The Adrian Loveridge Column – 100 million Dollar Budget for Tourism

Adrian Loveridge

According to media reports on The Estimates, the amounts of BDS$87.7 million has been awarded to the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) for the fiscal year 2017/2018 and BDS$8.6 million to the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA).

At first, certainly in the case of the BMTI these seem like very large amounts of money, but when you put it in absolute perspective, it really only equates to average spend per long stay visitor of around $154 and that takes absolutely no account for the net financial contribution of the cruise passenger and crew contribution.

For some obscure reason the Barbados Statistical Service no longer posts arrival figures and other critical tourism information on their website, so the industry is largely left to speculate about the hard facts and figures. Second guessing is not helpful.

2016 is a classical case at hand and if you troll through our various media sources, quoting prominent political figures, long stay arrivals for last year are stated at anything from 610,000 up to 631,520. Also missing from the picture to show if these figures injected by Government are reasonable and sufficient in relation to the amount of taxes, net VAT earnings and foreign exchange generated!

The taxpayers contribution also does not take into account the enormous amount of money, tens of millions of dollars ploughed into the promotion and marketing of both the individual product and destination by the private sector, this despite the outstanding and yet unpaid VAT refunds due to the sector.

Often forgotten too, is the massive support given by the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) through corporate Barbados, as in the case of our re-DISCOVER initiative, making the critical difference whether the promotion is ongoing and remains viable at all.

To the TDC’s further credit, their audited accounts are on the website for all to see at the end of each financial year.

The other question that has to be asked and I think sufficiently explained is exactly how the budget of the BTMI and BTPA is broken down and what it is spent on?

What proportion is devoted to administration, salaries and operating expenses for instance?

During the short time I served on the board of the former Barbados Tourism Authority, I recall seeing some audited accounts, but these should be a matter of public record, accessible on a website, so that every industry partner and the taxpayer can scrutinize them.

Of course there are areas of specific non-disclosure like the exact amounts ‘given’ in route support to named individual airlines, but I am sure there could be some blanket figure, clearly identifying these sensitive and sometimes controversial payments.

What has any Government to fear with this information being more widely available if it helps strengthen the overall contribution to the national economy and helps makes the tourism sector stronger and more viable?

As we rapidly approach the end of the peak winter season, every person, whether in the private or public sector, worth his or her salt will be focusing on just how and what we can collectively do to maintain arrival numbers during the long eight summer months.

Perhaps there has never been a more important time than now, since independence, when we need a flourishing tourism industry?

14 thoughts on “The Adrian Loveridge Column – 100 million Dollar Budget for Tourism

  1. Violet Beckles CUP Plantation Deeds from 1926-2017 land tax bills and no Deeds,BLPand DLP Massive land Fruad and PONZI on said:

    The Best way for Barbados to see how they really stand is for Tourist to stop coming to Barbados for 6 months to a year, A sea port and air port economy is not the cake , its only the icing, Icing Protects the cake from the spit when blowing out the candles ,

  2. Has there been an official response to the report from economist Stacia Howard that there is massive leakage of foreign exchange. When we consider the budget for tourism is almost 100 million the exercise is akin to the BWA leaking 50% of the water into the ground after paying 100% pumping cost.

  3. Adrian: If the government is not transparent on its’ expenditures on other budget items , what makes you think this would be any different ? I find that in a mature tourist market like Barbados that the government is contributing to the airlines for “route support ” is pathetic unless it is to an airline commencing a new route and even then only for a fixed period of time. I understand that tourism is one of the main industries of Barbados, however it must be market driven and not artificially maintained unless on a short term and on a financially sound basis.

  4. It is one thing to be operating a brothel as a national business, …..but when you start paying the johns to come, ….and measuring success in terms of the NUMBERS of johns that you have managed to attract, then some kind of re-thinking is needed.
    Even the amateurs in Bush Hill would be smart enough to reject such a ridiculous business plan.

    The only viable and respectable ‘Tourism’ business would be one in which a country develops itself via its citizens, its infrastructure, its administrative structures, its education and its overall advancement ….to the point where visitors are attracted to observe, to be inspired, to learn from, and to savour that country’s successes….with the citizens.

    This is fundamentally different to our current plan of spending huge sums of money to lure large numbers of pleasure-seeking-parasites in the hope that they may leave some crumbs behind, …and this, in an arrangement where even larger parasites (like Sandals) are draining resources from the host country – resulting in downgrades rather than advancement….

    This is the epiphany of brass bowlery.

    • @Bush Tea

      Any sensible metric is to use the average spend number as well as what the accountants refer to as operating leverageleverage i.e. how cost is tranated to operating income.

  5. What pick up garbage??? ,doesnt it just float away. FFFing visitors they are trying to do away with all the bajan traditions

  6. In todays age of the internet with its many appendages twitter,fb,whatsapp,etc,etc why do we still need these gargantuan statuatary bodies for…..bodies such as these end up feeding off of themselves or in other words they create work to justify their existence.

    Our future lies with Airbnb type operations that are mostly self generating providing the product is kept up to date and to international standard.

  7. Barbados hot hot hot. BTMI where are the TV ads? People tired of shoveling snow

    NEW YORK – Forecasters put the US East Coast from New York City to Boston on a blizzard watch starting as early as Monday night, with authorities warning residents to prepare for the possibility of widespread power outages, road closures and flight disruptions. – See more at:

  8. A huge budget to pay top officials and organizations to resuscitate a dying industry is surely destined to fail.

  9. Of my ten closet friends and family who traveled this winter one went to dominican one went to Hawaii two went to Cuba and six went to Florida i was the only one going to Barbados Unless they start advertising more and clean up the product I cannot see how the economy is going to get better

Leave a comment, join the discussion.