A Glance at Our Tourism Stats

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge

Is there some room for cautious optimism in our tourism performance? Following 21 consecutive months of long stay visitor decline January 2014 recorded a modest increase of 3.2 per cent when compared with the same month in 2013. It is however important to keep this in absolute perspective. January 2013 was down 8.2 per cent (4,331 people) when measured against January 2012 and unless we finish the end of February, 7,972 land based visitors up we will still be woefully behind the identical period last year.

The growth largely came from the United Kingdom with 1,455 more long-stay visitors over the same period in January 2013. This in itself is encouraging, because as frequently pointed out, the British and Europeans tend to stay longer, therefore usually contributing a higher per capita spend. The higher UK arrivals were largely driven by two charter airlines. Thomas Cook operating a new service and Thomson adding increased capacity with recently introduced B787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Passengers from these flights included a significant number of cruise and stay holidaymakers, but both carriers offered many seats on sale at substantially reduced fares, which in some cases were less than GBPounds 300 return, including all taxes. With such a diverse destination and a myriad range of accommodation options, these last minute ‘bargains’ present an opportunity to fill some beds at short notice.

Scheduled carriers, Virgin Atlantic, carried fewer passengers on the Gatwick service, but more from Manchester, while British Airways (BA) had a net gain. Again, to emphasis that these comparisons are all based on the differential between January 2013 and 2014. Virgin’s numbers must also take into account dramatically reduced capacity as a result of equipment change from a daily B747 service to mostly the smaller A330 planes on the London route.

BA and Virgin also held an extended seat sale which expired on 28th January, with some of the lowest legacy fares available in the entire Caribbean for the remainder of 2014. Hopefully this resulted in substantial bookings, which will positively impact the arrival numbers later this year.

Looking at other markets, once again there was no growth out of the USA despite JetBlue introducing larger planes and increased frequency, the mid-month loss of the American Airlines direct JFK flight resulted in an overall 1,324 lost seats out of New York. Especially worrying when you take into account climatic conditions and we are in the peak winter season.

2013 in fact, boasted the lowest number of United States stay-over visitors in any one of the last 11 years, again calling into question why this market continues to receive an inappropriate share of the BTA annual budget, when clearly it is not performing.

Is it also time to look again at the viability of the direct Sao Paulo service, operated once-weekly by GOL. Nearly four years after its launch, what are the average loadings, stay and spend? Has it ever and does it continue to be cost-effective for the resources allocated, or could these precious marketing and airlift support monies, be better spent elsewhere.

Are these unreasonable questions and do not our policymakers have an obligation to tell us? After all, Government wants the private sector to step-up our investment in the product and plant, but this has to be a two-way relationship.

While we are kept in the dark, it is almost impossible to make calculated and intelligent decisions, or where we could deploy and maximize any available profits into further commitments.

55 thoughts on “A Glance at Our Tourism Stats

  1. Congrats to the MoT for stopping the rot somewhat.

    He was on CBC TV last night suggesting that all hotels currently have an occupancy of 75%+ bar one.


  2. I have just stumbled across this website: http://www.cruiselawnews.com/articles/caribbean-islands/
    It may explain why tourists are avoiding Barbados. This website and many articles I have read of late have suggested that crime (particularly, violent crime) is becoming a growing problem throughout the Caribbean. If someone has no knowledge of this region they may be deterred from visiting this region.
    It’s time for Barbados to grow and develop other industries other than relying on this stale and ever decreasing profitable tourist industry.


  3. u guys are relentless ,,there is always somebody out there to piss on any good news to do with the economy like the jack as exclaimer F…ck crime is high throughout the carribbean with barbados one of the countries having a low crime,,,and here comes along this knucklehead nincoompoop blogging sh,,t… u jack ass go get a life barbados don’t need u,,, u political pimp

    • @ac

      The commenter phrased the comment in a Caribbean context which has had a reputation through the years as a peace zone.

  4. AC why such anger? You argue that the crime rate in Barbados is low when compared to other countries within the region. Are you suggesting that we should feel content in the knowledge that our murder rate is lower than that of the murderous Guyana, Trinidad or Jamaica? You’ve set the bar remarkably low!
    How can Barbados develop as a nation if it refuses to acknowledge that ideas and views should be listened to objectively. We kid ourselves when we bury our head in the sand.
    AC i made it clear to you that i had stumbled across the above website. Is it an objective site? Hell no! However if you were to peruse the web you would find many similar negative comments about the Caribbean. Is the perception of our region damaging us or do we have a genuine problem with crime.
    AC lets be mature. Hopefully one of our “knucklehead nincompoop” politicians may take note and start finding solutions for the myriad of problems we face within our still great country, Barbados.

