Tourism Budget, Doing More With Less

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge – Hotelier

Analysis of the first nine months of 2013 in terms of long stay visitor arrivals confirm that while all major markets experienced substantial declines, the most resilient and therefore least impacted, was the United Kingdom with a 2.9 per cent fall when compared with the same period in 2012.

Give that so many discussions have taken place regarding the negative effects of the dreaded APD (Advanced Passenger Duty), some may find this surprising. To be fair credit must be given to the BTA staff in London and the private sector tourism sector on Barbados for stepping up to the plate, despite all the fiscal challenges, to minimise the overall decline in arrivals?

It is often touted that the typical British visitor stays longer and spends more money, and perhaps, these attributes are where we should be spending more of the precious available marketing funds to cultivate at this time. Politically we know that the volume of numbers is often all-important, but should ‘we’ currently be focusing on the bottomline in terms of the overall value contribution our visitors are making?

With the recent appointment of a new British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, is it time to sit down with her (Mrs. Victoria Glynis Dean) and explore ways that we can influence and entice additional UK residents to our shores. Not just from a holidaymaker’s point of view but increased trade delegations, sporting and common interest groups and the like.

While the very last objective is to further reduce airlift capacity to/from Gatwick and Manchester with existing carriers, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways, I still believe there is further scope for limited target charters from airports like Belfast, where a ZERO rate of APD applies to long haul routes. Also cruise and stay programmes where extra numbers can be generated from areas like Glasgow, Edinburgh and London’s third airport, Stansted.

Having also recently returned from a short break in the Florida Keys after eight days in England, we have to do a much better job of emphasizing our value-for-money. Very few if any resorts on Barbados that I am aware of, impose a mandatory 18 per cent service charge. A resort charge of US$20 per day, in addition to the customary sales tax (VAT), of between 7.5 and 12.5 per cent. Yet the Brits are flocking in their increased numbers to the United States and especially to Florida.

Certainly, in my personal experience, our tourism offering prices on Barbados compare very favourably with that American state and without doubt the culinary experiences here are largely a high higher and more delectable standard.

Yes! APD also applies on Florida flights from the UK, but the differential is only GBPounds 22 on return economy fares, which spread over a two week holiday, would hardly determine final destination choice.

Some months ago, the issuance of an APD discount voucher to this market was announced, but again not implemented. But, judging by recent airline seat sales offering flights during the peak winter months of January, February and March of 2014, I somehow think our limited financial resources can be better spent.

29 thoughts on “Tourism Budget, Doing More With Less

  1. “Some months ago, the issuance of an APD discount voucher to this market was announced, but again not implemented.”

    Adrian, can you please clarify this statement? Are you saying the APD voucher system is still not up and running?

  2. @ Adrian Loveridge | November 11, 2013 at 8:34 AM |

    Can we therefore assume the same situation applies to the application of the new rate of VAT of 7.5% on tourism Accommodations/ direct services which should have been in place wef. October 2013?

    It can now be appreciated why people criticize this administration as incompetent and suffering from a severe case of implementation deficit disorder (IDD).
    Intelligent people are not against the ruling administration just for opposing sake or with blind partisan agendas. They criticize because of the perceived inability of the administration to manage the crisis in a reasonably commonsense way.

    Why can’t the Minister of Finance go to Parliament this week or next week and as a matter of urgency amend the relevant legislation Cap 67B to ensure that the concessions granted to Sandals are also available to all players in the same sector to mitigate the opportunities to be called biased , open to corruption or even vindictive thereby exposing the government to unnecessary expensive law suits.

    What about the $50 million to be made available for hotel refurbishment and upgrade? Is that fund now accessible to hotels? Wasn’t a similar proposal made in the 2012 budget?

  3. Miller, YES! the $50 million refurbishment fund was proposed in the 2012 budget and the Ten Point Tourism Plan announced in the 13 August 2013 budget, not a single one has been fully implemented yet. The 7.5 VAT rate has NOT be implemented to all DTS tourism partners, despite the BTA’s Chairman’s address to the Connect group weeks ago.

    • @Miller

      The MoT has made it clear that the concessions given to Butch are sector concessions and one other hotel has applied for same.

  4. old onion bags | November 11, 2013 at 9:27 AM |
    What is this we hearing of RATS @ Couples?

    Couples no more

    Now they are the Stew-RATS

  5. @ David | November 11, 2013 at 12:52 PM |

    What sector concessions? By “sector” are you referring to the All-inclusive model only or are the concessions available to all in the hotel accommodation sector. There is nothing clear about what the MoT is saying when juxtaposed to what is written in the letter from the MoF.
    The only concessions granted to Sandals Casuarina and listed in the MoF’s letter that have not already been made available to investors in the past by way of legislation is the concession on food, alcoholic drink and beverages; also the length of time the concessions would be in place- 25 to 40 years.

