The Adrian Loveridge Column – Nothing Much in the 2016 Budget for Tourism

Chris Sinckler, Minister of Finance

Chris Sinckler, Minister of Finance

Politics aside, unless I have missed something, there is very little in the budget that will stimulate either domestic or international tourism. Maybe the ability to withdraw up to 15 per cent of registered retirement plans at the lower interest rate of 16.5 per cent tax rate will free a few dollars to encourage a Staycation break or entice more locals into our restaurants, but apart from that, what am I missing?

From a small business perspective the tax amnesty is welcome but the damage has already been done. For nearly three decades we have paid our land tax demands on time to obtain the 10 per cent early payment discount.

Not now however and the reason is simple. We have not received a due and payable VAT refund for over three years and while we have made repeated verbal and written requests to the Barbados Revenue Authority to contra the tens of thousands owed to us against the land tax dues, we still have not received any form of response. Yet another Government department that feels it has any obligation, whatsoever, to reply and be held accountable by the taxpayer.

The alternative open to us, was to take out an unsecured loan at the prohibitive interest rate of 12.25 percent annual interest rate to pay the land tax demand. So in reality we have lost the benefit of the early payment discount and are still faced with the daunting task of trying to find the additional (in our case) $8,000 plus that was added to our land tax bill to replace the Municipal Waste Tax.

It seems almost incredulous that the administration does not seem to understand that we as a destination are becoming less and less competitive in the global tourism market. Surely, they understand that despite the increased number of visitor arrival this has not directly related to a proportional increase in spending.

Another ambiguous area is ‘Amendment to the Tourism Development Act to allow the tourism sector to access waivers according to their capacity’.

Does this effectively mean, once again, the chosen few will only benefit, rather than impel the entire industry into growth?

And staying on the subject of the ‘mighty’ dominating the sector, it surely cannot go unnoticed by our local media, at least up until submitting this column, almost at the drop of a hat, that 600 employees can be dismissed on the pretence of upgrading a branded hotel property within the region with almost no accountability at all.

According to the Minister of Labour in that territory it is claimed that officials at the affected property ‘were demanding that the 600-plus employees they made redundant sign a deed of release in order to receive their redundancy package’ and describing this ‘move as illegal’.

In an article published by Tribune 242, The President of the union involved has now filed a lawsuit claiming ‘union bashing’ and ‘unfair dismissal’ Adding that he was ‘very, very disappointed in the government for allowing foreigners to come to the Bahamas and treat Bahamians like dirt’.

Of course, it could never happen on Barbados.


28 Comments on “The Adrian Loveridge Column – Nothing Much in the 2016 Budget for Tourism”

  1. Violet C Beckles August 22, 2016 at 5:50 AM #

    this is what happens when you trust and deal with crooks liars and scumbags of the DBLP government and their lawyers friends ,
    You all still do not listen and yet keeps bitching about the ending,More pain to comes as word games and hopes of short time JOBS before more fraud elections,, Better be looking to the GLOBAL RESET, The looming crash is to come as it always DOES,
    ,,,More pain to come as you wait for white tourist and black fraud crooks to run the country. Dont let on line lawyers and bag men stop you from thinking//

    Your money is not safe remove it from FIRST CARIBBEAN and other Caribbean fraud banks , Hold cash until the American elections has passed , It maybe a hard cold winter,


  2. chad99999 August 22, 2016 at 7:42 AM #

    I have long argued that small hotels are a mixed blessing for Barbados.
    While they helped the island establish its reputation in the 1950s and 60s, as a comfortable refuge for British and Canadian tourists (most small hotels back then were run by white Barbadians and expatriates), they are inherently inefficient because of their small size and limited capacity to keep abreast of technological and cultural changes.
    To extract the greatest benefit from the tourist trade, we need to connect the island to the marketing and patronage networks of international hotel brands and realize the economies of scale that large hotels can deliver if they are managed well.
    The alternative is to muddle along with small hotels whose owners, like our friend Adrian, are always complaining about taxes because they see themselves as perpetually on a financial precipice.


