The Adrian Loveridge Column – Millennials May Prefer Cuba

When you look carefully at long stay visitor arrival figures over the last twelve years from the United States to Barbados, at least until this year, it’s frankly a dismal picture. […]In 2003 we recorded 129,326 American stay-over visitors.

We peaked in 2011 with 142,414 and then by the end of 2014 dropped to the lowest annual figure during the last 12 years with just 118,508*. So the increasing arrival figures in 2015 now coming out of that market can only be heralded as impressive and all those who have driven the remarkable growth should be sincerely congratulated and especially within the short time span.

These things certainly do not simply happen by chance. They are down to personalities, building relationships, imposing enlightened policies, smart partnerships and a whole lot of hard work in the background. What prompted this subject, at this time was the recent Switchfly Inc., commissioned Harris Poll on how likely is it that Americans will chose Cuba as a vacation destination and some of the results are fascinating. For those of you unfamiliar with Switchfly, it describes itself as ‘a global technology company that powers commerce and loyalty point redemption solutions for the biggest names in travel, ecommerce and financial services’. The conclusion of the sample poll according to Switchfly’s CEO, Daniel Farrar was that ‘In terms of marketing Cuba to customers, travel providers should focus on millennials’. The exact definition of ‘millennials’ or Generation Y varies depending on which website you study, but I found the most useful one at among many other relevant facts states that it is someone born after 1978.

Millennials currently represent more than one quarter of the overall US population standing at about 83.1 million persons falling into this ‘category’ or grouping. To me, the most thought-provoking aspect to the report was that as the average American traveller matured in age, they were less likely to pick Cuba for their holiday. This was particularly notable where 48 per cent of men and 51 per cent women over 65 years indicated they would never go to Cuba.

As a tour operator for 12 years, our own experience was that in the vast majority of cases it was the female gender who decided which destination was selected. Our marketing and promotional strategy took that into full account, right down to the choice of images and where any advertising was placed. Just maybe that has changed over three decades, but I seriously doubt it.

When the gradual opening-up to USA visitors started, there was endless speculation of how detrimental it would be to the remaining tourism dependent Caribbean. Perhaps we are not considering all the decision making components sufficiently, prior to the impending reality of unrestricted travel from the United States to Cuba. Should we be better studying the demographics as to what is driving increased interest and bookings for the present selected few?

*source – Barbados Statistical Service


23 Comments on “The Adrian Loveridge Column – Millennials May Prefer Cuba”

  1. SITH November 23, 2015 at 7:23 AM #

    When travelers realize there is virtually no internet in Cuba they will have tobe prepared to cut themselves off from the rest of the world during a stay. Internet in Barbados is pretty dam good.

    Here is a link to Cuba’s stone age internet.

    For those who have online investment and banking Barbados has very good internet speed and reliability. Cuba is not even 2g. They are hoping to have improvement by 2020.


  2. chad99999 November 23, 2015 at 11:07 PM #

    Cuba may not offer the Internet now, but it will in a few years. Barbados suffers every time a new Caribbean destination opens up in a big way to North America because most of our resorts are overpriced and our beaches are second rate. The Dominican Republic has siphoned off a huge share of the North American traffic and Cuba will be next. Plus Puerto Rico is now bankrupt and scrounging for every tourist dollar it can find. It is time for the government to move forcefully in persuading hotel owners in particular to innovate and cut costs. The hotel industry is plagued with third rate businessmen and managers.


  3. Well Well & Consequences November 24, 2015 at 1:56 AM #

    Canadians love Cuba, it has been their favorite destination for years.


  4. lawson November 24, 2015 at 6:30 AM #

    How many times can we go round the same tree , the key to Barbados survival is safety, increase police force, clean the place up ,don’t lose your identity


  5. Green Monkey November 24, 2015 at 6:33 AM #

    English politicians and hangers on love Barbados and find it a good place to “get away from it all,” if only it would banish pesky Daily Mail reporters from its shores, it could be heaven on earth.

    ‘Tatler Tory’ gets away from it all in Barbados: Ex-Cameron aide at centre of sex and drugs scandal is holed up with his family at £1,000-a-night hotel – as civil war breaks out among his party back home

    The man at the centre of the scandal engulfing the Conservative Party – ‘Tatler Tory’ Mark Clarke – is getting away from it all in Barbados.

