The Adrian Loveridge Column – Thomas Cook Could be a Match

It was fascinating listening and watching online the Appropriation Bill and Estimates 2019 from parliament last Monday, which I understood to be under the auspices of the Standing Finance Committee.

The ground breaking gathering within parliament of several leading private and public sector tourism decision makers will hopefully help our elected representatives acquire a better overall understanding of the industry.

It was clear that many of the members asking questions were doing so in the specific concerns of their constituents, rather than in the national interest, but that should not minimize their contribution, as that is what they have been elected to do.

One of the subjects discussed was the development possibilities of new-build, transformation or re-opening of existing or additional hotel plant. The Minister of Tourism brought up the subject of the now derelict Silver Sands Hotel which has remained idle and unused for several years. The Minister, also raised, what I thought was a very good point, that Government (any) should not consider investing in a project that would be unprofitable for private sector involvement.

For those of us deeply affected and disadvantaged by the Hotel and Resorts (GEMS) folly, where somewhere around $600 million was squandered, this new policy is music to our ears, if seriously effectuated.

The final insult to the GEMS disaster was witnessing at least two of the taxpayers owned properties being sold off at far below valuation and building costs, again dramatically impacting on the viability of private hotel operators, who had been forced to pay realistic property prices.

Also mentioned briefly, was a proposed upcoming tourism investment conference, which later I discovered is to take place on 24th April 2019. While no further details were publicly available up until the time of submitting this column, I sincerely hope that time will be taken to specifically target potential smart partners who may be tempted to commit to Barbados.

Thomas Cook Airlines currently operates seasonal flights from Gatwick and Manchester offering a lower cost alternative to the United Kingdom from the year-round established carriers like British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. From their website, it appears they will not operate in November this year, which for one month alone is a loss of 1,600 seats. It may not be common knowledge that the Thomas Cook Group has announced further new openings of another 20 own-brand hotels between now and the end of 2019, taking its portfolio to over 200 hotels with 40,000 rooms, making it one of the top 40 largest hotel groups in the world.

These are currently mostly in the greater Mediterranean area but they also have a presence in Egypt and Gambia. While recent doubts have emerged concerning the company’s trading losses and possible disposal of the airline division, the hotel division looks like it’s in for the long term.

Enric Noguer, Thomas Cook’s chief of hotels and resorts, stated ‘Expanding our own-brand hotel portfolio is success to the whole business. Operating and overseeing a group of well managed and high quality hotels that our customers recognize and turn to for better service and reliability they experience is an important part of our strategy as a group’. So could a Thomas Cook, branded Silver Sands Hotel, present a match made in heaven, while at the same time help retain and seasonally expand the airlines flights to Barbados.

16 comments

  • Robert Mac Donald

    Adrian: The Silver Sands is not in business for a reason. Why ? I am sure Thomas Cook if they are as active as you say in the hotel business , I am sure they would have looked at establishing their own hotel in Barbados. One good thing you report is that government has finally realized not to enter into a business that industry if left to their own would not enter. On another note perhaps there should be a moratorium on new hotels until the infrastructure is in place. I am thinking of the effect the opening of the “Sands ” whenever, will have on the sewage system on the South coast?

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  • PoorPeacefulandPolite

    “if they are as active in the hotel business , I am sure they would have looked at establishing their own hotel in Barbados.” ??!!

    So we just assume this because Mr MacDonald thinks so? Has the DLP term in office made us give up on expecting our government to be PROACTIVE? Why not explore the reason? We might learn where our weaknesses lie. Such apathy and negativity are our worst structural handicaps.

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  • easy peaceful you not read the nation on feb 5 the silver sands beach is awash in seaweed no local with any sense is going to invest, so you have to find someone with deep pockets or fix what you can like the sewage system. There is no sense putting air into a tire untill you fix the puncture.

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  • PoorPeacefulandPoiite: I was stating my opinion. Regardless of the government( Let us hope that unlike most postings this not end up being a mud slinging contest between political party supporters), pro activity is a good thing in moderation. The Hospitality industry goes to where money is to be made. If it can be made in Barbados they will be here.

