The Adrian Loveridge Column – Increase Tourist Spend Required

While there has been enormous negative feedback mostly through the social media by repeat and first time visitors to Barbados concerning the imposition of several new taxes, it may not all be bad news.

The decision to ‘blend’ the former Barbados Tourism Product Authority into the Ministry of Tourism could enable additional resources to once and for all systematically identify and licence all accommodation offerings to ensure they meet every essential requirement for health, safety and liability.

As the vast majority of visitors arrive by air, it will also mean that in many cases those visitors who choose the Airbnb type of accommodation will be directly contributing towards the marketing of the destination through the second airline departure tax or airline travel and tourism development fee, collected in the price of the airline ticket.

In June last year the Prime Minister announced ‘it is anticipated that this measure in a full fiscal year will realize $95 million. $75 million of this amount will go to the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., and Barbados Tourism Product Authority and the remaining $20 million will go towards regulation of tourism, civil aviation and our shareholder responsibilities to LIAT’.

In addition to the second departure tax, there will be a shared accommodation levy which is expected to raise $8 million, a room rate levy of $47 million and a Direct Tourism Service (DTD) levy of $3.9 million.

Hopefully the quoted $8 million Shared Accommodation Levy will go a long way to finally regulate and identify every individual lodging provider and ensure they meaningfully contribute to all the other taxes currently paid by the more traditional accommodation sector.

It must also be apparent to our policymakers that increased arrival numbers do not necessarily equate to higher overall tourism revenue. Reduced average stay, trading down accommodation choices, lower currency exchange values and higher on-island prices being charged across the industry all adversely impact on the overall contribution to the economy.

And if anyone thinks for a second, that this is fanciful speculation, then log onto sites like Barbados TripAdvisor Barbados Forum and read the feedback from repeat visitors, which will give a graphically better understanding.

It is obvious, that many cherished returnees, increasingly feel that we are rapidly losing perceived or actual value-for-money and that they can obtain far more for their Dollar or Pound elsewhere. A family of four they will be paying somewhere upwards of US$400 or GB pounds 320 more this year for an identical holiday they experienced last year and this is before you even take into account any increases in the flight segment cost or checked bag charges on airfares.

Perhaps, there is less price hike resistance in the peak winter months, but as soon as Easter passes, many of our hotels and other lodging options will collectively have hundreds of empty rooms. The worst case scenario is to have another extended hot summer in our main source markets this year to dampen demand.

Improved value-for-money is not a fanciful concept, It should be an absolute prerequisite objective goal to use as a powerful marketing tool during 2019, if we have any hope of increasing, not just arrivals, but average spend.

16 comments

  • Robert Mac Donald

    Adrian: I get the impression you are putting lipstick on a pig. Prices are higher , the new airport tax is in my opinion going to be revenue neutral and perhaps negative . In my personal circle friends are either avoiding Barbados or staying less time. Many of the visitors in the winter are elderly and in many cases are on a fixed income. They are not in the high end restaurants very often or visit the tourist attractions. They are there primarily to escape the cold and snow of the north. Many have been coming to Barbados for multiple years, due the climate and familiarity of Barbados. I see more opting for Mexico and the Dominican Republic , not that they prefer them over Barbados but simply a matter of Barbados pricing themselves out of the market by adding more and more taxes.

    I concede that Barbados has never been a bargain destination , at least in many years, but personally we are getting close to the proverbial straw.

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  • After more than sixty years in the industry, we are being told that we need a “WOW” factor. This is a damning indictment of those responsible for the development and marketing of our major industry.
    No wonder the tourists are spending less!

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  • ” Dozens of Mexican “modern day slaves” who were allegedly forced to work as cleaners at vacation properties in Ontario for as little as $50 per month have been freed and offered legitimate employment, police announced Monday.”

    https://www.cp24.com/news/police-say-43-modern-day-slaves-from-mexico-forced-to-clean-ontario-resorts-1.4292152

    Like

  • WARU Crazy & Unstable, Hogging the Blog

    Very ugly indeed, look forward to hearing the two greedy savages get some long stretches in prison for their slave scam.

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  • Great ambassador for the tourist board John the sad thing is this is not a one off

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  • I am trying to figure out which BU blogger this guy is!!!

    You have to admit that much of what he has to say is routinely said on BU!!

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  • Go in the gap at night.
    Characters like the one in the video permeate the landscape.
    The drug dealers bout here need customer service training.😂

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  • Everyday same old news somebody chopped or shot, sargassum or sewage all over the place, prices going up, house prices going down, crime up, taxes up, stupidity up, sales down , bizarrely tourists arrivals are up in the short term but this cant be a long term winning scenario.
    Why dont we try police hires up, arrests up, sentences up , cleaning up,pick up painting up, friendliness up etc

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  • Is tourism to make profit for a destination? If so is Barbados making a profit from tourism? Where is the evidence?

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  • According to Marla Dukharan on page 3 of today’s Nation newspaper Barbados is leaking foreign currency like the proverbial sieve.

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  • Well we know that Government will extract another $153.9 million in additional taxes within the next year. $95 million second departure tax, $47 million room rate levy, shared accommodation levy 8 million and $3.9 million in DTS Direct Tourism Service Levy.
    This does not take into account increase in VAT on higher prices.

    We still await a due and payable VAT refund of $40,000 since February 2013.

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  • Where is the evidence?

    What evidence what. We don’t do evidence.

    We do logorrhoea and bombast.

    See Mugabe or any MP for details.

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  • Heading south, I passed the Everton Weekes roundabout just before 5 pm and saw a broken down vehicle just out of the roundabout heading in a northerly direction.Its right front roadwheel was missing and one can see the effect on the traffic flow.Passing the same roundabout about 2 hours later the broken down vehicle was in the same position.It says how cavalier the authorities are in allowing an unserviceable vehicle to block a main artery of the ABC highway.There should be a wrecker service operated by the Police or Transport and Works which would be required to move that vehicle,impound it and charge a fee of about $250.00 or whatever the recovery cost is,but it says a lot of the cavalier approach there is to matters like this.Nobody thought of providing this service or contracting out to a company to keep the highways clear especially the high speed highways.

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  • At a great resort in dr all I can say is wow

    Like

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