The Adrian Loveridge Column – Colombian Connection

Adrian Loveridge

Adrian Loveridge

Last week we had an unannounced visit from one of the Lonely Planet travel editors, Alex Egerton, who is based in Popayan, Colombia. It brought back fond memories of a week that I spent there many years ago and what a scenically beautiful and tremendously diverse country Colombia is.

Alex had used the relatively new direct twice weekly flight from Bogota to Barbados and was busy ensuring that all the information about to be placed in a new upcoming Caribbean edition of the travel guide was correct.

I understand that a marketing team from Barbados went to Colombia to help stimulate the route, but frankly I have been surprised by the seemingly lack of trade delegations in the opposite direction, especially knowing the incredible range of products including fruits, agro processing and coffee, the country produces. Is the lack of interest due to the fact that most of our current distributors are foreign owned and already have embedded inflexible sources of supply?

Over our near thirty years on Barbados, it has been one of the most widely discussed topics that the majority of our visitors cannot understand. Why on a tropical island with meaningful rainfall for at least for up to eight months of the year, is there is usually such a miserable range of fruit and vegetables available? Even when certain items are available the price is often prohibitive when compared to the areas the majority of our visitor’s herald from. Certainly, the favoured few involved in tourism can also without restriction import just about anything they need in dry or refrigerated containers.

So with Colombia now just three hours away and with air freight capacity on these Avianca flights, why have we not seen more interest from their suppliers and manufacturers?

When looking at flight availability, certainly for this month, there is also a huge deterrent to filling seats in the south-bound direction. For travel on identical dates during October the return fare from Bogota to Barbados is US$437, but from Barbados to Bogota it is US$773 return.

So can we realistically expect to fill two flights a week each with a 100 seat capacity Airbus 318 planes per week? Bogota is one of the 30th largest cities in the world and if you include the Capital District and surrounding Metro area it boasts a population of nearly 11 million. Add the incredible networking hub Avianca operates, making many other cities within South and Central America become well within one day’s overall travel.

Due to its Andean location, Bogota is over 8,300 feet above sea level with temperatures ranging year round between 15 and 20 degrees Centigrade during the day, but drop dramatically at night to between 6 and 11 degrees Centigrade, with March being the hottest and December the coldest.

My own thoughts would be to target certain markets and these would notably include kite and windsurfing together with other sports, members of the diplomatic corp, as Bogota has 55 foreign embassies alone and they actively look for accessible safe destinations.

Another very attractive option, especially during the winter months, would be to join our home porting smaller ships like Star Clippers and frequently visiting Seabourn for a Caribbean cruise and stay programme.

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6 Comments on “The Adrian Loveridge Column – Colombian Connection”

  1. chad99999 October 10, 2016 at 4:03 AM #

    I have a great deal of disdain for globalization. It has enriched East Asia but impoverished millions of workers in North America and Europe. It has overwhelmed the developed world with penniless immigrants. And it has spread lethal African diseases around the world.
    It has also facilitated the international drug trade, in which Colombia has a major role. So why would the tourism officials of a country like Barbados be increasing our ties to Colombia? Are they looking for trouble?


  2. Vincent Haynes October 10, 2016 at 7:52 AM #

    A combination of Solar power and Greenhouse technology will allow us to produce most things found anywhere in the world…..this is known for a long time …..the reason for not doing it is the same for not importing from the Andean region…….The Merchants.


  3. David October 10, 2016 at 9:17 AM #

    Brazil didn’t cut it, let us try Colombia.



  4. wiki October 11, 2016 at 6:39 PM #

    barbados is lost in the fog of corruption, customs service is corrupt, keeping bajans down.goods dont clear in timely manner raising prices for all. time to get it under BRA, it may not help.bribing rampant


  5. Peltdownman October 13, 2016 at 8:32 AM #

    Colombia is the worlds largest producer of cut flowers, especially carnations, with the growing conditions and soil around Bogota practically perfect for the task. They also produce some very high quality textiles and in many ways it is a very sophisticated country. I am also surprised that there have not been more trade delegations from there, as their export promotion agency, Proexpo, is very pro-active, and could teach us a lot. It is a beautiful country and I would recommend a visit to anyone. The gold museum in Bogota, displaying gold artifacts from the pre-Colombian era is mind-boggling. I know that a trade delegation from Barbados visited there quite recently, but the no nothing about the outcome. Just sayin’.


  6. Exclaimer October 17, 2016 at 2:07 AM #

    “Does this destination deserve my money?”

    That provocative question was posed recently by Doug Wallace, a travel writer and contributor to the Toronto Globe & Mail, one of Canada’s leading daily newspapers. Wallace wasn’t focusing attention on Barbados alone. Instead, he was referring to the situation in at least 20 Caribbean tourism destinations which are economically dependent on the travel and hospitality industry for their prosperity.

    Several factors caused him to raise the issue. The first is the existence of anti-homosexual laws in almost every CARICOM country, Barbados included.


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