discerning palate when it comes to spirits than a supremely refined rum made from the local molasses and water filtered through our limestone. After all Barbados is the ancestral home of commercially produced RUM (bullion, Kill Divil and all) in the West Indies thanks to the discerning slaves. Barbados rum made of local molasses is the true blooded rum of all rums.

    One of the reasons why our molasses is one of the best in the world and once highly sought after by the Canadians as ‘fancy molasses’ was that we hardly purposely burnt our canes for reaping. The molasses extracted from the sugar cane grown in our mixed soils (black and brown) was of a purer and ‘cleaner’ variety.

  6. Tourism is just one part of the Barbadian economy. In the medium to long-term industry is going to be far more important.
    But Barbadian businesses would not get off the ground if all our banks are owned by the Canadians and Trinidadians – along with everything else.
    The only way to change matters is to ban Trinidadian-owned businesses: do not bank with them, buy their produce, or use their services.
    Look at the humiliating way in which the Trinidadian authorities put the Pine Hill Dairies on six-month’s probation to improve their labelling.
    How much more can Barbados take? Damn Caricom. Say enough is enough.

    • What is interesting is the lost of the Heineken franchise to the T&T conglomerate which has left RL Seale in the cold. BU has written extensively about the T&T hegemony. It is happening right before our eyes.

  7. @ David | September 4, 2012 at 11:09 AM |

    Let Bajans show their nationalism by deeds and actions and not by verbal outbursts.

    Let them drink Banks since the beer is made locally even if the business is owned by Trinidadians.
    BTW, which Trinidadian conglomerate owns Banks Brewery. Is it the same AnsaMcal that owns Bryden’s? or is it Neil & Massey? There might be a turf war going on between two Trinidadian commercial giants over the pawns in Bim just to entertain the big boys in the Board rooms. The collateral damage will certainly be the workers and consumers in Bim.

    • Defending Barbadian consumers is not the same as defending RL Seale. What is badly needed is a voice for local consumers. Trinidadians are behaving badly; somehow they seem to think we are stupid.
      Let us have a consumer ban of Trinidadian goods and services, if only for a week.

    • Agree that Bajans should show loyalty to Banks beer. Isn’t the Banks brand owned by Demerara out of Guyana? BU understands Guyana owners of the rights have collaborated with Barbados owners to distribute in domestic and international market.

  8. @ Hal
    “…..somehow they seem to think we are stupid”
    Ha Ha Ha ….LOL … You have GOT to be kidding…. THINK?!!!

    They KNOW that we are stupid. How else can you explain Bajans..?

    • It was instructive to listen to CEO of Banks Cozier on the issue of irrelevant regulations which currently makes milk produced in Barbados cost prohibitive to Jamaica market. Also we have the battle which has been partly won with T&T. He stated that the regs recognize Barbados as an import country. Bear in mind the head of the CSME for several years was a Barbados Prime Minister.

  9. @ David | September 4, 2012 at 11:47 AM |
    “Isn’t the Banks brand owned by Demerara out of Guyana?”

    We are not talking about the name or copyright “Banks Beer”. We are talking about the plant-production capacity, distribution and marketing network of Bank Breweries (B’dos) Ltd.
    Richard Cozier will not agree with you.

  10. @ Hal Austin | September 4, 2012 at 11:44 AM |
    “Let us have a consumer ban of Trinidadian goods and services, if only for a week.”
    Hell will freeze over before you see such show of defiance behaviour by Bajans. Not even for 1 day far less 1 week!

    You forget that these are the same Bajans that sold their power generating plant for a mess of pottage. How can an educated people get rid of such a vital engine of their economy for a few dollars more than what was recorded in the books? What Bajans sold their BL&P shares investment for was still below their market or true economic value.

    • Not sure if Adrian can shed light on the name of the hotel whose management made the decision to import turkey at the expense of a local producer?

      Who is it?

  11. Unfortunately you are 100% correct about Bajans and particularly about the ignominy of the sale of BL&P to Emera.
    That sale signified the point of no possible return…..

  12. @ David
    Minority shares are a fool’s investment.
    Minority shares are good investments for parasites who choose to rely on the skills, leadership, and abilities of others for some degree of success.
    When a Barbados Government could brag that the BNB was more successful for Barbados as a minority shareholder than when it was when fully owned, then we knew that we had reached the nadir of pride and industry …and even common sense.

    It makes no difference whether or not we sell the minority shares in Republic Bank…

  13. David,

    Sadly I cannot, but it mitigating circumstances you should maybe check the continuity of LOCAL supply. As a small hotel we struggle to buy LOCAL turkey (breasts) on a regular basis. After 25 years, perhaps its the single biggest problem, trying to get the local suppliers to meet hoteliers requirements.
    And you know we have always had a buy local policy.

    • @Adrian

      Understand we will have supply issues from time to time but at a time we are working to protect forex James Paul as head of the BAS should not be muttering these statements. The tourism players must be seen to be working with agriculture partners to efficiently leverage.

  14. David,

    We tend to be a nation of order takers rather than salespersons. Many of these local producers could do themselves a favour and better organise
    their supply and order system. Years ago, a driver of a local hotel supplier devised a very simple (and effective) system, where he faxed a single sheet of all produce in stock, where you could tick and indicate quantity required.
    Later that day he delivered it. So many times, we order and wait for delivery, only to be told (a day or two later) when the goods don’t turn up, they are out of stock.

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