  3. David August 22, 2016 at 8:30 AM #


    What is your opinion to the info attached that one Group controls 29% of the 4 and 5 Star room stock?

    Didn’t the last government promote the small hotel, apartments and mum and pop operations to support CWC2007?


  4. Trevor Daniel August 22, 2016 at 10:59 AM #

    Damm it the tourism industry can’t get everything, we reaaly need to pump massive funds into the agriculture sector. You guys in tourism live large…my God!!!!!!


  5. Artax August 22, 2016 at 11:52 AM #

    chad99999 August 22, 2016 at 7:42 AM #

    “To extract the greatest benefit from the tourist trade, we need to connect the island to the marketing and patronage networks of international hotel brands and realize the economies of scale that large hotels can deliver if they are managed well.”

    @ chad99999

    To state many of Barbadian small hotels “are inherently inefficient because of their small size and limited capacity to keep abreast of technological and cultural changes,” is not a fair comment, unless you are referring to “guest houses.”

    As it relates to your other comment, as captioned above, many of the large hotels are associated with or owned by international hotel brands. Fairmont Royal Pavilion, for example, is owned by the international hotel chain Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. This hotel benefits from Fairmont’s reservations network, which is responsible for marketing all Fairmont properties. And as such, Royal Pavilion can boast of occupancy levels of above 75% during the “off season.”

    Similar sentiments could also be expressed about Elegant Hotels Group comprising of Tamarind Cove, Colony Club, Crystal Cove, Turtle Beach, Waves Hotel & Spa, The House and Daphne’s.


  6. chad99999 August 22, 2016 at 11:59 AM #


    There are always arguments for small business enterprises in the tourist sector because they sometimes have lower import leakages than large scale hotels. AirBnB, self-catering apartments, etc are fine, but they are not enough.
    Because there are so few large hotels, ownership is concentrated. As more large hotels are built, there is the opportunity for more diversified ownership.
    If we could only stop those annoying local activists/environmentalists/troublemakers who block developers from building new hotels that have the scale we need.


  7. Adrian Loveridge August 22, 2016 at 12:13 PM #

    Sadly, there are so many myths out there regarding small hotels. In terms of what really matters in guest satisfaction, which would influence guests returning 8 of the top 10 rated by TripAdvisor clients (who actually stay in the various properties) are classified as SMALL HOTELS. Only Crystal Cove (88 rooms) and Sandy Lane (112 rooms) make the top ten and despite all the rhetoric, after nearly three years Sandals has not moved above number 13.


  8. Vincent Haynes August 22, 2016 at 12:14 PM #

    David August 22, 2016 at 8:30 AM #

    The interesting thing about small vs large tourist product,is that when the doodoo hits the fan as surely as it will with little Bim,only the small ones will be found trying to survive as they have no choice,long after the big/brandname ones would have fled to greener pastures.

    I reiterate the point,take a look at Puerto Rico.


  9. chad99999 August 22, 2016 at 12:15 PM #

    Barbados has been a major Caribbean destination for more than 50 years. It’s great that Hilton, Four Seasons, Hyatt and others have launched projects here. But there are many, many more great North American and Asian hotel chains that have not yet done so. That is what is surprising to me.


  10. David August 22, 2016 at 12:30 PM #


    Like any business model one must manage risk. There is a role for small players in the mix.



  11. Adrian Loveridge August 22, 2016 at 12:33 PM #

    The Hilton would not have been built without taxpayers monies. There is no Four Seasons. Hyatt is being built for them to operate and the Chinese are funding Sam Lords Westin. And we all know that Sandals would not be here unless they received unilateral and unique tax concessions that not a single other hotel on Barbados has been able to obtain.
    When Elegant floated on the AIM their shares were UK Pound 1 each, now they are hovering around .69 pence. The other brands are not here because they cannot make money.


  12. Bernard Codrington. August 22, 2016 at 12:40 PM #

    Diversified share ownership to whom? Do you or any other Bajans have shares in these international hotel chains? Except through your private and public pension schemes? I.e NIS?


