The Adrian Loveridge Column – Why is Barbados Concorde Experience Closed?

While it appears not to be public knowledge, I understand that The Concorde Experience is currently closed with no indicated re-opening date. Just at a time when many key tourism players are calling for additional attractions and activities to create an improved environment for increased average spend for both cruise and stay-over visitors.

While not privy to the circumstances of the closure, indications at least point towards financial challenges to keep the facility open and adequately staffed. My own thoughts are initially, until a full disclosure is made, that a significant sponsor should be sought, who can share the overall running costs. Sir Richard Branson immediately came to mind, who, with his various ventures, has demonstrated a clear commitment to the Caribbean.

Since commencing their first service to Barbados decades ago, Virgin Atlantic Airways has become the mainstay provider of airlift out of United Kingdom with flights from Gatwick, Manchester and a seasonal Heathrow winter service. My suggestion is to offer Virgin, space at the Concorde Experience to house an Upper Class exclusive airport lounge for processing and pampering passengers. Extended eco-friendly golf carts could provide transfers from the facility to the gate.

In 2020 (just months away) Virgin Voyages are expected to launch their first new cruise ship, named Scarlet Lady.

While it has been announced this vessel will home-port in Miami and initially operate 7 day Caribbean cruises, this will probably exclude Barbados, due to the distance. A second ship may be tempted to our shores, especially when you consider the airlift from the UK which in 2017 produced the largest number of cruise passengers. In any event, Sir Richard is on record as stating ‘we will have a big red Virgin Voyages ship coming to Barbados at some stage’. Again a dedicated Virgin cruise and fly facility housed at the Concorde Experience could give both the airline and cruise operator a distinct marketing advantage.

While some of us think of Virgin as an airline, in fact the group includes financial services, telecommunications, a radio station, train operation, hotels and holidays serving 53 million customers each year across 60 companies and is without doubt one of the most admired brands in the UK and across the world.

A newly formed enterprise, Virgin Loyalty Company will embrace all these interests and give consumers even more reasons for staying loyal to the brand.

This is just one suggestion and I am sure there are many more out there to help re-start this attraction, including amongst the tens of thousands of Concorde enthusiasts around the planet.

Such is the enduring interest in the plane, that a limited liability company was formed by a group of former Captains together with charterers and aviation fans called www.clubconcorde.co.uk  and have raised a mind boggling GB Pounds 120 million to put an aircraft back into the skies as early at 2019.

While this is probably not a reasonable option for ‘our’ Concorde, Paul Jones, the president of Club Concorde recently commented ‘ we had wanted to lease and restore a British Airways Concorde for display in London next to the London Eye, but this has not been possible, so again we are looking to France and a Concorde near Orly airport’.

Could they divert some of those resources to Barbados?

41 comments

  • Branson is a master self-publicist so that seems an excellent idea. Just don’t let him change the Concorde livery!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Robert MacDonald

    I am a tad confused, you make a strong case for retaining and having the Concorde Experience refinanced in Barbados. In your last sentence, you suggest that there is a case for selling it to interests who wish to display in London.

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  • Robert,

    quite the contrary – ClubConcorde have demonstrated they can raise substantial funds, so could we use their expertise to help re-open the Barbados Concorde Experience?

    I have heard a figure of GB Pounds 100 million quoted to make it air worthy again, so I doubt that it will EVER fly out of Barbados,.

    Like

  • So many issues to unpack here.

    1. Why has the Concord Experience allowed to fall into a poor state in a country that lacks places of interest to visit by locals and visitors? A case of lack of funds, negligence, what?

    2. What was the role of the tourism product inc setup to enhance the product experience in Barbados headed by Hall?

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  • Robert
    Not so.
    Resources directed to Barbados to restore and displace concord in Barbados. This is not possible in London so they are looking at doing it in France.
    Last sentence is suggesting doing it in Barbados instead.

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  • The other point is- are the traffic numbers available to have a sense the appeal the Concorde Experience has for the public? It is difficult to comprehend if it was a cash cow that it would have been allowed to close.

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  • Difficult to comprehend David? Look at who operated it.

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  • David,

    I think there are a lot of issues here including having no direct access from Grantley Adams International Airport. Passengers including in-transit ones, with time on their hands and many who do not even comprehend Concorde is there.
    I am not sure what became of the first 3 or 4 buses that were totally unsuitable for passenger tarmac transfers, until the airport board went out again and bought another 4 use-specific new ones.
    Last time I saw they were rotting away at the airport.

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  • The Concorde Experience was never a cash cow, other than for its constant eating of GOB Cash. If it was not for the GOB through the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc (BTI) and the repeated injections of cash then that attraction would have closed many years ago.

