The Adrian Loveridge Column – Six Month Tourism Review

Adrian Loveridge

With well over half the year over it’s probably about the right time to look carefully at our long stay visitor arrivals for the first six months of 2017, which at this stage are ‘preliminary’. Virtually every market is up with the two exceptions of Brazil and Germany which showed a decline of 47.8 per cent and 6.1 per cent respectively when compared with the same period last year. United States up 17.8 per cent, Canada up 12.6 per cent, United Kingdom up 0.8 per cent, Other Europe up 11.5 per cent, Trinidad and Tobago up 6.2 per cent, Other Caribbean up 4.1 per cent, Other Central and South America up 9.1 per cent and Other up 23.4 per cent. Overall, up 8 per cent with an increase of 25,549 visitors.

Kudos to all involved, in both the private and public sector.

Disappointing is the United Kingdom, but not surprisingly, considering the initial ramifications of Brexit especially in terms of currency devaluation, the erupting political chaos and a higher than anticipated inflation rate for this year.

As many of us believe, numbers are not everything and alongside the arrival numbers, I would like to see the average duration of stay and spend to put everyone’s efforts beyond a shadow of doubt. What really concerns me still is that we are getting further and further away from providing a truly value-for-money ‘product’ when compared to our competition and what appears, relentless emerging holiday destinations.

As an industry, our single biggest failure has been to convince Government (any) of the damaging effect piling on tax and after tax on the only sector that has proven its worth and capability to drag the economy out of its current calamitous situation.

Perhaps the biggest challenge this year is restoring the growth of the United Kingdom market. The largest percentage of Brits are forced to travel during summer school holiday times, when the cost of an identical holiday can cost double than during a normal term period.

Over 92,000 British parents were fined during the academic year 2013/2014 according to the bank group Santander, with fines levied by local authorities totalling almost GB pounds 6 million.  Travel search site Kayak have reported a major decline in Brits travelling to the United States this year, or as they describe it ‘Brits are falling out of love with the USA in a major way’ an obvious partial result of Sterling/Dollar values, but my guess it goes further than that. Searches for flights to Tampa and Orlando are down 58 per cent, Fort Lauderdale down 57 per cent, Miami down 52 per cent, Las Vegas down 36 and Los Angeles down 32 per cent when compared with last year. While this does not bode well for inbound US tourism, it may just free some long haul airline capacity, allowing for increased flights to other destinations like the Caribbean.

With Norwegian Air finally getting greater route approval to operate flights from the UK to the United States, is this now the time to step up discussions with them?


  • All markets would eventually come to be adversely affected by the overvalued US dollar as well as Barbados’ creeping tax grab. The numerical gains reported this year will vanish when local hosts and hotels have to stop offering margin-eroding specials. Our promoters will need to hit a vein of high-end market travellers but these visitors stay in properties that are typically highest in forex leakage. The balance of payments should be the focus. Has there been any improvement here?


  • Sandals Antigua announce SHOCK closure forcing British holidaymakers to cancel dream trips

    SANDALS Antigua have this week announced an unexpected three month closure starting September 20th – a move which the Antiguan Prime Minister branded “an act of hostility” and which has left holidaymakers having to cancel planned trips.

    By Lauren O’Callaghan

    PUBLISHED: 10:15, Sun, Jul 23, 2017 | UPDATED: 10:46, Sun, Jul 23, 2017


  • Some more than others based on how our economy is mixed/structured.


  • The spend is the main question to be answered,not the arrivals as Adrian correctly alluded to.

    The CB reports an increase for 2016/17 but what does it show for these 6 months?

    The other question was the’16/17 increase in spend the norm for the amount of arrival increase?


  • Like most topics we (sheeple) allow the political directorate to shape the narrative. Where are our academics and independent analysts, media practitioners et al? Of course we should be measuring spend to maximize performance of our tourism plant based on its optimum capacity.


  • Just back from St Lucia this past week and there is concern there that Sandals is developing too large a footprint on the island. The brand is poised to have too large a hand in government decision. Are we also moving in that direction?


  • Sandals responds to Antigua resort closure outcry

    The plans of hundreds of holidaymakers have been thrown into disarray after Sandals announced it would be closing its Grande Antigua resort for three months.


  • @David July 24, 2017 at 9:51 AM

    Really sorry about the battle in Antigua between the govt and Sandals, and hope there is not too much economic/financial fallout.
    However, one would expect Sandals Barbados to be one of the beneficiary of the rescheduling of some of the folks originally book for Sandals Antigua.


  • Bernard Codrington.

    @ David at 7 :17 AM

    Do we really? Did not the commenters on BU point out these downside risks to the concessions granted to this company and others like it? I am sure there are no surprises here for many of us. Once bitten twice shy. A leopard does not and cannot change his spots.


  • @Bajan in NY

    What goes around comes around.


  • @Bernard

    Yes indeed.


  • Bajan in NY

    Last I heard sandals has 280 rooms…..I suppose in our parlous state every little bit helps.