  5. @ David | February 17, 2014 at 6:16 AM |
    “…He was on CBC TV last night suggesting that all hotels currently have an occupancy of 75%+ bar one.”

    Do you know if the Almond property at Heywoods under Weatherhead’s management is one of those ‘high occupancy’ hotels?

  6. @ Exclaimer,
    The Intelligentsia on BU get it.

    Those of us living in North America know that we still get asked if Barbados is part of Jamaica.

    Barbados needs to first and foremost keep crime down and to increase advertising because there are a lot of North Americans who have had enough of a long bad winter and can easily be persuaded to travel to Barbados.

    You are also correct in stating “It’s time for Barbados to grow and develop other industries” but I still think an improved Tourism industry can be one of the eggs in one of many baskets.

    Agriculture,aquaculture,greenhouses growing organic crops, solar energy.

    But I just read duh building a $25million dollar movie theatre in warrens.

  7. Dam right i am angry enough of pissing all over this tiny island i have had it and when ever i read any negative sh..t i would comment as seen fit. the article by adrien although slightly slanted stated thatthe tourism numbers had improved then comes along exclaimer to point out the negative i have had it and i mean it so expect more of the same from me…

  8. ac…..don’t fret, if Estwick gets to borrow 5 billion from the Arabs, who are shady at best, just advise him to build factories and not only cane factories, there are many factories one can build, don’t use the money to pay public servant’s salaries and definitely don’t put it into tourism or the hands of hoteliers, his dog will die for sure and he has the Arabs to answer to when he can’t repay………factories =production, creativity, generation of mucho more billions to repay the Arabs and keep the island solvent for generations going forward, put the people to work, what are you so upset about?

  9. careful what you wish for, A guy came who worked at a pickle factory came home to his wife and said he had an urge to put his penis in one of the pickle slicers. His wife said that’s crazy and sent him for therapy. A month goes by he comes in the door all ashen faced,… she asked whats wrong…., he said he put his thing in the slicer and was fired, What happened to the slicer his wife asked, he said she was fired too

  10. @ Hants, I am currently in the UK. Your comment about Americans unable to comprehend that Barbados is not part of Jamaica does not surprise me. Fortunately the vast majority of Britain’s are aware that Barbados and Jamaica are two separate countries. However over the last 20 years there has been a huge influx of immigrants to the UK. Amongst this group you would be surprise to know how many of these individuals have never heard of Barbados. Everybody has heard of Jamaica. Perhaps we should to start to develop some high class athletes!
    @ Hants, with regards to the tourist trade. I doubt if Barbados has the foresight to fully realise the potential of its tourist industry. You made a point that North Americans are currently fed up with their winter, it is no different in the UK and the vast majority of countries that have to endure a winter period. We assume that the sun, our beaches, our friendly and our laid back nature is sufficient for drawing in tourists. It should be a no brainer so why are we struggling to draw in the tourists?
    I believe that Barbados is like an extraordinary beautiful woman who during her youth through to her mid-thirties was never short of compliments and attention; never had to pay her way in life as everything was provided for her. As she aged and lost her beauty and received less attention she became unstuck. Unable to rationalise her current predicament she piled on more make-up in order to get noticed. So Barbados decided to build taller, larger hotels. It decided to throw more money in advertisements and used a pop singer to promote “Brand Barbados”, it let in the cruise liners and now Sandals. What next?
    We have a scatter-gun approach to our tourist industry. Tourism should always be at least one egg in our basket. So how can we improve our tourist industry? You mentioned Warrens. Are you aware that there is a slave “house” still in existence in Warrens. Plantation Houses can be found all over Barbados with no reference made to slavery. We have to promote our heritage. What of the Chattel house? Should there not be a chattel house trail? We should be looking at renovating these houses. Barbados should set up hospices for wealthy foreigners who are reaching the end of their life. Not tasteful but it is an area which could generate employment and bring in “tourists” who would come to our island to visit their love ones. What about creating amateur cricket tours from the UK which would involve families? What about creating cuisine holidays where people can learn how to cook Caribbean cuisine. This could involve going to local markets, fish markets, food shops, plantation visits, etc. With some 365 churches there must be a place for religion tourism. This model is more sustainable then the hop-on, hop-off cruise liner tourists. I have come up with a few suggestions. We should be looking at bringing in high end visitors who are interested in more than sea and sand.

  11. @ ac, I can empathise with you. However given Barbados current state we cannot afford to wallow in self-pity. Self-pity will not build our economy.