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  • @Kirk

    If it was not a cash cow what was done to make changed as Adrian has recommended for example?

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  • Why is sewage still being pumped in the ocean
    Tourist are niw expected to pay excess taxes. But asking them to swim in poop is unconscienable

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  • Did the folks running it ever pair up with cruise/tour companies to include it among the stops when touring? It is very difficult to have a standalone exhibit unless it is extraordinary.

    I toured it once for the curiosity factor.

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  • With all the poo flowing into Worthing beach and travelling from one end of the ocean to another
    These people talking about closing the Concorde
    What is more important poo flowing in the ocean beginning at Worthing beach which can cause a health threat to lives or closing the dam Concord

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  • @Sargeant

    What was your experience?

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  • @David
    It was 10 years ago and the tour guide ( a local entertainer whose name escapes me) was very informative. Can’t remember much of the videos but I was able to “fly” the simulator and somewhere off the East Coast of Bim there is a Concord in the sea :-).

    I still have the ball cap that I bought at the gift shop.

    Like

  • sirfuzzy (i was a sheep some years ago; not a sheep anymore)

    Maybe a (virtual Reality)VR component needs to be added to the Concorde (non)experience. You need to update your offering so the patrons leaving the (non) attraction will give it some positive free PR .

    The govt need VR. It is also essential cause we may be needing this as it comes to the garbage collection with or new sorry second hand trucks. Cause in the VR world every ting plus Tom Dick Gary Jane and Joan does work like it should. Lol

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  • Mariposa.

    Poo was always pumped into the sea at needham point four the south coast ant off trevor’s way for the Bridgetown from the time each plant was put into operation.
    the only person that has become sick from it is you – in your head or was that a birth defect?
    I repeat.
    the poo that flowing into the closed worthing beach is the effluent from the south coast plant that would normaly pumped into the sea out in needhams point.

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  • Let's Not Remember the FAILED DLP

    Sometimes when private sector players partner with government, they don’t always need or even want a profitable project or business. They just want the government as a partner…………….that has benefits.

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  • I can understand why one may want to establish a tourist attraction near the London Eye considering the number of tourists. Can the same be said for the airport? Most people want to spend as little time as possible at an airport. Yes, it is true that the Concorde will never fly from Barbados again but quite possibly could be shipped to the UK.

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  • Oh well keep pumping. Until mother nature respond.hard ears won’t hear
    Soon uuh would feel

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  • Good
    Now stop with your uninformed poo and try to stick to the topic and make a positive contribution ( if it is possible you can). if you cannot then shut poo trap to hell up.

    For 10 yrs under DLP it was being pumped into the sea and you never advocated against it

    For the past two years it was being pumped into the sea, the same unclosed Worthing beach with both locals and tourist bathing in it, and also coming up into the streets and affecting both locals and tourists.

    You didn’t find it to be unconscionable when three minister bathed in the same sea and kept it opened. but now it is closed an the public told the truth you have sudden become an advocate! One that does not know half the poo you are talking about.

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  • pieceuhderockyeahright

    @ Adrian Loveridge

    A good article and a good suggestion to get it back on its feet by soliciting the help of Sir Richard Branson.

    Let me suggest something else concerning this matter

    When Folkestone Marine Reserve and Museum opened 40? years ago it was deluges by bajans who came in droves to experience that park.

    That initiative was killed by Iris Bannochie but I will not spend too much time on that item.

    What I wanted to say is this.

    I would find a piece of land next to the ABC Highway in Warrens or Hothersal and get the US Authorities to airlift the aircraft in sections using some Chinook helicopters to transport and the reassemble the aircraft in a central area as a highly viewable easily acceptable more affordable Bajan attraction

    I would beef up that facility with a number of new attractions and then I would sell the entire facility to the Bajan public by whatever means the incestuous Barbados Stock market would facilitate.

    So, in addition to Tourists being able to see it, we bajans can access it all year round.

    But Mr Loveridge, I is jes an ole foolish black man, a Myope, who does wear aluminium over my head and not one of Mottleys Though Leaders like Ambassador David Commissiong.

    So forgive me commenting pun your article.

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  • pieceuhderockyeahright

    @the Honourable Blogmaster your assistance please with an item and unaccustomed compliment for Adrian Loveridge

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  • The past govt pumped s..hit into the ocean and everbody said it was wrong and hollered and scream
    However now present govt does the same all eyes and mout should be closed
    Bro yuh full of sh.iit
    Bro dont give a dam who did it wrong is wrong
    Furthermore how much longer
    Yuh need pushing head first into Worthing beach Duffus

    Like

  • pieceuhderockyeahright

    The reason you have to disassemble it is because it can’t be driven or flown there and it does not weigh four cents.

    https://www.globalaircraft.org/planes/concorde.pl

    Like

  • Past government pumped poo into the sea – kept the beach opened and try to fool the people that all was good. in the mean time poo was all over the streets on the south. stench in the air

    Present government pumping poo in the sea – closed the beached to the public and working on fixing the out fall.

