The Adrian Loveridge Column – Cushioning a Weak Canadian Currency

Adrian Loveridge

Adrian Loveridge

Is there any creative way that our tourism planners can turn the current depleted value of the Canadian Dollar against its US counterpart into an advantage?

One means could be by enticing the massive United States populace who live along the border to use a Canadian airport to reach us. Take for instance flights with WestJet out of Toronto to Barbados are priced from CAD$495 in April which in US Dollars is only $342 return, including all taxes and add-ons or Cad$520 (US$359) with Air Canada.

Using Detroit with a population of 3.74 million (urban area) as an example, it’s a road distance of 219 miles or about 31/2 hours driving. The lowest fare that I could find for identical dates from Detroit (DTW) to Barbados with American Airlines was US$777 return and involved a near 15 hour journey time southbound and 18 hours northbound with very length layovers en route in Miami.

Many of the Pearson Airport area hotels offer very affordable accommodation, which include long stay parking options and at an effective discount of 30 percent, despite a three hour drive, a direct nonstop flight must be a real incentive.

Go onto a website called ParkSleepFly and an overnight hotel room for two persons and up to 8 days free parking and included airport shuttles is as little as CAD$108 or around US$37 per person.

There may also be other ways we can cushion the currency exchange rate disparity. Last year we tried to launch an attractions, car rental and activities version of the re-DISCOVER restaurant initiative, specifically aimed towards the Canada market. On presentation of a Canadian passport and the voucher it would have given a 10 per cent discount on direct bookings at many of our tourism partners. Sadly after approaching over one hundred industry service providers, only two showed any interest at all. Each participating entity was asked to contribute $50 towards the cost of conception and implementation, so without a minimum number, it made no economic sense at all.

Maybe it is time to re-visit the concept.

One very encouraging aspect is that our incredibly loyal Canadian frequent visitors do not appear to be abandoning Barbados from all the comments I have read in the various social media outlets. They are largely adjusting their visit by reducing number of stay nights, eating out less and reducing the duration or skipping a rental vehicle altogether.

According to all the figures quoted in the press, we are generally doing well in tourism and it is absolutely critical to maintain the momentum that we do everything possible to protect critical airlift especially in the softer summer months.

Personally, I am convinced the private sector tourism industry on Barbados can do a great more in co-operative marketing projects. The number one objective should always be to enhance and spread destination awareness. Ultimately for our visitors it is their choice where they will stay and what they will spend on island.

Working with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, the support of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, together with the publisher of the Thomas Cook in-flight magazine, we collectively were able to put together nine pages of partner advertising in the next edition, which I understand is record breaking for any single destination. Over the next three months more than 2 million UK travellers flying on every flight operated by the airline will be reminded of what we have to offer.

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18 Comments on “The Adrian Loveridge Column – Cushioning a Weak Canadian Currency”

  1. Anita Caito January 25, 2016 at 12:50 PM #

    I live in Western New York/Buffalo area…It is only an hour and a half ride to Toronto….Air Canada flights round trip in May 2016 are $365.00…i’ll be booking and driving up. We have done it before and stayed overnight in a hotel with free parking for 2 weeks, but when Jet Blue started flying out of New York City the cost was comparable and we didn’t have to take the drive up to Toronto…(the drive up is easy, coming home after a beautiful vacation in Barbados is HARD….lol) But with the weak Canadian dollar it is definitely worth the drive again. Granted Western New York only has a population of I believe 1.5 million, but it is still something for tourism to push to tour agents.


  2. NorthernObserver January 25, 2016 at 12:54 PM #

    This isn’t the first time the Loonie has been in the $0.70US range. But who is driving from Detroit? You obviously haven’t encountered the Ambassador Bridge post 9-11? And then where do you park your car? Plus this not like the Buffalo to Toronto trip, where you have 3 crossings and only a 1hr trek, which is mighty valuable in the winter months with uncertain weather.
    The Toronto airport has the highest landing fees in N.America, so its not like being ‘cheap’ is ever likely.


