The Adrian Loveridge Column – Shifting Tourism Gear

Adrian Loveridge

While it was branded as a Raffles property, my wife and I were fortunate enough to have stayed at the resort on Canouan Island. Quite frankly for me, it was one of the most enjoyable holidays experienced in my decades of being involved in the tourism industry. Their room rates at the time were way above our budget, so we booked through a company called Luxury Link which offers an auction option, where lower than normal prices could be bid.

The concept goes back to something we have been trying to convince many of our restaurants over the years, notably revenue control -now widely practiced in all areas of the tourism industry. It’s not rocket science. Clearly there is no profit in a vacant room, unoccupied dinner table or empty airline seat and so on.

The initial attraction of staying at Raffles Canouan was driven by not totally believing that the legendary service delivered by other Raffles properties, around the world could be replicated on a tiny island of a fraction just over five square miles in the Caribbean Sea, with all the challenges that brings. While there were clearly some small deficiencies when directly comparing to the Asian locations, as mentioned before, from our standpoint it was a wonderful stay.

Raffles had sent a number of staff to their Singapore location to give on job training and they returned with such enthusiasm and beneficial experience that it rubbed off to members who were not so fortunate to have travelled.

After Raffles withdrew the property rebranded under the name of Pink Sands Club and now another Asian based luxury hotel group, Mandarin Oriental, has taken over the management and will re-open on 1st November 2017. The current facility only has 26 suites and twelve three and four bedroom villas all with ocean views. The villas all have private pools and there are onsite restaurants, an outdoor infinity pool health club.

According to the press release Mandarin Oriental will also operate the new Residences which are scheduled to open near the hotel in 2020.

Private jet transfers will be offered from Barbados, St. Lucia and the newly opened Argyll airport on St. Vincent.

Some may fear that this will be added competition to our own iconic Sandy Lane Hotel but I seriously doubt it. If anything it will add another reason to travel to the Caribbean and help fill those first and business class seats, at critical higher revenue, which airlines essentially need to help maintain and grow airlift.

Hong Kong based Mandarin Oriental currently manage truly luxury awarding wining hotels in 30 locations across Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East and the Americas. This is their first venture in the Caribbean.

I will leave readers with a direct quote from their website which seems to sum up the company’s stated objectives ‘Stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and beyond, Asia is steeped in spirituality and Oriental hospitality. From the Temples and Buddha’s of Thailand to the cherry blossom of Japan, the sights never fail to delight and traditional lifestyles meld with the modern in the bustling cities’.

11 comments

  • Bajan Free Party/CUP-PCP.Violet Beckles Plantation Deeds from 1926-2017 land tax bills and no Deeds,BLPand DLP Massive land Fruad and PONZI

    Maybe you learned something…

    Liked by 1 person

  • Adrian does not bother to tell us exactly what made his Canouan experience so enjoyable, but for me, it hardly matters.The idea of offering luxury tourism in the midst of tropical Third World squalor is, I believe, fundamentally flawed and unsustainable.

    Barbados has above-average tourist resources, but its shortcomings are obvious. The beaches and roads are too narrow, The local population is too inattentive to aesthetics. There is little understanding of proper land use planning, proper landscape design, proper maintenance of buildings and machinery, and so on. Everything looks careless, untidy or unkempt.

    The British have kept Sandy Lane going, but how long can that last? I would like to see an adjustment of our ambitions. Go for middle class tourism, based on affordable accommodations. Abandon the $1,000-per-night suites that only the elite one-per-centers can afford.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Under the topic of “little understanding of proper land use planing” , who could have ever allowed a large quantity of old rusty shipping containers to be placed immediately next to Pebbles Beach that overlooks Carlisle Bay. What a ugly site.

    Liked by 1 person

  • will it be branded as Mandarin Hotel?

    Liked by 1 person

  • Leslie, YES! as I understand a Mandarin Oriental – the first in the Caribbean.

    Liked by 1 person

  • According to an old article in the Nation, the consulting team for the Tourism Master Plan recommended a series of new investments to help revitalize the tourist industry.

    The recommendations included: a Fight For Freedom Interpretive Centre ($35 million); a Discover Barbados Centre at the Bridgetown Port ($30 million); a new sugar museum ($10 million); a road signage program ($7.5 million); make Oistins a heritage centre ($4.5 million); construct air bridges at the Airport ($3 million); train safety and security personnel ($3 million over ten years).

    Other proposals were: obtain Category 1 status for the Airport ($1.3 million); enhance the Bay Street corridor ($1.25 million); refurbish Morgan Lewis Mill and environs ($1.2 million); develop a High Visibility Tourism Awareness Caravan ($1 million); create an investor package for a conference hotel ($500 000); and assess heritage sites ($400 000).

    How many of these ideas have been implemented?

    Liked by 1 person

  • millertheanunnaki

    @ chad99999 August 30, 2017 at 12:02 PM
    “The recommendations included: a Fight For Freedom Interpretive Centre ($35 million); a Discover Barbados Centre at the Bridgetown Port ($30 million); a new sugar museum ($10 million); a road signage program ($7.5 million); make Oistins a heritage centre ($4.5 million); construct air bridges at the Airport ($3 million); train safety and security personnel ($3 million over ten years).