    Clarke is on a sunshine Caribbean break with his wife Sarah, their two children, and an older couple believed to be his mother and her husband.

    They are staying at a £1,000-a-night villa at the elegant Coral Reef Club – a favourite of former prime minister Tony Blair, with stylish villas and suites spread over 12 acres of gardens, and spectacular sunset views over its immaculate tree-lined beach. But while his family were enjoying breakfast on Saturday morning, Clarke was pacing around on his phone.

    Read more:


  6. David November 24, 2015 at 6:33 AM #

    Agree with you Lawson. Tourism is fickle at the best of times but like you stated an enduring characteristic of Barbados has been our discipline as it relates to maintaining law and order. Unfortunately given current statistics we have to relinquish the claim.


  7. lawson November 24, 2015 at 6:46 AM #

    I swear to god David I have seen a marked difference on the island since CNN came, With all that negativity in your face everyday, its no wonder kids can lose the values their parents have .


  8. David November 24, 2015 at 6:58 AM #

    The authorities are thrilled to have multiple planes on the tarmac at Grantley Adams, mortgage two generations by building Sam Lords, Whydam etc, no similar investment in the product and security. We just don’t get it!


  9. lawson November 24, 2015 at 7:30 AM #

    They are heading for all inclusives everywhere, the little guy will be left out in the cold nobody will leave the resort


  10. David November 24, 2015 at 7:51 AM #

    Agree with minister Estwick when he says the government must run projects concurrently to have the greatest impact on the economy.


  11. Sargeant November 24, 2015 at 8:40 AM #

    Don’t want to change the conversation but things in the ME just got a bit warmer as Turkey shoots down Russian fighter.


  12. Hants November 24, 2015 at 11:08 AM #

    Looking good.

    “Approximately $2 billion will be invested in the local tourism sector between 2015 and 2019.”


  13. Due Diligence November 24, 2015 at 11:36 AM #

    $2 billion to be invested in the tourism sector?

    Does that include the investment in the reconstruction and expansion of the Grantley Adams International Airport and Pier-head Marina project to be to be funded by China preferential loans, using China materials and labour?

    More mortgaging future generations to the puppet (China) now pulling the strings.


  14. Due Diligence November 24, 2015 at 1:21 PM #

    @chad99999 November 23, 2015 at 11:07 PM #

    ……..”Barbados suffers every time a new Caribbean destination opens up in a big way to North America because most of our resorts are overpriced and our beaches are second rate. The Dominican Republic has siphoned off a huge share of the North American traffic and Cuba will be next”…………..

    It is not just Cuba and DR and PR that are siphoning of North American traffic.

    Call me old fashioned, but I still read the print media, as well as electronic media,
    for information.

    Both Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail have twice weekly Travel sections, filled with advertising and stories about far away tourist destinations.

    Sandals/Beaches flexes its marketing might with full page ads in these newspapers two or three time per week; which occasionally include ads for Sandals Barbados, including one in the Globe on November 21. (each full page ad sells for about$15/20,000)

    Apart from the Sandals Barbados ads, the name Barbados is rarely seen in these newspaper Travel Sections.

    On the other hand competing destinations closer to BIM than Cuba, DR and PR are highly visible.

    For the past few months St. Lucia Tourism ( has had full or half page ads 2 or 3 time per week in the Star and Globe, of course featuring the Pitons. In the Globe Travel section on November 21, St. Lucia had a full page co-branded with Air Canada Vacations featuring 9 properties, including Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort and Spa.

    The front page story the November 21 Star Travel Section, titled “Plane-Spotting in Paradise” was about St. Maarten/St Martin, and included more St. Maarten coverage on page 8, 9 and 10.

    DD is no marketing expert, but thinks that BTMI or BTPA or BHTA should consider using some print advertising to increase, or just hold onto, traffic.

    I know there are those who will say “What do St. Lucia or St. Maarten know about marketing.”

    But surely Butch has it figured out. And he only has 240 rooms to fill in Barbados.

    Do they really think that if someone tries to book into Sandals Barbados and finds it is sold out, they will then look for another Barbados property. DD thinks it is far more likely that they will look for another Sandals property.

    BTMI or BTPA of BHTA really should learn from Butch’s advertising strategy, and do some advertising in the print media.


