Adrian Loveridge Column – Governments Should be Working Together

As more and more tourism businesses indicate they are re-opening, hopefully over the next few weeks, our policymakers and planners will instigate a single source reference website or other social media platform to combat the mass confusion and speculation as to when our industry is ready and able to host locals and overseas visitors.

Meanwhile, potential arrivals are left to navigate a bewildering source of what, in many cases, turns out to be misinformation or at least misleading. Especially relevant when you bear in mind the overwhelming majority of people do not book flights at a day or two’s notice and cannot necessarily choose holiday dates at short notice.

Of course, it all comes down to safety and most reasonable people can fully understand Government’s reluctance to commit to specific dates before every possible precaution preventing the further spread of Covid-19 is put in place. And this even more reinforces the essential need to implement a single reliable source for the latest factual information covering every aspect of our tourism offering.

What is also disappointing is that there appears to be no unified regional plan to re-open Caribbean islands to the world. A recent statement issued by LIAT to the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association indicated ‘the need to extend the temporary layoff of its pilots for three months’. Adding that, it was still awaiting further shareholder funding or subsidies and ‘these funds continue to be delayed’.

Even allowing for the differential in available medical and testing facilities, every territory seems to be doing its ‘own thing’ in terms of accommodation and airlift. Perhaps, many may question whether bodies like the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) could have played a greater role in recovery and if we can ever seriously contemplate marketing the region under one umbrella.

The CTO rightly could cite limited financial resources at this difficult time as a major issue for not being more collectively proactive, but there is always something positive that can be done with the combined talents and knowledge available.

Naturally, each island state has its own priorities in terms of economic recovery, the survival of businesses and restoring employment, but surely a greater degree of unity when negotiating the return of airlines and standard safety protocol could be agreed?

There also remains the sticky subject of taxation. In the case of Barbados, since October 2019 the imposition of a bevy of new taxes and levies has virtually negated Government from any significant fiscal contribution to marketing the destination.  Throughout the duration of lockdown this valuable source has virtually dried-up and while the operating expenses that include staff salaries and premium location premises, both at home and overseas of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., and its associated agencies have remained, clearly there must have been some significant savings in advertising and airlift support.

When flights eventually return, will the administration look again at the level of taxation imposed on airfares which includes Value Added Tax (VAT) and two departure taxes, among others, to aid recovery?

We should remember that our traditional sources markets have all experienced loss or depletion of earned income and unprecedented levels of unemployment for a sustained period and that will inevitably impact on destination choice.

29 thoughts on “Adrian Loveridge Column – Governments Should be Working Together

  1. Working together?

    A tangible gesture would be appropriate to those who are still looking at our serene shores for comfort and tranquility. Eliminate the hefty departure tax temporary.

    Our safety protocols has to be explicit. We need to look at larger tourist destinations prior to implementing our own.

    Bermuda reopens its shores to tourists on July 1, 2020. See some of their protocols:

    Obtain a certified negative PCR COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure.

    Ensure they have appropriate health insurance.

    Wear face masks when travelling to the departure airport.

    Wear face masks and practise physical distancing at the departure airport.

    Complete a traveller screening form and arrival card.

    In Flight — During flight, travellers should:

    Wear a face mask while on the plane.

    Practise social distancing to the extent possible.

    Upon Arrival — Upon arrival, travellers should:

    Undergo COVID-19 testing at airport or accommodation (turnaround time eight to 24 hours).

    We have many scientific minds on this blog. Take some of that negative energy and apply it positively toward the mass confusion and speculation.

    We await your suggestions.

    Thanking you in advance.

  2. Let me tell everybody how the tourists and foreign villa owners see the whole issue:

    First, they feel they’re being treated as enemies. Secondly, they fear tribal riots (like the Nelson riots). Thirdly, they do not want to be trapped on an island again because some local chief closes the airport in panic. Fourthly (specifically Barbados) they feel abused by the high tourist taxes.

    We have to finally realize that the tourists don’t need the Caribbean. There are many beautiful destinations in the north. Conversely, the Caribbean needs the tourists.

    Since local governments in the Caribbean are so hostile to tourists (Barbados as an exception), tourists will certainly only come in small numbers in winter, if at all.

  3. @ Tron

    Funny you should mention that. I had an English associate I deal with who owns a property here, ask me if this Nelson issue will be like what happened in the USA with rioting etc? I told him I doubt that very much. He was looking at another investment here but has put it on hold as a result. He and others still feel Barbados is worth investing in, but are uncomfortable with recent developments around the Nelson issue.

