Our Tourism Product: Let Us Get Cracking!

Andrew Nehaul - Tourism Consultant

Andrew Nehaul

I am a concerned admirer of Barbados who reside abroad. The slowly deteriorating economic situation on the island leaves me in bewilderment because there seems to be a lot of talk and no action. Nearly every day I read in the online press about more layoffs and business closures. Most of the writers on the blogs seem to be more keen on casting political barbs at one another than of providing creative, useful comments that might make Barbados better.

My profession has always been travel to the Caribbean and in Sweden. I see movement in the right direction from Aruba, Curacao, The Dominican Republic, St Lucia & Jamaica. I see nothing from Barbados. Barbados has a lot to offer the visitor. Unfortunately, the BTA does not seem to know their targets nor do they produce relevant information for their partners who sell the destination. Families, singles, honeymooners, wedding couples, seniors – all relevant market groups.

My question is:

What is there to do for them in Barbados?
How do you lure these persons to our shores?
What price?
How do we get them to return?

I am not here to tell the BTA what to do but they should be aware of what our competition is doing.

What is our competitors doing?

Weddings & honeymoons
One destination in the northern Caribbean has taken weddings and honeymoons so seriously that they have a Director of Weddings & Honeymoons. Not only their website but also a Facebook page with contact details and a telephone number that is open from 06.00 to 22.00 to cover all time zones in the USA as well as weekends for couples who MUST have an answer about their wedding choices now. Each wedding from the USA attracts at least 50 to 100 guests. In the southern Caribbean, one destination offers all honeymooners “One Cool Honeymoon” which includes the following:

  • Complimentary bottle of champagne upon arrival
  • Complimentary souvenir gift
  • Certificate for a free night during the following year’s return stay
  • Another destination is offering a sizeable discount
  • “Companion Airfare Discount”. This offer applies to flights in all booking classes via LGW or via Hubs in the USA or Canada to the island. Clients
  • Buy one return ticket and the second return ticket is greatly discounted- see below for details
  • Weekday Departures from Europe US$777.00
  • Weekend Departures from Europe US$824.00
  • One island has a marketing offices sitting in Florida that monitors the sales of every flight from the USA to the destination. They know on a daily basis the loads of the flights.

If a gateway is not showing the performance they deem necessary, they contact their hotels, move their sales staff to the state to encourage sales and put offers in the market. This is proactive marketing.

The solution to our tourism turnaround lies in Barbados. We have creative marketing persons who can do the job. We can create the TV and radio ads required to promote Barbados – in Barbados. We have great photographers. I have seen their work which can compete with any other internationally. I have seen work in HTML & CMS locally which compete with the best. Why are we looking abroad? The best persons to help us – is us!

Lets get cracking.

On a lighter note.
If you are 55+ what is there to do after dinner in Barbados. Where do you go to dance and have fun? The Belair no longer exists. Am I ageing myself when I say Mary’s Moustache, Pepperpot, Alexandras, The Hippo disco etc? Where are the Barbadian entrepreneurs that made these places happen? The time has come to encourage them as well as the bands, the trios, the discos.

Let us have create an atmosphere that encourages good, clean entertainment and make it fun for Bajans to enjoy themselves.

The visitors will follow.

117 thoughts on “Our Tourism Product: Let Us Get Cracking!

  1. Ok……….David

    Moneybrain……….you really gave a whole lot more information than even I thought you would.

  2. Moneybrain……….I left a comment for you on the above link, check it out, we will have some privacy.

  3. Taken from FACEBOOK

    “It surprises me that in this age of advanced technology, that representatives of the BHTA can make irresponsible statements and 80% of Barbados would accept them as Gospel, without doing their own independent research. The BLP guru economist/ researcher, Clyde Mascoll and the Leader of the Opposition were in Ch. Ch last weekend repeating most of what Ms. Daas and company have been reporting for the past two weeks. The Nation Newspaper and Barbados Today don’t seem to do fact-checks any longer and appear to have printed the BHTA comments verbatim. However I suggest you read the following article captioned ‘Identifying the Drivers of Competitiveness in the Jamaican Tourism Industry’ dated August 2009 and found at URL http://www.jftc.com/Libraries/Industry_Studies/Drivers_of_Competitiveness_in_the_Jamaican_Tourism_Industry.sflb.ashx . The study was prepared by the Jamaican Fair Trading Commission and it emphasizes that all Rights are Reserved. I suggest that you open the URL using Internet Explorer. Its conclusion reads as follows ‘

    The study assessed the effect of seventy one variables in the competitiveness of the travel and
    tourism product in twenty four Latin America and Caribbean countries. It allowed us to (i)
    distinguish between the drivers and non-drivers of competitiveness; and (ii) compare the relative
    impact of each driver. Despite its simplicity, the model offers a powerful tool with which we can
    evaluate alternative policies geared toward improving the competitiveness of the tourism
    product. The popular opinion among executives in Jamaica is that (i) lowering business costs and
    (ii) lessening the tax burden on tourism service providers are the most effective means of
    improving the competitiveness of Jamaica’s tourism product.
    The study provides conclusive evidence which contradicts the opinion of the likely effect of
    taxes on the competitiveness of the tourism product. Specifically, it shows that on average, the perceived effect of taxation in the most competitive countries is no different from its perceived
    effect in the least competitive countries. The implication of this result is that increasing the level
    of tax incentives is unlikely to improve the competitiveness of Jamaica’s tourism product.
    The evidence on the effect of business costs is less conclusive. Under plausible assumptions, the
    study provides evidence that the potential benefits from improving the cost of starting a business
    is unlikely to justify the potential costs of attempting to do so. The key findings of the study are
    as follows:
    (a) The number of international fairs and exhibitions hosted is the most effective driver
    of competitiveness, and is more than seven times as effective as marketing in
    promoting competitiveness. (b) Longstanding tax incentives and grant concession schemes offered to business
    interests are unlikely to improve the competitiveness of the tourism product;
    (c) The reliance on more intense marketing is unlikely to be the most effective tool to
    avert the anticipated adverse effects from the proposed implementation of the air
    passenger duty in November 2009.
    (d) The competitiveness of the tourism product is unlikely to benefit from allocating additional resources to lower the cost of starting a business in the tourism industry.”


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