  12. The exchange rate of Sterling against the Barbados Dollar reached it highest rate since Novermber 2009 today, according to the Central Bank of Barbados. GBPounds 1 = BDS$3.4163

  13. so tel me now where were all these genius ideas when money was flowing and handed left right and centre to the torism industry.. now the well dried up here comes the Exclaimer trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat pontificating on how things should be. well tell me wher u and others gonna get the money from.govt so far this year have giving preference to this industry. all u and others give is a bunch of meaningles lip service

  14. AC
    If crime in the region is up, therefore cruise ships would avoid Barbados too. Barbados is part of the region and no shipping line is going to come just to Barbados on a caribbean cruise. What the MOT would have to do, is try to increase the air travel. We are talking about building a new cruise berth but have we considered what will happen if T&T and St.Lucia, just next door, can’t control their crime and the region is labelled as crime infested? Tourism is a iffy industrya n illness or virus breaks out in the caribbean , but not in Barbados, and we will feel the pinch like all the others.

  15. AC
    I understand your position, you are HOT under the collar with Estwick because he got Stuart by his balls. You don’t have to take out your frustration on the BU family, have a one on one with Estwick, just go to Hodees in SIX ROADS and enjoy a good meat and a talk with the gentleman.

  16. David

    Thanks for the clip of Adrian at the Assembly.

    While he stated his case quite clearly, I find it hard to believe that none of the assembled group had one question

    • @DD

      What you will find is that many Bajans attend these political sessions for the theatre which is promised.

  17. ac,
    if hotels are not 75 per cent or more full in February, then there clearly is a BIG problem. Its traditionally the busiest month of the year. But unless over 7,900 EXTRA long stay visitors arrive by the end of this month, we will still be down when compared with January and February 2013.

  18. The fact that the GOB bent over backwards to facilitate Sandals is proof positive of the ineffectiveness of the Barbados tourism Authority. Adrian himself spoke to the complete waste of 11 million (US) dollars in Marketing last year. There is no permanent CEO … perhaps no one wants to be shown up as this is position for which worth can be definitively measured; and one thing that Barbados sadly lacks is true CEO talent, though many carry the title without true justification.

  19. maybe i am reading u wrong adrien but i am of the belief that hotels are 75percent booked showing an improvement from last winter….

  20. david there are no numbers on the CTWEBSITE to focus on numbers for jan or feb, 2014 , be that as it may the 75 percent booking should be good news for the tourism industry who so far has been on death watch

  21. @Hants
    Agriculture,aquaculture,greenhouses growing organic crops, solar energy.
    But I just read duh building a $25million dollar movie theatre in warrens.
    Unfortunately the same very people who will have a big stake in agriculture, acquaculture and the manufacturing of greenhouses,etc ,are the same very people who will be building the $25million movie theater. We are MUGS.

  22. What is being done to encourage these visitors who are now filling up 75% of bedspaces in our hotel to return to Barbados on vacation.
    From an environmental point of view, very little from the looks of it. Perhaps those hoteliers who are now raking it in, should consider contributing to a fund ,to support another form of ‘raking it in’.

  23. @ Colonel Buggy | February 18, 2014 at 10:00 PM |
    “From an environmental point of view, very little from the looks of it. Perhaps those hoteliers who are now raking it in, should consider contributing to a fund ,to support another form of ‘raking it in’.”

    Couldn’t agree with you more, Colonel.
    The island is badly in need of an environmental facelift.
    Many of the visitors at the hotels would find themselves not only in Bridgetown but also at the Oistins Bay Gardens.
    W wonder if the BTII or whoever has the caretaker responsibilities for the popular facility has fixed the ‘bleeding’ toilets which have received numerous complaints from visitors in the recent months.

  24. I was showing some first time visitors from overseas around the island a few weeks ago. I really felt embarrassed while driving around with them at the amount of litter and garbage that was laying about the place as we drove around. At one point we were up in the middle of scenic St. Thomas somewhere and had ventured down an isolated back road out in the middle of the canefields and then found the road had flooded so I had to back up to turn around. Wouldn’t you know it, I backed up a few hundred feet to an area I could turn around at, and right where I backed into a little gap out in the middle of nowhere to turn around was a whole big nasty pile of stinking garbage piled up almost to the height of the car windows. A beautiful advertisement to bring to our visitors’ awareness how deeply Bajans care for their environment, and please do spend a few more hundred dollars/pounds of your hard earned money to come visit us again in our paradise island so as, in addition to the sea baths and rum punches, you can get bountiful eyefuls and nosefuls of our garbage at no additional charge.