    Why not go to Parliament and pass a Statutory Instrument granting the same concessions on food and beverages to the entire sector before issuing such a specific letter to a specific hotel plant to create utter confusion among hoteliers?
    Remember the concessions granted are available immediately to Sandals Casuarina that has taken over the existing Couples outfit at Dover. It is not a new hotel being constructed and furnished with concomitant spin-offs in the local construction sector and wider economy. Any hopes of those in the agricultural sector establishing linkages with the same hotel sector are about to disappear now that Sandals can source its requirements from Jamaica and Miami free of all duties and taxes.

  6. Miller, It will be interesting to take note exacatly how these consumables are delivered to Sandals Casuarina over the next weeks. From local distributors or containers.

  7. OOB;
    Anybody knows what is the true story about the rats at casuarina?
    Were the rats involved in any way with the “demise” of Couples?
    Was the Min. of Health called in?
    Will a rumour about rats affect the new Sandals?
    Was it wise for the Minister to mention rats in the context of a new Sandals resort?
    Could there be some, even if negligible, repercussions in that story that needed not be told?

  8. HI miller…ready here is a “what about for YOU””UMMMM……..what abot that seventy five thousandv dollar check that was depopsited in the RT hon. bank account…………anybody figure dat one out yet?………………………………………BTW onions ……….What is the TRUE STORY……………RATS! DIRTY RATS…………………

  9. @ Adrian
    “Miller, It will be interesting to take note exacatly how these consumables are delivered to Sandals Casuarina over the next weeks. From local distributors or containers.”

    I believe in the short term they will probably have to buy from local distributors and some of the items like liquor are usually in bonded warehouses so they would most likely obtain them duty free. In the long term they will import whatever they need and only buy locally when they can’t do any better.

  10. @ ac | November 11, 2013 at 6:13 PM |

    Go and jack off girl, the miller is not interested in you right now. His foot is out of commission where your mouth is concerned.
    On the other hand, you can go and pick some fares on Nelson Street (as is your self-professed ultimate career goal) instead of replacing Horatio as a dumb-ass statute.

  11. Miller you are one foul mouth lowlife negro. man u sure look kinda nice as a drag queen. nextime don.t firget the padded bra. U will look a lot better wid some lift.

  12. @ ac | November 11, 2013 at 7:13 PM |

    Is this a lily-white case of the pot calling the kettle black?
    Why don’t you go and do the grammar test recommended by Islandgal?
    Maybe then you will be able to tell the difference between a “Statute” and a ‘Statue’ to a ‘T’ and you will not end up on the Main.
    In that way you might be able to comment intuitively about the Statutory instrument the gorilla Sinckler needs to present to Parliament before he and his big guts cronies can feast on the free food and drinks at Sandals Casuarina for lunch and dinner every week.
    BTW, Mara would certainly look better in drag.

  13. But DAVID what took u so long to realise that. after all u sat back and said nothing when others were slinging the smut and verbage at ac. now all of a sudden you put your two cents worth of hypocrisy on line….WEll let me tell u somethingfor the record.people that throw big rock can and should expect some thrown right in their face. RIGHT MILLER u ole dawg.

  14. Miller……….I am being told that all of a sudden the local bajan whites have all developed specialization skills and are consulting with and advising the DLP government and local people on the NIS Funds, everyone is suddenly an expert on the people’s pension money and are seeing dollar bills, then the Fortress Fund (the Cave(s) Shepherd/DGM Bank directors) people are suddenly all very interested in how the UWI students will pay their tuition going forward, the vultures are all out and ready to morph into leaches, let’s see how the government handles the upcoming results and subsequent fallout of their incompetence.

  15. All I know is what I experienced last month. Trying to get back to Bim for the Christmas holidays from the US (Texas). Everyone now funneling thru Miami as the NY AA flights done. One small Jet Blue 737 can’t make up for this.

    Very little seats available, and they cost $1250 or more compared to the $650 I paid last year. So now I looking to go to TT and catch a LIAT to Bim, and for a short flight, LIAT wants over $400. It is getting to the point you have to fly to St Lucia and get a LIAT to Bim. What a reversal!!!

    And don’t keep preaching about the EU tourist. Their economy is going to be messed up for years. No access to Bim from the US means a lost of big spenders but no one seems to care. I staying home this Xmas unfortunately unless I can find a good row boat.

