Santander Bank Research Identifies Barbados and the UAE Expensive Destinations

With Sterling reaching an eight year high against the Euro, making most European countries dramatically less expensive as holiday destinations […] and the Canadian Dollar below 80 cents when compared with its southern neighbour,

the pressure is on to making Barbados perceived as offering value-for money.

So when a Spanish based bank with a huge presence in the United Kingdom recently published the results of a survey entitled Barbados Caribbean island is most expensive place to visit’ it should send a huge tidal wave of realism to our various tourism policymakers and planners that we have to either redress this reality/perception or risk losing more market share.

Santander UK currently serves more than 14 million active customers from 921 branches and 66 regional Corporate Business Centres in the United Kingdom. As of 31st December 2014 it was the most switched-to-bank attracting 1 in 4 new retail accounts.

In the survey, undertaken by Opinium Research/ONS Travel Trends 2014 it stated ‘British people visiting Barbados will feel a particular nasty sting in their wallets this summer, having to fork out an average of GBPounds 109 a day in spending money – not including the cost of a hotel’.

Around the world Barbados was placed as No. 1 in a list of the ten most expensive countries for British people to visit based on average daily spend. Second was the United Arab Emirates. Just as alarming, is that Santander concluded that the daily costs of visiting Barbados have risen from GBPounds 79 per day or nearly 38 per cent since 2010.

To put this in context they quote Poland and India where UK travellers spend on average GBPounds 30 per day with not a single other Caribbean country making the top ten in terms of high costs.

With this ‘research’ now widely circulated among some of the best selling newspapers, journals, websites and social media, I really wonder if the current administration has thought through the impending consequences on prices that the latest tax grabbing budget will have?

Not just on locals, but our visitors as well. With VAT being placed on a number of food items that the majority deem ‘staples’ and inevitably will further push us as a destination further out of reach for many more, including the number of families who form a critical part of the overall arrival statistics.

One thing for sure, with Santander’s 14 million account holders in the United Kingdom, even if you assume it is a single named customer, represents 22 per cent of the entire UK population and who are being told we are the world’s most expensive destination.  Our marketing people have a mountain to climb to even try and redress the potential damage.

Perhaps the way forward might include smart partnering with Santander to gives its customer’s special concessions on Barbados when paying with one of their debit or credit cards or no fee currency exchange. ‘We’ could even take it to a higher level with a destination affinity card offering regular ‘win a holiday to Barbados’ prizes for those who use that method of payment.

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36 Comments on “Santander Bank Research Identifies Barbados and the UAE Expensive Destinations”

  1. David August 3, 2015 at 7:15 AM #


    Lewis Hamilton is in for ‪#‎CropOver2015‬

    Raceone Crew's photo.


  2. David August 3, 2015 at 7:16 AM #

    More good news HANTS, the SSA workers have been burning overtime – less garbage seen on the streets of late.


  3. William Skinner August 3, 2015 at 8:07 AM #

    I don’t think this is big news to anybody and bears out the point that objective observers have been making of our tourism industry for a very long time.


  4. David August 3, 2015 at 8:09 AM #


    Why do you think Barbados is an expensive destination?


  5. William Skinner August 3, 2015 at 8:27 AM #

    @ David,
    It is not a matter of my “thinking” anything. Anybody who has been following reports on Caribbean tourism through the years would know that we are an expensive destination. Hence the report quoted by Adrian in this piece is really nothing knew. Even those who follow the local debate know that we are often described as a high priced destination by those involved at both the political and corporate levels within the industry. I don’t know why we are always so eager to question the facts.


  6. David August 3, 2015 at 8:31 AM #

    If we are a high price destination it makes sense margins in the industry is sliver thin and therefore government support to remain competitive should be expected?


  7. Hants August 3, 2015 at 8:48 AM #


    Lewis is in to


  8. Shaft August 3, 2015 at 10:21 AM #

    The Bank’s report is absolutely correct about Barbados…! We all the West Coast has always been very expensive, therefore the average tourist would head for the South Coast which has always been reasonably priced…! No do anymore, regardless of where you go Barbados is expensive! I’m now seeing tourists jumping on “Mini Vans” to save on hiring cars or taking taxis…! People are now considering cheaper options in the EU, Turkey, Spain and Greece etc are far cheaper…!