  15. Adrian Loveridge November 24, 2015 at 2:14 PM #

    DD, You have to look at the sources generating business for Barbados in different markets.
    While I am not currently up-todate with Canada, ‘we’ have a ten page Barbados feature being carried in the Thomas Cook in-flight magazine plus a number of independent ‘ad’s including a full page re-DISCOVER ‘ad’ which will reach over 2 million UK travellers on every one of the Thomas Cook flights to 57 destinations over the next three months.
    Don’t forget not a single other hotel on Barbados has received the same concessions as Sandals and probably never will. Of course at an interest rate of 2.5 per cent from China then maybe many more hoteliers would be happy to construct new hotels.


  16. millertheanunnaki November 24, 2015 at 2:53 PM #

    @ Hants November 24, 2015 at 11:08 AM #
    “Looking good.
    Approximately $2 billion will be invested in the local tourism sector between 2015 and 2019.”

    Why are you swallowing that propaganda bullshit ejaculated to take your mind off the pending collapse of the NIS?

    Does the figure of $ 2 billion include the 1,806.0 (bds$m) i.e. $1 billion, 806 million
    promised in 2013 to be spent from 2014 to resuscitate the collapsing economy?

    Here are just some of the projects the same administration promised in August 2013 to undertake to kick start the economy:

    Upgrade of product ($50 million Hotel Refurbishment Fund – NIS/Central Bank from 2013).

    Push for 1,000 new rooms in the next 3 years (Almond Beach, 4 Seasons and Silver Sands Hotels) – $800.0m
    (estimates for both Almond Beach and Four Season Hotels) $950.0 (bds$m)

    Cruise Pier Project Financing by January 2014. $306.0 (bds$m)

    Pier Head Project (BTII to raise short term financing to start project by January 2014 while pursuing low cost long term financing)

    Housing and neighbourhood upgrade ($33.0 million Exmouth Housing Complex).

    Roads (Bridges) ($125.0 million road project with 3 major road builders).

    Cane Industry Project (US 250 million 2013-2016)

    BNOC longer term initiative with rum producers $520.0 (bds$m)

    And this is what the MoF reiterated in December 2013 to justify the dismissal of thousands:

    “In 2014, from the government’s side, we are set to initiate a set of major public sector investments either directly on our own or in PPP arrangements. We are confident that if such investments are matched by investments from our domestic and foreign investors that 2014 will truly begin a substantial turnaround in the Barbados economy. Now is the time to forge ahead with those plans and I encourage our colleagues in business to match us in this regard.
    In this way we will create newer more sustainable private sector jobs to assist in redeploying those whom we now have to release from the employ of government to the private sector.”


  17. Due Diligence November 24, 2015 at 4:11 PM #


    How generous of the government to release those 3,000 people to the private sector.

    They can now get construction work building the Wyndham.

    OOPS – forgot those jobs are going to Chinese.


  18. Due Diligence November 24, 2015 at 4:24 PM #


    That is good to hear that the name is out in front of the Brits, but surely someone, beside Butch, has to advertise in North America.

    Of course I recognize that Sandals can afford to have an advertising budget because its other costs are being subsidized by the taxpayers.

    When can the taxpayers (and the rest of the tourism industry) expect to learn what incentives have been given to Wyndham to induce it raise its flag in St Philip.


  19. Adrian Loveridge November 24, 2015 at 4:50 PM #


    as I understand it Wyndham will only brand and manage the hotel, just like the Barbados Hilton. As it is yet another taxpayer owned hotel, the concessions can be anything the Government decides on. The private sector has to again scrabble to play catch-up based on a completely different paradigm.


  20. David November 25, 2015 at 4:56 AM #

    Castle of hope


  21. Due Diligence November 25, 2015 at 1:23 PM #

    Wyndham Press Release’s-newest-five-star-multi

    Look at how thick that agreement is.

    I guess that in the interest of full disclosure and transparency the contents will be revealed to the owners of the property (taxpayers) any time now.


  22. Exclaimer November 27, 2015 at 5:30 PM #

    Nothing surprises me these days concerning the Caribbean, her leaders and her tourist industry. The whole region seems to be up for sale. Here are two related stories which will shock and awe you simultaneously.


  23. David November 27, 2015 at 6:01 PM #


    We are selling our birthright for the almighty greenback instead of using our brain cells to create solutions to support an affordable lifestyle.

    On 27 November 2015 at 21:30, Barbados Underground wrote:



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