Winter Season Performance Lagging

Adrian Loveridge - Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Adrian Loveridge – Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

As we have now crossed the halfway stage of the winter tourism season, it is looking increasingly doubtful that any predictions of a strong performance in this sector will become a reality. The January long stay visitor arrivals figures are especially alarming. An overall fall of 8.2 per cent across all markets, but significantly of concern are the numbers from Canada, which saw a 18.4 per cent fall when compared with the same month in 2012. The USA was down 11.1 per cent, the UK down 2.4 per cent and Trinidad down a staggering 40.6 per cent.

Whoever, assumes the office of Government later this week will finally have to take a long and hard look at current marketing strategies, and even if this is deemed an imperative, there is very little likelihood that any measures implemented at this late stage will make an iota of difference before April 15. So the next challenge is the eight long softer summer months.

After five years in power the outgoing administration had seemingly abandoned any attempt to fulfil their previously stated 2008 manifesto objective, to restructure the Barbados Tourism Authority. This despite an overwhelming mandate to effect change, yet surprisingly, its popped up again in the 2013 manifesto.

According to its own website [BTA], the declared mission statement of the agency is; ‘The Barbados Tourism Authority’s functions are to promote, assist and facilitate the efficient development of tourism; to design and implement suitable marketing strategies for the effective promotion of the tourism industry’. I think the question has to be asked, are these goals being successfully achieved in the most cost-effective and productive ways? Clearly, there are challenges, but every other regional destination is also experiencing the same difficulties.

Whoever is elected this Thursday will quickly have to formulate policies to redress the loss of over 100,000 long stay visitors over the last five years and nearly that number of cruise ship passengers in a single year, 2012. And the fact, that these decisions will have to be made as we enter the shoulder season, makes this task even more daunting. My only hope is that any new or returning administration will realise that while it may garner a few votes, putting friends and cronies into critical policy making positions without the necessary skills and knowledge is not in the national interest.

What has honestly surprised me leading up to the election is the lack of discussion and proffering of constructive solutions to our current crisis in tourism. It almost appears that those who have recently left power and those aspiring to achieve it, simply don’t have any new ideas or even where to turn, to find them.

We entered 2013 without any coherent national marketing plan and this must be a great source of concern for the private sector. With dramatically eroded viability, I doubt the majority of tourism partners have the means available to assume the responsibly of promoting both their own business and the destination.

Much emphasis has been placed on the role of hoteliers and that the industry is a lot more than about them. Absolutely right, but at the end of day, they have almost always made the single largest investment and have the most to lose, if the destination suffers.

0 thoughts on “Winter Season Performance Lagging

  1. The Governor of the Central Bank indicated a couple reviews ago that Barbados needed a good winter season. Can we say that we are having one based on the numbers so far?

  2. Adrain take a rest until after feb 21. take my advice yah hear. we interested in politics. no diversion from that buddy,

  3. Adrian… I must sound like a broken record, but another sat has past the 4 page travel section( which is twice as large as the nation page) did not have one vacation to Barbados.It is very diappointing to see Canadian numbers fall but not unexpected. The destinations are endless up here and the Canadians have the money to travel but it is dog eat dog and if you are not actively trying to enlarge your tourist base you will be passed by

  4. @Adrian & Rovery

    Interesting the OECS countries are defending a fix exchange rate and their central bank has not been expressing similar concerns about dipping into the reserves.

  5. lawson wrote “The destinations are endless up here”.

    Added to that Jamaica and other destinations have star power to help make their advertising campaigns effective.

    NBA all star week end. Usain Bolt on celebrity team= free advertising for Jamaica.

    There are Sportfishing shows on North American TV channels and they are filmed in Florida,BC,Costa Rica Bahamas and they always show the resorts.
    Earth to BTA how about sponsoring a Sportfishing show in Barbados.For the BTA staff in Toronto watch rogers channel 426.

    The battle for Barbados is not the cost of a vacation but the variety of places to visit and the advertising campaigns of the competitors.

    Honourable mention. Every night for the past two weeks or so the BREAKFAST IN BARBADOS ad has been on prime time 6.30pm in Toronto.
    Nuff respect to the BTA.

  6. Yesterday Sunday a luxury cruise liner was in port with 1250 passengers with nothing to do do because Bridgetown was closed. Many went to Lime Grove to shop.

  7. 5 more years of the same last 5 years would be disastrous for our island!

    No action / decisions from the DLP
    Police force in chaos
    The judiciary falling behind
    Tourism down and now falling rapidly (Jan Figures)
    The economy going upside down
    Govt can’t balance their budget
    Unemployment rising (even this month Feb – layoffs happening)
    They just can’t seem to get things done!

    Listening every night to the DLP campaign they are all about fear politics (bus privatisation video / attacks on Owen Arthur) / attacking people about their sexual preferences / shouting into microphones like we Bajan’s are dumb and only want to hear that noise and not what they are going to do. I would like to hear them talking about the real issues.

    They have had their 5 years – time for change!

  8. Adian loveridge disrepected Noel Lynch on National Radio Re: his management of the Ministry of Tourism now you have a Minister that don’t know heads or tails about tourism marketing, why you don’t go and disrepect him to.