    Other proposals were: obtain Category 1 status for the Airport ($1.3 million); enhance the Bay Street corridor ($1.25 million); refurbish Morgan Lewis Mill and environs ($1.2 million); develop a High Visibility Tourism Awareness Caravan ($1 million); create an investor package for a conference hotel ($500 000); and assess heritage sites ($400 000).

    Chaddie, come on man, we expect better from you! You are capable of making a much higher level of ‘critical’ analysis.

    Can’t you see that list of recommendations is just a sea of wishy-washy thinking by a bunch of academic jokers?

    What the hell are “a Fight For Freedom Interpretive Centre ($35 million); a High Visibility Tourism Awareness Caravan; an investor package for a conference hotel ($500 000); and assess heritage sites ($400 000)”?

    Just a bunch of academic clowns performing at the Bajan Tourism circus to justify the millions paid in consultancy fees to the fatted calf kith and kin and political cronies feeding from the trough labeled ‘Full of easy taxpayers’ money’.

    Who will be financing these airy-fairy pie-in-the-sky projects? The taxpayers and NIS contributors with their Mickey-mouse dollar ponzi scheme in the making?

    The only one worthy of any meaningful consideration is the long overdue plan to make GAIA eligible for classification as a Category 1 international airport in order to add value to its chances of being privatized and operated by some ‘specialized’ foreign entity.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Letter: The arrival to revenue ratio of tourists to Jamaica is not sustainable

    Published on August 30, 2017

    Dear Sir:

    It is this basic economic misalignment that has seriously placed the Jamaican economy in another round of crisis as Chinese-funded infrastructure linked to tourism development won’t have the future revenue streams to support its development. We are dealing with a very clever development partner that has effectively conned the government of Jamaica into accepting a very long term view of the economic benefits of their investments while they reap the current or present value of the benefits in current dollars. It is essentially a debt trap we have found ourselves in again.

    letters_icon.jpg

    Even if tourism grows 3.6% on average for the next ten years the marginal cost to subsidize tourism growth in Jamaica would be far greater than the marginal returns, as increasing price pressures result in lower yields, which mean more devaluations. The fact still remains that, if the government does not incur any additional cost and the dollar remains stable, excluding the cost of the South-East Highway, it would take us some 30 years (2046) or three decades to recover the current level of public investments already made to attract and develop the tourism industry in Jamaica.

    By 2046 the total combined arrival population is estimated to be around 14. 7 million visitors that would be needed to recover the US$34 billion in net economic cost incurred to date. Obviously, to accommodate 14.7 million visitors the government will have to incur additional cost, which makes tourism development a tool of underdevelopment, especially when you consider the impact on the environment and the number of working poor it employs.

    Tourism development must be sustainable not only in economic terms but also environmentally and socially. A balance should be maintained between the degree of environmental degradation as well as the capacity of local infrastructure to support increased arrivals and the resulting population growth.

    Since 1990 Jamaican Governments spent some US$ 4.5 billion on tourism-related infrastructure projects which equal the same amount travel and tourism contributed in total to the GDP in 2012. The constant devaluation to attract tourism investments cost the Jamaican economy some US$32 billion overall plus the US$4.5 billion in tourist related infrastructure investments. So in total, it cost the economy US$36.5 billion since 1990 to attract an industry that only recently added US$2.2 billion in direct contribution to the GDP or US$7 billion in total.

    Over the same period, the Jamaican middle class was decimated, as manufacturing fell some 36% and mining 55%. The government needs to focus on lowering the cost of energy to revive our manufacturing base and rebuild the Jamaican middle class. Just think about it, if we invest and build infrastructure to support agriculture, energy and water resources management, we are indeed stimulating tourism investment but indirectly, because as we expand job creation and growth we would have reduced the crime rate and make people feel safer.

    The minister has defined the problem but has the wrong solutions: “Declaring that Jamaica’s tourism sector has under-performed, the portfolio minister, Edmund Bartlett, said value added earnings from tourism amounts to less than five percent of gross domestic product (GDP).” ~ Bartlett Unveils Five-Pillar Tourism Plan.

    Silbert Barrett

    Liked by 1 person

  • David

    I haven’t studied the economics of Jamaican tourism and cannot comment on the dollar figures used in that letter, but I am highly skeptical about the general argument that the Jamaican government has overspent on tourism infrastructure.

    People forget that ports, roads, airports, airliners, hotels and restaurants built for tourists are also heavily used by and for the benefit of local citizens and businesses.

    Similarly, devaluation and other economic policies that benefit tourism also benefit other export industries, including export agriculture.

    Liked by 1 person

  • MNK

    You may disagree with some of the specific proposals in the Tourism Master Plan but there is little doubt that Barbados needs new tourist attractions.

    The growth rate in arrivals has been sluggish for more than 10 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Chad

    We have no debate unless we are made aware the breakout of the infrastructure expenditure.

    Liked by 1 person

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