  9. bookworm August 3, 2015 at 11:24 AM #

    David August 3, 2015 at 8:09 AM #

    Why do you think Barbados is an expensive destination?

    Very simple really David. It is because everything on Barbados costs a lot,and I mean a lot,more than European, Dom Rep and US sun sand and sea destinations. To say nothing of the very high airfares to get here.
    Friends have just come back from the Dom Rep. 14 nights AI,luxury resort with 7 restaurants.£1400/person including flights and transfers. AND all inclusive included premium drinks.
    Show me the same in Bim!


  10. David August 3, 2015 at 3:20 PM #



  11. Clone August 3, 2015 at 3:32 PM #

    That’s a lovely video of Barbados. Bajans must get out and enjoy it.


  12. William Skinner August 3, 2015 at 11:04 PM #

    @ David,
    It does not necessarily follow that because a destination is high priced , the profit will be thin. Furthermore why should it be any government’s responsibility to ensure that hoteliers make a bigger profit. Can governments dictate to them how to spend their profits?


  13. David August 4, 2015 at 12:00 AM #


    We are discussing Barbados and if the input costs are high and you want to compete with countries which have a lower cost structure it is obvious the margins would be thin if you price competively.


  14. William Skinner August 4, 2015 at 12:16 AM #

    @ David,
    Are you suggesting that governments should underwrite the industry. The problem is not only that we are high priced but the product being offered , in some cases do not merit the price. It is all about product, management and marketing. If these three are not in concord , we cannot compete. It is not governments’ fault at all. We had over sixty years to get it right !


  15. David August 4, 2015 at 4:32 AM #

    Governments subsidize industries they deem as strategic all the time. For example, nanny EU countries and the USA subsidize agriculture. Trinidad subsidizes Caribbean Airlines by reduced fuel cost to the chagrin of LIAT’s management etc.


  16. chan bishop August 4, 2015 at 5:09 AM #


    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Note® II


  17. William Skinner August 4, 2015 at 6:26 AM #

    @ David,
    Trinidad produces oil. We do not at any real level. The USA subsidizes agriculture in order to try and control the price to the consumer and these subsidies are coming under fire because of the billions they cost the taxpayers.In other words, the subsidies really end up in the pockets of mega farmers who really don’t need them. Consumers are still aghast at the price of quality vegetables and other produce when they go in the supermarkets. What will be the immediate benefits to our consumers if any government attempts this with tourism? As for the EU countries , outside of Germany, their economies have been underperforming for decades. In one breath we talk about subsidising the industry but when Sandals got some concessions all hell broke loose !


  18. David August 4, 2015 at 6:33 AM #


    And we subsidize the industry to compete with lower cost destinations. By your admission we operate in a high cost destination. You cant have it both ways. Our rack rates cannot be competitive if input cost are high than the competitiors.

    On 4 August 2015 at 10:26, Barbados Underground wrote:



  19. Bush Tea August 4, 2015 at 7:01 AM #

    @ David
    What is the great need to be ‘lower cost’?
    Lower cost is synonymous with low quality, inefficiency and low expectations.
    Tourism as practised by Barbados is already a lot like prostitution…at the very least we can aim to be high class hookers rather than Bush Hill Hos….

    Shiite man… Bushie would have thought we would be PROUD to be in the most expensive bracket. Why not advertise ourselves as “Barbados – the Exclusive” …or as “..too special to be cheap” ?
    Do you know that the most visited destinations in the world are hideously expensive?
    …ever been to Paris? Tokyo? or Geneva? …well these are EXPENSIVE as shiite…

    Of course these expensive destinations are also HIGH QUALITY…..which is what we would be aiming to be… if we were not such brass bowls…. Even our own Sandy Lane demonstrates this principle RIGHT HERE and yet we have jackasses like Sealy talking shiite about “numbers of tourists” visiting…

    Steupssss…why not just have a free for all …and subsidise their airfares too… and let the hoards in…Then we could brag about the growth….

    Where the hell hath wisdom hidden itself nuh?


  20. David August 4, 2015 at 7:05 AM #


    The lower cost position is part of the narrow margin discussion. We have mid to high segments who travel to Barbados, check out our room stock and who are members of the BHTA. We can’t generalize.