    I like to take a walk now and again along the route of the old train tracks along the top of the cliffs from College Savanah down through the Consett Cutting and into Consett Bay. It makes a nice, non-strenuous half hour to an hour scenic hike, and as you turn the bend at the top to go down the cutting into Consett Bay there is a really nice view of the East Coast from Bath on up to Cattlewash and Pico Teneriffe. I would have liked to have shown my overseas friends that view, but I decided best not to take them there because a few days previously had found more garbage had been dumped along the cliff top by where I usually park the car, and when you walk down through the wooded cutting into Consett Bay you can see nuff more garbage is being regularly dumped in the bushes alongside the foot path too.

    They have some nasty people living bout here fuh true. .

  25. @ GreenMonkey | February 18, 2014 at 11:23 PM |
    “…They have some nasty people living bout here fuh true.”

    Many visitors have been exposed to similar ‘environmental’ kills and cases of ecological terrorism.
    When the miller says these things he is cussed, vilified and deemed to be unpatriotic and not liking Bajans.

    If Bajans don’t like themselves and treat their own country with such loathing disrespect how do they expect visitors to view them other than a bunch of “nasty people”?

  26. British Airways announced it was increasing the number of flights between Barbados and London Gatwick from 10 to 12 per week beginning late October, to service the busy winter months. Each of the additional flights has a passenger capacity of 226.

  27. The region as a whole has regained ground lost in the heat of the global economic depression in 2008/2009. Last year (2013), the Caribbean welcomed nearly 25 million tourists, that’s 5.4 percent more than in 2011 and the largest number of stayover visitors in five years. This rate of growth outpaced the rest of the world which saw arrivals increase by four per cent.

  28. ac,

    you will have to explain why you constantly grossly misinform readers on this and others blogs . The two ‘extra’ British Airways flights will in FACT operate from 30 November 2014 until 28/29 February 2015 (source BGIS). And taking into account the possible extra 1,792 seats you have invented for October, it falls dramatically short of the 16,000 plus airline seats we will lose when Sandals Barbados closes on 1st April. Also the growth you mention for Caribbean tourism in NOT reflected in Barbados long stay arrival,s which were DOWN 5.5 per cent last year and nearly 60,000 long stay visitors down for the last two years.

  29. She also said there was good news from BA Holidays, the airline’s division that sells hotels and holiday packages, which was reporting “some steady growth in terms of selling the Caribbean for UK leisure”.
    Corrie explained that changes to the frequency of BA’s flights were determined on the basis of customer demand balanced with route profitability and she said putting the two additional flights on the Barbados route “does seem to indicate that there is increased demand”.

  30. Wait wunna very quiet up in here (naysyers and 24hr gloomers) with good news on the horizon every body like they jump ship…..Wuhlosss bozie…….

  31. There is no doubt about it , people like Minister ‘ Lens’ Lashley and others are simply paying lip service to this Bridgetown and the Historic Garrison heritage thing. Very little,if any, has been done to enhance the Bridgetown environment, since the exit of Dame Billie Miller. All that she has left in place is now sadly deteriorating ,due to our ongoing feud with maintenance of any kind. It was really distressing , listening to the Chief Town Planner recently, on CBC TV,stating that the UN Heritage designation status of Bridgetown and the Historic Garrison is safe and is not likely to be revoked.
    Walking through parts of Bridgetown today,and seeing many visitors, most of whom were from the two cruise liners now in the Bridgetown Port, Carnival Valor and the Norwegian Sun, I could not help but wonder what these people were really thinking about the state of a destination which t has been described to them as a paradise. Perhaps, the same as that of two British Sailors, I overheard some years ago, as they stepped out of the Bridgetown port,and was walking up the Harbour Road,…… “cor blimey, mucker, there is more shit on the pavement as there is in the road.”
    As a general rule most visitors to any country, link their opinions of the inhabitants , to the cleanliness, or lack thereof, of the streets and visible environment.
    Do our Members of Parliament,Technocrats , Tourism Officials, Proud and educated Barbadians and 30 November Fanatics use the same streets and alleys to access Bridgetown and the wider Barbados as us lesser mortals? Or are they all the same blind bastards,the PM referred to, looking for a black cat in a dark room.

  32. Adrian…………why worry? no one in their right minds on the blog, particularly in the outside world will take AC’s math seriously, and if, we hope not, there is a devaluation, she will just continue to be comic relief or BU’s Mascot for why one should NEVER become a yardfowl.

