The Adrian Loveridge Column – Global Tourism on the Increase

Adrian Loveridge

Adrian Loveridge

When I repeatedly hear that tourism is a fickle and unpredictable industry that cannot be banked on, apart from notably exceptions due to conflict situations, it is difficult not to express a wry smile. According to the latest United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Barometer destinations across the globe welcomed 956 million international travellers between January and September this year. This is 34 million more than in the same period of 2015, representing a 4 per cent increase.

While you have to look carefully at the percentage increases, for all sorts of reasons, the big winners were Egypt – up by 30 per cent, Vietnam by 36 per cent, Korea by 34 per cent and Japan by 24 per cent. European destinations like Spain, Hungary, Portugal and Ireland all experienced a double digit growth. Eight other markets reported substantial growth, notably Argentina – up 27 per cent, Spain – up 19 per cent, India – up 16 per cent, Thailand – up 15 per cent, perhaps surprisingly Ukraine – up 15 per cent, Ireland – up 12 per cent and Norway – up 11 per cent.

Clearly these increases are not all price driven. Norway for instance has never, at least in modern time, been perceived as a lower cost or exceptional value-for-money destination. You also have to carefully study the main source markets. Visitors from China were up by 19 per cent, United States up by 9 per cent, Germany up by 5 per cent, United Kingdom by 10 per cent and France by 3 per cent. Due to their current economic and sanctioning challenges, it comes as no surprise that Russian visitors were down by 37 per cent.

Commenting on these figures, the UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai, stated that ‘Tourism is one of the most resilient and fastest-growing economic sectors, but it is also very sensitive to risks, both actual and perceived. As such, the sector must continue to work together with Governments and stakeholders to minimise risks, respond effectively and build confidence among travellers’.

Adding ‘No destination is immune to risks. We need to increase co-operation in addressing these global threats, namely those related to safety and security. And we need to make tourism an integral part of emergency planning and response’.

As we, on Barbados, enter the critical winter peak season, with seemingly impressive increases, from many of our source markets, it is imperative that we use our strengths of climatic attraction and added airlift to help take us out of the grave economic situation, the country faces.

Ultimately it is only our people who can make us the most desirable place to visit, by keeping the country clean, safe and welcoming. Of course our Government has an overall responsibility, but if we really want to ensure a better future for our children and grandchildren, every citizen both corporate and individual has to play their part. And while the overall cost of a holiday to Barbados may never be cheap, I urge our businesses, especially in the distribution sector, to look long and hard at their overall level of added price margins.

If we wish to stand any chance of maintaining the United Kingdom as our largest source market, with every indication that holiday packages for Brits will cost up to 20 per cent more next year, due to currency devaluation, oil prices and geopolitics, then you only have to look at comparative product costs online for identical purchases here and in the UK. It is almost impossible to accept that this can be justified by relatively low shipping costs and that an element of price gouging is not taking place.


  • Robert Mac Donald

    The statement that tourism is fickle and unpredictable , I am sure did not apply to the industry as a whole but rather to particular destinations. As an example, You state that Egyptian tourism is up 30%, but omit how far it has been down prior to this.
    You are correct in stating that the tourism industry, the government and the people must work together to maintain and increase tourism.
    This latest fiasco involving the South coast sewage plant is an example of the opposite.
    Barbados is not alone in that swimming areas sometimes have a high e-coli count after rainfall. It would appear to me that in a country whose main source of revenue is tourism they would be doing the upmost to ensure this does not happen.
    It would appear the government does not want the public nor the tourists knowing the quality of the water in which they swim. A question, who tests the quality of the water where locals and tourists swim? If someone does, where does one see the results ?
    I have been visiting Barbados for some time, but after this latest event, I am seriously rethinking my winter plans for the future. In closing, I was not impressed by the Tourist Associations response or lack of in this matter.
    Best Wishes


  • Bernard Codrington.

    Mr. Loveridge I agree with most ,if not all, of your analysis. More importantly is the security and welcoming features of Barbados tourism product. We all have a part in determining these.Barbad0os will always be an expensive destination but in most tourists’ mind it is value for money. Keep up the good work.



    A simple symbol of Mother Nature
    Swaying in the cool breeze
    Welcoming all on her branches
    Birds, insects, animals and pests
    She makes no distinction
    She smiles, stays and sways
    In a monsoon, tsunami or hurricane
    Absorbs all raining ices
    Even from a Polar Vortex
    Laughs at the rumbles
    Of your Frost Quakes
    And still without malice
    Keep her calm and waits
    For all to come back
    To its usual self
    And I keep on swaying
    In the soft cool breeze.