  13. Bernard Codrington. August 22, 2016 at 12:47 PM #

    Excellent response Adrian. We need to really study this fiction that Barbados needs international chains to grow income and employment in the tourist Industry.


  14. Passing thru August 22, 2016 at 12:49 PM #

    Adrian could you shed light on Robert Pitcher who the Nation often quotes on travel and tourism ? Pitcher is unknown in the business world he never attends Chamber of Commerce luncheon meetings. In what business is he engaged? The opinions from him tells a story of a buffoon a la Kellman. Its unfair to label somebody without background hence the question to you Adrian. Having said that Pitcher’s utterances leads to the conclusion he is a jackass. You have the final word Adrian.


  15. Colonel Buggy August 22, 2016 at 1:43 PM #

    The mere fact that the government is going to clean up the mountains of garbage strewn all across the island,is some big thing for tourism. No longer will travel brochures of Barbados have to be photo- shopped .


  16. abajanhowe August 22, 2016 at 2:38 PM #

    Seems like most of the contributors are agitating for Hyatt without mentioning the name and has some serious axes to grind with those who has a real vision for our future and the environment we live in.

    Forget for a change what those individuals might have done in the past and focus on the reality of what is currently happening and where we are going. Those who are searching for diversified share ownership, I will say more power to you and wish you good luck with getting such. Continue searching. You Just might succeed for your future family who might not even want to associate with their train of thought and what you are agitating for.


  17. abajanhowe August 22, 2016 at 2:50 PM #

    Remember when they were small hotels all the while and we were living well? Now that the big conglomerates are attempting to take over and the economy (not withstanding what is happening with the world) has taken a nose dive anyhow. We are overpricing ourselves and the way Chrissey is taking us we have to get on our knees.

    The Hilton owes us money and the Government meetings held there constantly just might be a quiet form of repayment, and just check on their prices.


  18. David August 22, 2016 at 3:03 PM #

    A good discussion point is that Sandals reservation system means a significant amout of the tourist dollars remains offshore. This is true for a number of our hotels where the payment system integrated with the booking engine terminates outside Barbados. Who can forget the response from Butch Stewart when Adrian asked him what % of the dollar stays offshore.


  19. Violet C Beckles August 22, 2016 at 3:26 PM #

    Trevor Daniel August 22, 2016 at 10:59 AM #

    Damm it the tourism industry can’t get everything, we reaaly need to pump massive funds into the agriculture sector. You guys in tourism live large…my God!!!!!@@

    Another voice , very good, it seems all the money is lined up white to white. In everything but the people, All they are to get is 250.00BDS payment as they get paid in USD$.
    As said before , we need to close the ports air and sea to see how the DBLP will think next, Got Bajan mind looking up for plane and standing at the ports looking to be fed. Pure MADDDNESSS


  20. Artax August 22, 2016 at 3:28 PM #

    David August 22, 2016 at 3:03 PM #

    “A good discussion point is that Sandals reservation system means a significant amount of the tourist dollars remains offshore. This is true for a number of our hotels where the payment system integrated with the booking engine terminates outside Barbados.”

    @ David

    You are correct.

    And your above comments reminded of the events that took place after Princess Hotels bought the controlling shares in Royal Pavilion and Glitter Bay Hotels. At that time, Princess Hotels’ reservations department was located in Miami and was responsible for receiving bookings for all the hotels in the Princess group.

    The new owners subsequently closed the reservations department at Royal Pavilion, made five “reservationists” (as they were called) redundant in the process and directed the marketing to their Miami location.


  21. Due Diligence August 22, 2016 at 4:26 PM #


    Who owns the nearly 3 acres on Browne’s Beach where it is proposed to build a hotel to be managed by Hyatt?

    Who will own the building(s) comprising the hotel to be managed by Hyatt, if it is built?

    Who will finance the cost of construction of the buildings comprising the hotel to be managed by Hyatt, if it is built?