  9. Why are we so surprised that the current winter season is not doing as expected and needed?
    We were warned that Cinderella will be losing her glass slippers while running to the ball.
    What do we expect from a situation where we have received some of the worst Press in recent times in our main source market the UK?

    Many of the problems facing Barbados’ tourism are homegrown and having nothing to do with some bogey international recession.
    A growing dirty unkempt environment, run down hotel plants, lack of places and things to see and do, beach harassment and overt sexual approaches, poor service and lack of value for money in a well publicised overpriced destination that has grown tired and in need of a serious makeover.

    Let Bim get her act together and pay more attention to tourism and treat our guests as if they are genuinely appreciated and then we might just see a turnaround in our tourism fortunes.
    Visitors of class and financial means will always travel to a destination in which they feel safe, their health is not exposed to diseases, they get value for money spent and they are treated with respect, courtesy and fairness and not seen as easy targets to be ripped off and their womenfolk sexually propositioned where ever they go.

  10. @ millertheanunnaki Feb 19, 2013 @ 12:14PM
    Most of what you have written is true but a lot of ordinary Bajans do not know of it. The son of a very good friend was repeatedly made to feel uncomfortable because of constant approaches to buy drugs at Accra beach. At another beach on the South Coast under the guise of selling crafts another seller harassed his sisters to buy drugs. A polite no was not enough. Many people on the beach had no idea what was going on as a result they later stayed by the hotel’s swimming pool and did not mix with ordinary Bajans. Many honest decent sellers were denied of trade. . . what a pity.

  11. There is a report in today’s press where the CTO has indicated that revving our tourism numbers will be difficult given our dependence on the flagging UK market.

  12. @millertheanunnaki,

    They just don’t get it.

    My late Grandmother used to sweep the steps and the dirt around the house routinely.
    The 4 room chattel house was painted,the furniture polished and the floors kept clean.

    nuff said.

  13. Sly303, You really seem to have got it wrong. I did not disrespect ANY Minister of Government. Noel Lynch REFUSED to sit in the same StarCom studio as me during a Brass Tacks programme. In any other country it might have been viewed as racism.

  14. According to highly placed sources at the airline, the cost of operating St Lucia could not have been sustained without massive subsidy. In the past, promises of subsidising the route have been made to the airline by the St Lucian Government.

    I thought things were rosy in the other islands.

  15. Hants, most airlines that service the Caribbean get subsidies, its called marketing support. Do you think for a minute, carriers that operate into Barbados don’t get them too?

  16. I was born somewhere in St. Andrew, Barbados and I lived for a numbers of years in NY. After the euphoria of being back and living in my hard own home wore off, then the reality of life set in. The crappy attitude of Bajans towards giving good service, many times I was told to ” guh lung back whe I cum frum.” Those Bajans being treated like shit as well would laugh at this.
    Now, the tourist are going elsewhere where service is significantly better;
    one day I’ll buy a one way ticket on Jet blue.

  17. Ottawa just finished its 2 week winterlude festival, skating ,ice sculptures fireworks etc. In the 2 weeks we had 600,000 visitors. close to 60 million dollars went into the local economy, 41 million by tourists. Hotels, bars,and restaurants full everyone having a great time. There have been lots of cuts in govt funding to the event but the organizers seem to have the recipe for success with private sponsership, volunteers etc. There used to be an old saying selling coal to newcastle, but we are selling snow and ice to Canadians as well as other tourists even though they just have to go out in their own back yard if they want snow , We have events like the kiwanas bed race that raises money for the local hospitals it has 50 teams entered at a cost of 300 dollars per team to enter. Can you imagine a Barbadian decked out bed with palm trees etc gliding down the ice. Virtually free advertizing, There seems in my mind a template here that could maybe help Barbados tourism

  18. Well one silver lining is that based on the most recent Cadres poll Barney Lynch will not win a seat in parliament. Hopefully if the BLP win the election Owen will not put Lynch in the Senate and make him Minister of Tourism.

  19. SAGICOR Life Jamaica has acquired a 225-room beachfront hotel to add to its Jewel Resorts all-inclusive portfolio.

    The Salem, St Ann property, which is currently operated under the Royal Decameron brand and which was previously operated by SuperClubs, is the third to be bought by the life insurer in three years.

    Sagicor assumed operation of the Jewel Dunn’s River property in Mammee Bay, St Ann in 2010, and last April opened the family all-inclusive Jewel Runaway Bay Resort with the 18-hole championship golf course.

    The acquisition also brings the total number of rooms under Sagicor’s management to 741.

    The company plans to refurbish the rooms and main guest areas, and expects to start operating the property as an adult-only resort next winter season, which begins in December. The product offering will be focused on healthy lifestyle and sports.

    Read more:

    Any comment, Adrian? [Note Insurance company-hotel ….. any bells???]

  20. Barbados is way too expensive and is definitely not value for money.Good food is hard to find, local transport is pricey, Golf courses except for one, cost you an arm and a leg. There are other places around the Carribean that cost only half as much and are much more fun. I think Barbados is doomed in terms of tourism. The only good thing about the place is that it is relatively safe.

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