  • In Barbados, tourism professionals should be straining every muscle to keep the island clean and safe. They are not successful at doing that, but even if they were successful, it would not be enough.

    We need to spread the word that marketing our tourist attractions is necessary but not sufficient. To achieve efficiency gains, we need our trade associations to constantly teach best practices to our bottom-of-the-barrel tourist industry managers and their employees. And we need dramatic improvements in local agriculture so that crucial inputs can be delivered reliably, at low cost, to tourist hotels and restaurants.

    Complacency is killing us.


  • The ACs are yardfowls.

    Alvin do you read the Auditor General reports that span both administration’s? There is a good measure to judge improvement. Almost all of our state agencies have been late producing audited financial including the NIS.



  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Adrian Loveridge:

    “Adding ‘No destination is immune to risks. We need to increase co-operation in addressing these global threats, namely those related to safety and security. And we need to make tourism an integral part of emergency planning and response’.”

    That’s a rather serious warning about the absolute need to implement measures to ‘safeguard’ the safety and security of visitors to Barbados.

    Weren’t Bajans told earlier this year that fingerprinting (or some other form of biometric recording) of visitors and locals alike) was a necessity if the country is to maintain its record of a safe and secure destination for all people visiting its shores?

    As a big player in the tourism market, what is the status of the project to introduce biometric monitoring of visitors to the Island?

    As a well-seasoned hotelier, the safety and security of your guests ought to be paramount.


  • Wunna so lucky. More free advertising.

    I here watching America’s got talent.

    Simon Cowell just said he is going to Barbados for Christmas.

    The millions of viewers watching the show just heard that Simon went to Barbados last year and is going again this year.


  • December 15, 2016

    At the end of last month, China published a detailed 16-page document, “China’s Policy Paper on Latin America and the Caribbean”, which sets out a new approach to relations between the Americas and the world’s second largest economy.


  • It’s risky to develop a strategy for attracting Chinese tourists based on gambling and horse racing facilities in the region.

    Chinese, even rich Chinese, have a well-deserved reputation for being value-conscious. Why would any significant number of them travel halfway around the world at great expense to gamble in the relatively small, primitive facilities they would find?

    Wouldn’t beach activities, music, entertainment and golf be better ideas?


  • Chad you continue to amaze…

    Yuh mean that you REALLY think that such strategies are targeted at what is best for tourism..? ….as opposed to what best fits the hidden agendas of albino-centric policy makers…
    Do you know how much mulah can ‘leak’ from a casino project?

    What it there to pocket from cleaning up the shiite beaches?
    ….have you seen Pebbles beach lately…?
    Boss … you would be shame as shiite.


  • Bushie,

    It’s Christmas. I can’t be as cynical as you.


  • LOL @ Chad
    It is not possible to be as cynical as the Bushman ….unless you are privy to the things that Bushie knows….


  • @ Bushie,

    Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.


  • Hey “David”

    Could we get a little respite from the doom and gloom?

    Some Trini friends reminded me of parang so I want to get the ball rollinnn


  • @ Hants
    Best wishes to you and yours too …and to David and all the BU family.

    Bushie don’t really do the ‘Christmas thing’, …and ‘prosperity’ came with the adoption, but thank you kindly for your good wishes.


  • Perhaps somebody will be able to explain. Tourist arrivals reported to be up, spend is up by 8% BUT forex reserves declining. Why is the arithmetic not adding up?


  • @ David,

    I am guessing that most tourists use their credit card to pay for vacations.

    It is possible that some businesses have ways to enhance their overseas bank accounts.

    Therefore some of the money may not be part of Barbados’ “forex”,


  • Before I forget…… Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to David and the BU family.


  • David December 23, 2016 at 4:39 PM #

    If memory serves,we were also in this boat last year….everything up but reserves down……must be a new calculating method,the more you spend the less the economy gets.


  • David

    What about setting up a seperate post so we can wish each other……happy holidays/xmas/saturnalia or whatever……..Bushie has a noname one.

    Wishing Happy Holidays to you and all the BU family….with a warning to diabetics,watch your food&drink and type&quantity.


  • I have tried to point out after Sandals were granted unilateral tax and other concessions available only to them that I believe there has been a growing trend for others to keep revenue offshore and only bring in what is essentially needed for operations costs.


  • Even before the concessions to Sandals the industry was known to be leaking foreign exchange. It is something the central bank and other authorities have turned a blind eye. Also it is known that many in the distributive sector do same by establishing forwarding companies in Florida mainly. We like it so.


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