  3. lawson January 26, 2016 at 7:39 AM #

    Our dollar is terribly low, now is the time for you to come visit us. See why everyone wants to move here . The snow, the skiing and skating a winter wonderland.


  4. Adrian Loveridge January 26, 2016 at 11:59 AM #

    You can of course check online the estimated wait time in either border directions (updated hourly) and currently there are NO delays in all 19 lines open via the Ambassdor Bridge. And thats why I mentioned the hotel overnight with up to 8 days free parking. The price quoted was for up to 4 persons in a room so even cheaper than indicated. I wish people would not deliberately mislead.


  5. Hants January 26, 2016 at 12:11 PM #

    The BTMI must work hard to get the moneyed Canadians to visit Barbados. There are still a lot of rich Canadians in the major cities.


  6. NorthernObserver January 26, 2016 at 4:03 PM #

    Yep. And guess what, all the bond rating agencies were giving junk rated mortgage tranches AA ratings back in 2006-7. They can open 129, the bridge only has 3 lanes, which they run on a 2/1 basis depending upon time of day. I would expect them to be great now, because the mid west to east had a massive storm, who is driving into or out of that? But because I drive that route monthly, it can be very slow.


  7. Due Diligence January 27, 2016 at 1:24 PM #

    @Hants January 26, 2016 at 12:11 PM #

    The BTMI must work hard to get the moneyed Canadians to visit Barbados. There are still a lot of rich Canadians in the major cities.

    BTMI work hard? What BTMI?

    When is the last time you saw BTMI promote Barbados as a tourist destinations to Canadians in any media, newspapers, TV, etc.

    What does BTMI Canada do?

    The only time I see Barbados promoted is in the occasional Sandals Barbados newspaper ad.


  8. Hants January 27, 2016 at 2:29 PM #

    @ Due Diligence,

    The BTMI used to have very hard working Bajans in their Toronto office. One of their strategies was to put on “road shows”. i.e. they sent their reps to cities in Canada that had “potential”.

    I don’t know if they were “successful” but other businesses have been successful using the “road show / targeted” strategy.


  9. David January 28, 2016 at 2:14 AM #

    Let us hope strike action at the airport is averted.


  10. lawson January 28, 2016 at 8:01 AM #

    If strike action is not averted the tourists should be informed they may have to wait one or two minutes longer than usual ….just kidding ….the last time I went through was the quickest in 35 years. It seems that there may be light at the end of the tunnel in tourists coming now is not the time for either side to screw it up.


  11. Gabriel January 28, 2016 at 2:35 PM #

    According to the latest published figures Hong Kong had 28 million visitors in 2014,London had just over 17 mn,Singapore the same and Bangkok 16mn.Barbados had just over 1mn half of whom were cruise ship half day visitors,and Sinckler,Worrell,Stuart and Billy jumping through hoops.Lawd cum fuh yuh wirl.


  12. David January 28, 2016 at 3:56 PM #

    So LIAT has removed the surcharge on fuel? What will it mean for intra regional travel?


  13. Gabriel January 28, 2016 at 5:13 PM #

    The fuel surcharge removal is welcome however as Adrian would agree inter island leisure and commercial activity would redound to the benefit of the governments if the burdensome taxes are removed from ticket sales.It shouldn’t require a Butch nor a Maloney to make that point to PM’s who have a knack for business opportunities to benefit everybody.There was a time when Barbados did a ripping trade in one day tours to neighboring islands.Remove the taxes and free up air travel.


  14. Top Vacation Spots January 28, 2016 at 6:20 PM #

    “When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” — Susan Heller


  15. Hants January 29, 2016 at 9:51 AM #

    BARBADOS’ CONTINUED HEAVY DEPENDENCE on tourism is putting it at risk of “consistent economic stagnation”.


  16. Hants January 29, 2016 at 10:06 AM #

    @ David, Jamaica has an area of 4, 411 square mile to Barbados 166 square miles and 9 times the population.


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