  16. Sandals has a purchasing Dept set up in Miami, where the items used by the chain are sourced foodstuff, linen, liquor etc I believe that the majority of what will used in B’dos will be supplied from Miami. Local suppliers will not , in my opinion, realize the volume of business they anticipate Sandals will bring. Items like rum, beer, & limited quantities of wine will purchased locally.

    I heard the MOT say that similar concessions are available to other hotels as long as they make an investment similar to the one sandals has/is making $500M. I am confused here as I understand that the Govt has bought Almond, will demolish & rebuild – with borrowed money – and hand over to Sandals to operate, nowhere in this has been any statement by Sandals of them making a $500M investment, did I miss something here?
    One wonders why a deal like this wasn’t offered to Paul Doyle at the Crane as he has certainly made the commitment & investment in Barbados and was one of the persons reportedly interested in buying Almond.

    • While we continue to throw verbal rocks at each other, Jamaica and other Caribbean destinations are silently taking away our market share.Read and weep.Andrew Nehaul

      The Jamaica Observer November 12th 2013 the Jamaica Tourist BoardImagine for a moment, living in a city somewhere in the Northeast or Midwest USA. It is mid-winter 2007 and you are suffering through the most agonizing blizzard in recent memory.Suddenly, vivid images of fellow Americans having the time of their lives flash across your television screen. There is one group at a rowdy open-air bar, sparsely clad and downing copious gulps of Red Stripe beer. Others are shown lazing about on a sunny day at a beautiful white sand beach. The more adventurous are captured experiencing the exhilaration of parasailing 200 feet above the pristine blue ocean.
      This tantalizing montage of an alternative universe has the effect of heightening your own sense of misery.
      The deft hands of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) marketing gurus are playing tricks on your mind, and you find yourself being beckoned by the paradise they are beaming into your living room.
      You are tempted to call your travel agent with an urgent plea: to get you to a place that is as far away (as your credit card will allow) from the inhospitable icebox that is now your world.
      Of course, not everyone is expected to respond positively to the Jamaica invitation, and many won’t. But it is a reasonable bet that some will. The JTB, an experienced and prolific data miner, is likely to have already figured out that this environment is rich with opportunities.
      Its keen marketing instincts, backed by mountains of travel data, is a large part of what makes the State-owned agency such an invaluable partner with private sector stakeholders in Jamaica’s tourism industry.
      When the JTB sells Jamaica, everyone benefits. Hotels with critical mass and the resources to spend millions of their own money on brand penetration are lifted even further by the rising tide. So, too, are the many villas, guest houses, gift shops, tour bus companies, restaurants, bars, and soft adventure outfits that collectively make up the island’s tourism sector.
      Tourism statistics underscore the extent to which the entire country depends on this industry and the fact that the promotional messages that are reaching the marketplace have not been falling on deaf ears.
      Last year, over three million tourists visited Jamaica, from places as far afield as China and Brazil, to the United States and Barbados. Nearly two million of the visitors spent at least one night and in many instances up to two weeks on the island, while 1.32 million came here in cruise ships on eight-hour jaunts.
      The cruise passenger count was 17 per cent more than the previous year, a performance that was bettered in the region only by the tiny island of Martinique. It also represented a 57 per cent growth over the past 11 years.
      The improvement in the land-based arrivals was of the same magnitude over the 11 years (58 per cent) with Jamaica welcoming 712,000 more visitors last year than the country did back then.
      Earnings from the industry have also grown in tandem with the increase in visitor arrivals — up 59 per cent from US$1.3 billion in 2003, to US$2.07 billion last year.
      But, perhaps the single most important piece of data on the industry is the number of individuals who continue to make a living from tourism. According to JTB statistics, 35,197 Jamaicans were employed in the sector last year, just slightly more than the previous year, placing this industry within the top tier of labour employers within the country.
      Most of the overnight visitors to the island head directly to all-inclusive properties once they clear Immigration; these hotels account for 54 per cent of the active room stock on the island. With 15,500 available rooms they achieved 69.7 per cent average occupancy in 2012, a significantly better ratio than the other types of accommodation were able to attain.
      Indeed, national average occupancy levels have not declined over the past decade, despite the addition of some 10,000 rooms to the industry — with the active room count standing at 28,600 at the end of last year.
      This performance in an increasingly competitive global market has taken billions of dollars in advertising outlay and multi-layered marketing interventions by the JTB and other tourism stakeholders.
      The agency organises regular promotions with travel agents, reservation agents, tour operators, airlines, and local hoteliers. Endless public relations campaigns are waged through media, and by way of sponsorships and participation at consumer events and fairs.
      Trade shows like World Travel Market, WTM Latin America, ITB Berlin, and Japan Association of Travel Agents are staples in the mix of promotional activities.
      Joint efforts with consumer and travel brands are also part of the menu. For example, earlier this year the JTB partnered with Macy’s, Beringer Wines, Baltimore Ravens, Sackville Travel, TUI, and Condor to sell Jamaica.
      Big events like the Olympic Games in the UK in 2012 and the IAAF World Championships in Moscow this summer give the tourism promoter another big platform for its campaign for the patronage of global travellers.
      There is another important and largely understated function that the JTB performs that is of equal importance to its promotional efforts. By keeping a sharp eye on regulatory institutions within the major tourism markets, the agency is able to quickly move towards mitigating and, in some instances, forestalling the impact of new laws that stand to significantly undermine its efforts to pull tourists to Jamaica.
      A good example was the introduction in 2007 of new regulations in the USA requiring Americans returning from trips to the Caribbean, Mexico and Canada to present their passports to US Immigration.
      The law was a threat to Jamaica’s tourism because Americans who travel here did not previously need or use passports, and many of them did not possess one.
      The regulation galvanised the JTB and other local tourism interests into action. The agency launched a programme in partnership with the US Post Office and the Department of Homeland Security to have Americans sign up for their passports. In conjunction with other interested parties it also introduced a passport reward programme, again with the intention of encouraging Americans to apply for their passports.
      Here in Jamaica, the tourism promoter regularly collaborates with other industry players to achieve shared goals. The Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) is one of the biggest local promotional programmes for the industry and is a joint effort with the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association.
      The JTB also gets help from three tourism-related public sector entities that share the common goal of ensuring that tourists who come to Jamaica can have a positive experience.
      These are:
      * The Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo);
      * The Tourism Enhancement Fund; and
      * Jamaica Vacations Ltd.
      Together these agencies are responsible for enhancing the physical public space within resort towns and to ensure that adequate airlift is available to transport tourists from both new and old markets to and from Jamaica.
      The JTB is a prolific champion at awards ceremonies that recognise excellence within the tourism industry. The list of awards it has copped in just the last two years alone is inexhaustible. Among them:
      * TravelAge West 2011 WAVE Awards for the Official International Tourist Board Providing the Best Travel Agent Support;
      * 2011 Big Apple Awards for the campaign ‘Restoration Jamaica: Overcoming a Crisis…Protecting Brand Perception’;
      * Flight Centre USA 2011 for Best Customer Service To The Trade;
      * Flight Centre USA 2011 for Best Tourism Marketing;
      * Flight Centre USA 2011 for Best Supplier Training;
      * Flight Centre USA 2012 for Best Customer Service;
      * TravelAge West 2012 WAVE Award for International Tourist Board Providing the Best Travel Agent Support;
      * Agents’ Choice Award 2012 for Favourite Tourist Board in Canada;
      * 2012 Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Gold Adrian Award for Public Relations Excellence.