  33. o.k. well well so much for intelligent debate,,,btw did you read the good news,,or is that asking u too much,,enuff bout ac couldn;t give a rats as,,s wuh nobody think ,,,,,,,,lmaof

  34. But looka muh crosses this thread has run aground even my friend DD seem to have pulled up stumps and departed………that too is a good sign when DD has nothing bad to say in three whole long days……..i agree with GOB confidence is being restored……no need for yuh alll doomers to jump ship

  35. @ ac | February 20, 2014 at 1:58 PM |
    “..i agree with GOB confidence is being restored…”

    Are you referring to the same Guv of the CB whom the IMF slapped down as an unauthorized printer of monopoly money and a fraudulent massager of financial and economic data to suit a partisan political agenda?

    Is the “GOB” the same joker who consistently told Bajans every thing was stable and growth is always on the horizon? When did he ever say there was a loss of confidence in the management of the economy?

    When did you ever lose confidence in the economy under the stewardship of the DLP?
    You must first lose or misplace something before you can restore it, right ac?

    • What are the indicators the GoCB is using to adjudge that the confidence level is rising? Is it the news that workers are being sent home weekly? What is he seeing?

  36. maybe he is taking his cue from the many positives coming from those in the banking industry,,people who might have an insight on trends which will affect the economy positively,, and not reading BU

    Speaking at the ceremony to mark the occasion, Rik Parkhill, CEO of CIBC FirstCaribbean declared, “The branch, like our regional headquarters which was recently named for our past Executive Chairman, Michael Mansoor, is a symbol of commitment to what is in fact becoming the country’s newest town and to the island of Barbados as a whole.
    “The Warrens Banking Centre is but one example of the recent investment we have made in the Caribbean. Our continuing commitment comes against the background of sluggish recovery in many of the region’s economies. Despite the challenging economic environment, we continue to invest for the future.”
    He pointed out that the opening of the new branch was a “solid demonstration of a bank that is positioning itself for future growth”.
    “We are investing for the future and have confidence in the Caribbean region and its people. We have been making changes to all levels of our organisation to create a new CIBC FirstCaribbean that will be well positioned to serve its clients. We have started on streamlining many of our processes, with resulting benefits that have been passed to our customers. Significant improvements have been made to everything, from account opening times to mortgage and loan approvals.”

    • Please note CIBC sent home 66 employees this week.

      On 20 February 2014 22:21, Barbados Underground <comment-reply@wordpress.com > wrote:


  37. ac – DD is happy to hear you have missed him

    The GoCBB should read the Dec 13/13 (pre IMF report) Forbes magazine article at


    “Barbados, “the Jewel of the Caribbean,” the tiny easternmost island in the Lesser Antilles with 288,000 year-around inhabitants and lots of very rich foreign visitors and investors, is in the throes of a financial meltdown.

    While its entire GDP is now only worth about $4.2 billion, and its population is smaller than that of Duluth Minnesota, this crisis is worth examining closely. For here we have a very precise example of the “finance curse,” where excessive dependence on high debt, an aggressive offshore haven industry, very low tax rates for high-net worth investors, foreign companies, and banks, and high tax rates for everyone else, have essentially brought this little country to its knees.” …………………

    This does not instill confidence in the international investors who read Forbes as part of the due diligence.

  38. DD when was that article dated Ammm Dec 2013 ..there are investors who live and dwell on this tiny island who seem to think differently as of FEb 2014 despite what the IMF says ,,and has injected a double dose of “confidence ” in this tiny island,,,,,,,

  39. ac

    S&P wrong, Moody’s wrong, IMF wrong, Forbes wrong – GoCBB right, PM right, MOF right and ac right?

    DD confused

  40. look maybe all of the above are right,,,,with an economy ,,,,nothing is written in stone,,,,,they are highs and lows and an occasional fluctuation ..however i prefer to look on the optimist side that is my philosophy…..

  41. @ ac | February 20, 2014 at 8:30 PM |
    “….they are highs and lows and an occasional fluctuation ..however i prefer to look on the optimist side that is my philosophy…”

    Except of course when you are dealing with the period 1994-2007. For you, that was the worst period in Bajan economic history and the cause of all the problems facing the modern Bajan economy.

    Now that everything is on the up and up (according to the MoT) can we therefore see a drop in the use of the scapegoats of the international recession and the UK APD for the state of the tourism industry and country’s economic woes?

    Any Caribbean tourism destination- with 30 odd of its hotel facilities closed within the last 5 years- which did not cash in on the extremely cold weather in the North and unusually stormy weather in the UK must be really out to sea and operating in Siberia.
    Check the occupancy rates in Jamaica, Aruba and Antigua and see if there isn’t almost 100% occupancy as the MoT is claiming for Bim.

    There is now no more need to dwell in the past except, of course, to blame the BLP when things start to go wrong again in a few months as the lies and damned lies can no longer be hidden by ‘doctored’ statistics to conceal the truth from the credit rating agencies and the IMF.

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