  • “Last week the Antigua Observer reported that the hotel chain had demanded a waiver on food and alcohol duties but the government had refused.”

    Not so certain that a problem in Antigua, translates as a plus for Barbados.
    If ‘succesful’ in Antigua, other islands may see similar actions being taken by local Sandals.


  • successful*


  • The concerns expressed about SANDALS are valid and have been discussed in this forum ad nauseam.

    However, why are there are not any similar concerns about Sandy Lane?

    Recently, I saw Sandy Lane’s notice in the Nation which stated it was their intension to apply for a work permit for a non-national to be appointed as Human Resources Director, because they did not receive any suitable applications.

    That hotel is now advertising for a Director of Security.

    Why are the tourism authorities not questioning why a hotel of Sandy Lane’s grade seems not to be able to attract suitable applicants for any mid to senior level management positions, but does not have any problems finding housekeepers, gardeners, security guards, bellmen, or pool & beach attendants?


  • Patrick Nehaul has been warning us over the years…

    Cuba receives three million tourists in less than seven months

    Published on July 26, 2017


    Tourists in Cuba. Photo: Yander Zamora

    HAVANA, Cuba (ACN) — A press release from the Cuban ministry of tourism reported that on Tuesday, July 25, Cuba reached the three million tourist mark, 75 days faster than last year.

    The figures translate in a 24 percent growth in the number of tourists, continuing the upward trend the country has experienced in the last few years.

    According to Minister Manuel Marrero, the main source markets are Canada, United States (despite the travel restrictions), Spain, France, Italy and Germany.

    In the first six months of 2017, Marrero reported to parliament that revenues reached $1.5 billion, a nine percent increase compared to last year.

    The increase in arrivals made the ministry of tourism change its estimates for 2017, from 4.2 to 4.7 million tourists, and set the goal for 2018 at 5 million.


  • millertheanunnaki

    @ David July 26, 2017 at 5:26 PM

    Time for young Bajans to learn Spanish to “Up De Ting” and head to greener tourism shores like some of their great-great grand parents.

    Isn’t it so funnily true the saying that what goes around comes around?

    Cuba’s tourism loss in the 1960’s was the start of the Eastern Caribbean (including Barbados) tourism expansion and development. Now the wheel is about to turn almost full circle.

    There goes any chance for the Hyatt erection.


  • @Miller

    To repeat, we have been sounding the threat to our product in this part f the world but we recall the MoT Sealy shrugging off the concern. We will see.

    On Wed, Jul 26, 2017 at 9:51 PM, Barbados Underground wrote:



  • Canadian boy, 7, stranded in Cuba after falling ill on vacation


  • The “Queen” of Barbados Rihanna meets French president Macron to address education goals.


  • All inclusive resorts contribute less to the economy than regular hotels and Guest Houses.

    The majority of tourists in all inclusives stay in the resort.

    It stands to reason that concessions should be given equally to all.


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger

    The government’s reputation of being dumb is spreading..

    “Off course
    region measuring tourism impact all wrong, says regional expert

    Added by Emmanuel Joseph on July 27, 2017.
    Saved under Business, Tourism
    A well-respected regional tourism expert is describing as dumb, some of the crucial strategies being adopted by Barbadian and Caribbean tourism policymakers.

    In a forthright address to Barbadian hoteliers this morning, Principal Partner in the Bedford Baker Group Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace pulled no punches as he accused regional governments of not understanding what tourism was really about.

    In his no holds barred keynote speech to the annual general meeting of the Intimate Hotels of Barbados (IHB) at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (LESC), Vanderpool-Wallace, a former Bahamian minister of tourism, accused Caribbean governments of measuring tourism in a way that made no sense.

    “We all know that one of the dumbest things we do every single day is to measure tourism by head count. That’s a habit we’ve been in for a long, long period of time because that’s the way we compare ourselves to other people. It makes no sense whatsoever,” the former Secretary General of the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) said.”


  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger


    PM alleges Sandals and other hotels ‘creaming off the top’
    “July 28, 2017 Headline 16 Comments

    Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Gaston Browne (OBSERVER media photo)
    Prime Minister Gaston Browne is again accusing Sandals Resorts International (SRI) of financial misdeeds – this time, of concealing millions of dollars in profits from the government of Antigua & Barbuda.

    Yesterday, SRI’s Regional Public Relations Manager Sunil Ramdeen told OBSERVER media that a response to Browne’s allegations would be forthcoming today but that one could not be made before the time of going to press.

    Browne alleged the company had been “creaming off the top” when reporting its earnings from bookings and said his administration is prepared to sue SRI if it comes to that.
    “I want to put them on notice that we reserve the right – I’m not saying we are going to do it – but we reserve the right to pursue Sandals International in court for manipulating their figures,” the prime minister declared.

    The prime minister claimed that “most of the hotels in Antigua are doing the same thing” – blanketing other hoteliers with the same allegation.”


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