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  • Robert the amt of canadians visiting barbados is less than 1/10 of the amt going to punta cana and if every canadian with barbados ancestry visited once a year that would mean you are only getting 20 thousand people who come not caring about price or flight time. So you are right that is why new hotels are springing up in cuba, DR and mexico that is where money can be made even before this last round of barbados govt taxes.But as tusser said a fool and his money are soon parted so the govt should work on infrastructure until that fool can be found.

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  • T&T social media:

    “This has to be the most laughable and ludicrous crap from these clueless fools! Do you still wonder why T&T is in such a mess?

    These people are economic & technological dunces, backward dinosaurs, trying to stop the modern world invading their 19th Century world, and thus preventing any development of this nation…tax and ban and regulate anything,….overvalued currency, doltish, stupid, insane idiots who are destroying this nation!

    Richard Jacobs: “Tried that in New York City did not work , how much more folks go bare in Trinbago tell Colm , Imbert Marie Antoinette’s Brother cool it . ( the taxer man ) Fix the tourism sector first which this government led by Keith Christopher Rowley and past under Kamla, seem to have no clue on what’s the best master plan for tourism in Trinbago ( imagine 9 million T and T dollars for the 2019 marketing budget for the Trinidad 🇹🇹 tourism company all you really serious Steups)
    Leave the homeowners alone Keith and Colm leave them alone”

    Carol Sinanan: “T&T hotels cannot accomodate an influx of global travellers to T&T with limited rooms at exorbitant prices…but, want to restrict Air BnB and all the other low costs accommodations that can boost T&T Tourism arrivals…We have one set of fully dunced administrators on this 2×4 island that intend to put a stop to any citizen choosing to make an honest dollar. Government want the population to remain dependent on them….We have run Uber now we want to run Air BnB.”

    Business Watch: Trinidad Hotels Association calls for Airbnb to be regulated in T&T

    Business Watch: Trinidad Hotels Association calls for Airbnb to be regulated in T&T
    The shortage of US currency has forced local companies to seek alternative sources to pay their international bills. It has already cost one company $6 million, a cost it says it cannot pass on to its customers. Also, most hotels, especially those in

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  • Robert MacDonald

    David: Although the situation at LIAT is a crisis, it is really not on topic. To this point at least, the contributors have not obfuscated the postings by political mud slinging . The situation at LIAT is dire and needs its own posting rather than trying to hijack this one.

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  • How can a topic be hijacked if nobody is posting to it? We have discussed LIAT in this forum many times.

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  • ‘and the remaining BDS$20 million will go towards regulation of tourism, civil aviation and the island’s shareholding responsibilities to LIAT’ 11th June 2018 – The Right Hon. Mia Mottley, PM, QC.

    The $20 million is part of the estimated $96 million that will be raised annually from the new imposition of taxes mostly paid by our visitors in a second airline departure tax, room and tourism ancillary services levy.
    The BTMI will receive a reduced budget of $75 million which is capped at that amount.

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  • Robert MacDonald

    Adrian John Loveridge: I may be wrong but you were using the budget estimate to make the point that Thomas Cook may wish to establish their own hotel in Barbados. In your original post there was nothing or at least if there was anything I missed it about LIAT.
    The situation at LIAT is worthy of its own posting and does not in my opinion have anything to do with “Thomas Cook Could Be A Match” However it was your post, so carry on.

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  • This is unbelievable.

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  • Adrian John Loveridge

    The point I am trying to make is that the new Minister of Tourism has stated quite clearly that he cannot justify Government entering into tourism investment if it does NOT make sense to the private sector.

    If this is the real intention then we need private investment to re-open Silver Sands and to place any further monies into LIAT.

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  • @Adrian

    You could have gone further and say given the importance of intra regional trade we need to find a sustainable framework within which LIAT can operate. We should not discussing these matters in a holistic matter given they many issues are interdependent.

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  • Robert MacDonald

    I am glad that this topic has not degenerated into political mud throwing. I agree that these issues are interdependent. LIAT is obviously not operating in a profitable manner. There are many reasons , the question is are the parties involved prepared to make the decisions involved in order to change this. Operate routes that are profitable only, if unprofitable routes are to be maintained then the country that wants the service subsidize it. The modus operandi of the work force , including management be examined to ensure that best practices are involved. It is a complex issue, possibly outside consultants be brought in and listened to and act upon the suggestions on a financial rather than political basis.

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  • Are the solutions so simple? At the root is a LIAT being managed as a department of the Antigua government.

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