  21. William Skinner August 4, 2015 at 7:49 AM #

    @ David,
    It is obvious that you believe that governments can subsidise and thereby remove the glaring inefficiencies that exist in our management of the industry. I assure you that the hoteliers and other stake holders have not been stellar custodians of our main industry. For your information high end properties do not compete with low end properties. You are also being confused with the terms high end and high priced. Because we are high priced, it does not follow we are high end although we are doing our best to capture and maintain more of the high end market. Here is where celebrity marketing comes into focus. Hence you will note for crop over the emphasis placed on celebrities arriving by private jets . We now have Rihanna as a major asset in that push.
    You must remember that Rihanna is considered rich and successful hence her endorsement of a product automatically induces those in her league. Barbados is having problems with the high end younger jet set tourists who are looking for new exciting experiences. They move late at night and are attracted to well planned entertainment . We need to develop our entertainment product to cash in on these high flyers. The point made by Bushie above cannot be overlooked. Those who can afford it go to the most expensive destinations. What we need is massive private investment in our tourism product to take it and maintain at the highest level. And you ought to know that if government cannot subsidise one hotel without the fall out re: Sandals; it cannot really subsidise an entire industry.


  22. de Ingrunt Word August 4, 2015 at 7:58 AM #

    David, that’s an interesting remark, “The lower cost position is part of the narrow margin discussion” because it is an economic fact of life. But the Barbados hospitality industry as those all over the world are being completely disrupted by the Airbnbs of this world. As a result of that dynamic the low cost position need not be a low margin profit position for the hundreds of new room providers.

    There are lovely properties (the pics anyhow) the length and breadth of Barbados ranging from green sites full of flowers and vegetation to lovely sea-side apts and a lot of peaceful standard offerings in between seen on those sites. Anyone who has not looked on one of those sites should do so…it’s truly remarkable the type properties marketed.

    To your other point, obviously none of these are a part of a BHTA and based on a remark from Loveridge previously it does not appear the stats on this segment of the industry are being captured properly or otherwise .

    I believe that younger and more adventurous tech savvy older travelers with decent discretionary income use these properties and place hard cash in the hands of businesses and locals at the grassroots level. Some decent money at profitable levels is circulating.

    The high end segments of villas and hotels and the non-luxury hotels like Loveridge’s will continue to do their thing.

    As someone noted this price/quality/quantity debate is somewhat passe as our hospitality industry has always fundamentally heavily targeted the ‘rich and famous’ while also catering to more average travelers. Of course the details and price data gets skewed because of the outsize rates at Sandy Lane or any of the other high end West Cost hotels.

    There has been and always will be ‘reasonable rates’ at the smaller properties but when price surveys are done how do you avg a room rate of $100 – $150/n to those at a Sandy Lane in high or low season.

    But Loveridge remark on the general ‘high’ cost of living hits home. When an Oistin’s fish fry meal starts to drift towards West Coast dining prices its time for a reset – well not exactly Cliff prices really but damn, sometimes it feels that way!


  23. de Ingrunt Word August 4, 2015 at 8:16 AM #

    This Rhianna marketing ting is rather dynamic. We certainly must enjoy every $$ of free publicity we get from her being all over the net during Crop-Over from year to year with the pic captions like “the lovely Bajan songstress enjoying carnival in her native Barbados”. Or when she comes home for some R&R and the paparazzi have her pics all over.

    But unless the BHTA is going to bankrupt the country to ensure that her name is exclusively associated to Barabados (if that was even possible) then the lovely Rhianna is going to be just as effective as a draw for markets like Cuba, for example.

    I saw some very lovely pics of Cuba with the retro look of old cars, peeling paint and the dulcet sugary brown skin tones and gorgeous face of Rhianna as the model tourist.

    So we surely will take her, Hamilton, Van Persie with his family last year and all other publicity sightings of the rich and famous to encourage more high earners to visit.

    And we’ll take the regular folks too.


  24. Bush Tea August 4, 2015 at 8:54 AM #

    @ David
    You lost the Bushman boss….
    Who is it that is ‘generalising’?

    There is an old Bajan saying about wanting to be “in church AND the chapel too”…
    The problem with our Prost… oops.. “Tourism” is that we want to be in Church as an exclusive high-end destination where multi-billionaires flock …AND we also want to be a chapel for the hoards of riff raff…

    Shiite man…. DAT MEK SENSE TO YOU…?