  17. Konkieman………..don’t hurt your head or your pockets…the DLP and see ‘nothing wrong with that’. lol


    Tourism Budget, Doing More With Less@ What did they do with the money when they had more MONEY ,?
    Numbers , NUMBERS , numbers

  19. Man, I am sick and tired of entertaining this endless debate regarding tourism in the Caribbean. What the industry is experience today, ought to be enough to convince island governments that their can’t no longer bank their hopes on such a shallow enterprise as tourism. Now, if the current economic vicissitudes haven’t as yet convinced them by now, that they need to change course. Then perhaps it’s going to probably take the entire decline of the industry to do some. Just the day other this guy and myself were chatting about St. James, and I had related to him that in the earlier 80’s I had attended the skill training through the polytech there short after I had left secondary school. And I said to him,” At that time hotels were being constructed as far as one’s eyes could have seen.” And I was quite shocked and somewhat disheartened when he related to me that the place had become a less than a ghost town.

    • If it is ONE thing both major political parties in Barbados are agreed is that tourism and the service sector remains the lifeline.

  20. Mark fenty | November 14, 2013 at 6:12 AM |

    Man, I am sick and tired of entertaining this endless debate regarding tourism in the Caribbean.

    Until a super intelligent Caribbean person(s) with creativity and long term vision emerges to rescue the people as well as the current crop of politicians from the template created and provided to the them from the 50’s coming forward, i am afraid we are stuck for some time with what is available…….the current crop of politicians across the Caribbean just do not have what is required to affect change…the person(s) may have already been born as we speak.

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