    I know you cannot see a difference between the two.

    Like

  • At this point in time with the poo problem, where do you suggest that they pump the poo?
    If not into the sea. then it goes into the ground and there is an increased possibility of contaminating the drinking water. Is that what you prefer? that nature take in course on land than in the big sea?

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  • Skyfly@skyfly.com

    I could be wrong, but I understood that British Airways still maintains ownership of our concord and they set up a minimal preventive maintenance schedule (which we are required to perform in order to have the right to display it here) in order to preserve the aircraft in as good a non-flying condition as possible.That being so they probably have to be consulted if we wanted to make any significant changes to the current display set up.

    I really can’t see Mr Branson building a Virgin Lounge around his competitors aircraft, unless perhaps we were to let him paint the tail red, but BA would no dout have a thing or two to say about that, l:m sure.

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  • Agree it does not make good business sense for Virgin to be associated with the recommendation as proposed. However, it does not rule out others vested in the sector from getting onboard.

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  • At one stage I might have agreed with you, but look at the current ownership of Virgin Atlantic – Delta – 49 per cent – Air France/KLM – 31 per cent – Sir Richard – just 20 per cent

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  • @Adrian

    The ownership is mixed but defending the brand that is BA remains.

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  • i’ve always contended that the Concord Experience has been located in the wrong place. Many visitors holidaying in Barbados ,or any other country for that matter, tend to keep far away from their incoming airport, as it gives them the feeling that they are on their way back home. And after an end to a vacation on the island when the visitors book in at the airport, their minds are set in a homeward mode,not on visiting another exhibit,no matter how handy it may be.

    Like

  • Colonel Buggy is 100% correct….. move it from the airport …. “pieceuhderockyeahright” made the best suggestion……….. or why not just put it on the side of the ABC (near the airport) under a big piece of Perspex and everyone can see and say “wow!!!” Every tourist would talk ’bout it when they get home… free publicity for Bim!

    Like

  • Harrisons Cave underwent remodeling. St Nicholas Abbey is building a railroad. These tourist attractions aren’t easily accessible. The Concorde is a part of island history, so why not combine it with the Barbados historical museum at the Garrison. There’s plenty of land there, and if done right could fit into the landscape. It would be more easily accessible, add value to the venue, and give the tourist more bang for their buck. Or keep it where its at, and move the historical museum into the same building and including their exhibit in the tour. I can see rubberneckers driving the ABC highway and the havoc that would add to that road!

    Like

  • Piece Uh De Rock Yeah Right

    @ RaceHorse

    ammmmmmm….why would they rubberneck again?

    ohhhhhhh i see!

    Because i said move the aircraft it was going to be put next to the road WITHOUT A HANGAR!

    Okay i get you now….steupseeeee and maybe while it is being moved we should leave the wheels up by the airport with the hangar that it is in.

    You people CAN AND WILL NEVER BE SALESPEOPLE.

    this is why Iris Bannochie killed the underwater park because IT WAS NOT FOR THE BAJANS it was supposed to be for the seasonal tourists who has Disney World and that renown aquarium place in Miami i forget it name.

    Why not put it at Long Beach dere is land out there too.

    Steupseeee….

    Like

  • Put it where everyone can see it out in the ‘open’ …. stop trying to making it into a ‘cash cow’ …. it’s better as a free advertising magnet unique to Barbados where everyone from the Brits, Yanks, Russians, Chinese to the Guyanese, etc. will say… “boy, ya see dat amazing Concorde in Buhbados by the side of de road?”

    Like

  • Who ran this attraction most recently? I cannot find much online, but Knew GEL ran it initially, the location in close proximity of one of their catering kitchens. The idea I would imagine was to combine an attraction with a venue which could be rented for functions. But GEL seems to have systematically exited the attraction business, they also had the zip line in St.Thomas.

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  • I would not advocate putting the Concorde by the side of the road, daily we see too many broken down Transport Board buses occupying such positions.
    Racehrse suggested the Garrison. The Concord would probably fit perfectly on top of that monstrosity with the giant Broken Trident.

    Like

  • Maybe stripping the Concord and using some of it nuts and bolts and screws and whstever pumps it might have can help in replacing the rusted old parts atvthe seage plant
    One can bet that the care and money spent to build the Concord was that of optimum and top of the line quality
    Maybe if govt get lucky there mighy be a couple bolts that can be useful towards repair of the sewer system

    Like

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