    …so if you is a Bill Gates, would you be interested in paying Sandy Lane rates to end up on the same beach as your damn gardener …who staying in a two by four place in Silver Sands and catching the ZR to Sandy lane beach?
    In any damn case, what does it profit us to have poor-donkeyed tourists flocking here to hog the damn ZR …and then AC gotta get work late?


    If we are into the Whor… oops “Tourism” business at the VERY least we should come up with a damn business plan that makes sense…

    Shiite man…. when you could have a wealthy fella like Lawson vex as hell and complaining bout the extra ‘ten cents’ he has to pay because he look like a rich tourist ….can you imagine how frugal the hoards of poor-donkeyed tourists are…that you and Adrian looking to encourage bout the place…?

    Wuh why wunna think the Sea-Cat woman does treat Old Onions so bad…?
    De poor fella ain’t got two five-cents to rub together…..
    Think Sea-Cat foolish like wunna bajans? …
    OUT with the Onions …and IN with the whacker…. 🙂


  25. William Skinner August 4, 2015 at 9:51 AM #

    @ Bushtea,

    Well put. The leisure industry has been one of the fastest growing industries for the last decade but we cannot get our act together. All we here is what governments should do or could do but all the politicking and pseudo intellectua arguments cannot negate the fact that the tourism players were either napping or blissfully unaware of the trends. I maintain that after sixty years in the business, we should be more advanced in our management, marketing and product.


  26. lawson August 4, 2015 at 10:34 AM #

    Grand kadooment fell far short in the climax of the crop over season from a tourist point of view, can you import some of those little shriner cars for next years parade if there is one,


  27. David August 4, 2015 at 10:50 AM #

    The point here is after many years of managing a hospitality industry we have to engage in ‘talk’ about the KPIs we need to manage the industry.

    No Insights!


  28. David August 4, 2015 at 10:58 AM #

    @Dee Word

    Why do you think Butch hustled for concessions?


  29. Artaxerxes August 4, 2015 at 11:17 AM #

    @ Bushie

    You are correct, Bushie.

    As the popular saying goes ………. If you pay (or advertise) peanuts, you will get monkeys.

    For example, if you were to examine the French Caribbean Island of St. Barthélemy. Similar to Barbados, St. Barth’s economy is highly dependent on the tourism industry. This island is considered to be the most elite and expensive destinations in the Caribbean, as well as an ultra exclusive hangout for celebrities.

    St. Barth’s hotel rates averages about US$835 per night, which is approximately twice the average for the Caribbean region. Although the island is expensive, it has set and maintained a standard that caters specifically to the rich and famous.


    However, it is interesting to note that, according to a January 16, 2015 article on the “Price of Travel” website, Barbados is listed at # 9 of 32 of the cheapest Caribbean destinations by price.


  30. Hants August 5, 2015 at 12:48 PM #

    Barbados getting more expensive for Canadians.


  31. David August 7, 2015 at 6:49 AM #

    A word of advice for Senator Sandiford-Garner: is it necessary when welcoming a cruise ship to our shores to make the point abut the passengers spending money here? Just welcome them and wish them a good time. If they are having a good time they will spend the USD100 dollars average spend or a little more. No need to state the obvious, it comes over as we are begging.


  32. Hants August 7, 2015 at 12:01 PM #

    Re developing Speightstown is a great idea as is this initiative.


  33. Bush Tea August 7, 2015 at 12:46 PM #

    @c David
    “….. it comes over as we are begging.”

    …and we are not?


  34. lawson August 7, 2015 at 1:01 PM #

    BT the problem isn’t the extra ten cents its what you are starting to get for it, the place is looking shabby the people are acting shabby and the music is sounding shaggy, But I do agree 4 beers for ten bucks is asinine we tourists easily could pay more but its the locals that want it creating an immediate alcohol problem, a future medical problem an economic problem for the sellers needing volume to survive but now you are stuck with it because how do you keep a boy down on the farm once he has seem paris. come out of the fish bowl now and again


  35. David August 7, 2015 at 2:41 PM #

    @Bush Tea

    It is about fair exchange read value for money. We should be confident if tourist move around the island there is enough on offer to encourage a sale.


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