  22. Cassie August 22, 2016 at 4:30 PM #

    Where is the holistic thinking?
    I hear no talk about leveraging the potential of accessing local/regional food input into the hotels. Surely the food import bill from hard currency exporters can be cut substantially by substituting local/Caricom food. This has the added benefit of generating employment in the agricultural sector.
    Why is there still no fast ferry service between the islands of the E.Caribbean? Not only will this facilitate cheaper transport for both regional and foreign tourists but also allow more access to regionally produced fruit and vegetables for the same tourist industry; let’s leverage our inherent strengths and therefore generate more local/regional value added!
    A fast ferry service will facilitate cheaper transport for Caricom nationals and reverse the reducing volume of Caricom travel caused by ever increasing LIAT fares.


  23. Artax August 22, 2016 at 5:03 PM #

    @ Cassie

    A Barbadian living in the USA is exploring the possibility of a establishing a ferry service between Barbados and a few islands in the first instance.

    However, surely you must remember how RedJet was “sabotaged” by regional governments in favour of the same LIAT that has the “ever increasing fares,” and more so by the government of Trinidad and Tobago, who were more interested in protecting Caribbean Airlines.

    At that time, T&T Transport Minister Devant Maharaj said the state-owned CAL was preparing to service the intra-Caribbean routes previously flown by ReJet. Maharajwas reported to have discussed the matter with Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, Ricky Skerritt (also Tourism Minister of St Kitts and Nevis) and the Tourism Minister of Barbados, Richard Sealy.

    “They are both in full agreement with CAL’s plans for flying the intra-Caribbean routes,” Mr Maharaj said.

    We must also remember what happened to the “Windward,” which used to sail between Barbados to St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Trinidad and Venezuela.


  24. ac August 22, 2016 at 5:40 PM #

    Unless i have a short memory the Hotels have received a substantial amount of taxpayers financial suppor over the years
    Seems like some peoples memory becomes clouded only when it comes to self interest


  25. chad99999 August 22, 2016 at 9:23 PM #

    I think Adrian and some of the other people on this thread are going off on all sorts of odd tangents.
    For example, I said that small hotels in Barbados are inherently inefficient. What that means is that as a group they have relatively high cost curves. I am not going to argue with anyone about this because I have seen three decades of accounting data that support this statement.
    Because it costs them more to deliver their services, small hotels are simply not as profitable as large hotels can be, provided they are properly run.
    Adrian’s answer to my argument is that small hotels have received higher customer satisfaction scores than the larger hotels. That may be so, but even if they are delivering higher quality services (and given the difficulty of measuring service quality, that is a big if), they are just not very good at making money. Moreover, it is often easier for small hotel owners to hide the money they make from the government than it is for large hotel owners , so the tax revenues from the small hotel sector have been pathetically small.
    A shrewd government is able to secure more benefits over time from large hotels than from small hotels.
    Incidentally, the record will show that I was arguing for large US-branded hotels long before I ever heard about the Hyatt project.


  26. Vincent Haynes August 23, 2016 at 5:19 AM #

    The Federal Maple transported us throughout the Caribbean..$ 48.00 in 1961….


  27. Colonel Buggy August 23, 2016 at 10:16 PM #

    Although many of us would like to see a ferry service between the islands,sadly at this venture we have nothing to trade with other Caribbean countries that would make a ferry service viable. Most of the trading,just as it is now , would be one-way. The old schooner system of sea transport paid its way due to the use of sails,and not todays high price fuels. How many Bajans would hop on a ferry to take a vacation in Dominica, St Vincent or St Lucia? or how many business persons would use a ferry when doing business between the islands. Viable, perhaps, if we were to run a ferry between Bridgetown and Miami………..
    Perhaps one day we will see that once talked about ”Macaroni Boat” ferry , a sea going warehouse, running between Port of Spain and Bridgetown , like James A Tudor’s trucks, and with some provision to accommodate passengers.


  28. Colonel Buggy August 23, 2016 at 10:29 PM #

    Here is another vessel that for a short while ran the islands, the MV Potomac, formerly USS Potomac . It was later parked up in the inner careenage for some two years, before it was bought , I believe , by Elvis Presley.


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