    His words to me were ” it appears the Barbadian people want my money but not my presence on their island.”

    We need to be careful the messages we send to investors now, as we need their money more than ever at this stage. What happened in the USA and England recently with the rioting and so on has them a bit skittish already. We do not need to add to it.

  4. The best thing that could happen to aviation in the Caribbean, is if LIAT never flew again. It is a money loser of epic proportions. Poorly managed. Too many strangling bad contracts. Bankrupt it. Start from scratch.

  5. In Europe, the airlines have been resuming continental flights for weeks. And what is the Caribbean doing? They can’t even get their few turboprop aircraft to take off again.

    That’s more than ridiculous. On the one hand they beg the IMF because they are running out of money, on the other hand they sabotage their own economic recovery.

  6. @ John A June 22, 2020 1:58 PM

    What counts is the impression we make on tourists and villa owners. It was especially bad that some islands imposed a total lockdown, so that the tourists could not leave the country via the airport for weeks. This behaviour was very close to unlawful detention and hostage-taking.

    Such behaviour massively damages the economic recovery, because the tourists keep this in mind when planning their next holiday. It could happen again. Provided, they still have the money for long distance travel.

  7. @ John A

    Barbados is in crisis and what we need now, moreso than ever, is sound leadership. We do not have any political leaders, any business leaders, any religious leaders. We have jokers masquerading as politicians with loud, repetitious speeches, hands all over the place, threatening finger pointing, and a lack of good policy-making.
    I have said on numerous occasions that the president is not as clever as her friends and fans claim, she detests details and is not a thinker.
    it is the act of a coward to keep postponing important decisions, especially decisions that may turn out to be unpopular. We pay a high price for our failure.
    As I have said, Barbados is a failed stat e and it will all end in tears.

  8. @ John A
    I guess we have to take crap from anybody who wants to invest in our country. Is this what independence means? What are we people or frigging dollar bills?
    It is so damn pathetic to hear citizens of an independent nation speak like this.
    @ John A, I usually welcome and agree with your contributions but quite frankly, I am insulted and offended by this post.

  9. @ William.

    It is financial reality. Money goes where money feels safe. If our behaviour leads to investment discomfort then we have to open our eyes and say yes we did it. You want the hard currency then you must realise it comes with investor comfort and confidence.

    It is the hard reality of finance, if it offends you there is little I can do to help you. What I can tell you is look around at the countries that scared off foreign investment and see where they are today. No one is saying not to rally to move Nelson if you feel it will improve the lives of Barbadians as thats your right. Just remember the investor has the right too to place his money where he feels its welcome that’s all I saying. Personally if he moves or stays it makes my day no better or worst. What I will say is that if he is moved then I agree with Mia’s idea of a naval museum by the screwdock or some such plan. I do not however agree with the nonesence some are saying about tear it down and throw it in the sea.

    It’s not what you do that counts but how you do it.

    • @John A

      You are becoming carried away by responding to a fringe position. It is often not what you do but how you do it, all agree. Nobody will throw Nelson statue in the sea. This is emotional talk by people trying to express a strong position and that is all. Your general point is taken, we cannot have our cake and eat it too. If we want to attract FDI the climate must be receptive. This will always be the challenge to manage competing priorities.

  10. @ William Skinner June 22, 2020 5:27 PM

    We shouldn’t look at this through nationalist spectacles.

    The principle is: customer is king. In the global domiciles of the rich, such as Baden-Baden, Geneva, Monaco, Saint-Tropez or Zurich, public administration does everything to satisfy the rich international clientele. That is modern service. It is not called public service because civil servants are supposed to be lazy and arrogant, but because they are service providers.

    Nor is it a sell-out of one’s own country, but the optimisation of tax revenues to finance the welfare state.

    In many articles on BU (but not yours!) it sounds through that they despise foreign investors as plunderers and racists. At the same time the same people complain about economic decline and mismanagement. Apparently, these people have a kind of new Guyana in mind, like the concentration camp of the legendary preacher Jones.

    My advice to everyone is to go to Switzerland and see how local tradition and investor orientation work together.

  11. @ John A
    @ Tron
    We are the only country that never can squeeze a single penny out of traditional corporate private sector in a crisis. We sound like a pack of school children begging friends to use their marbles. It’s nothing but mendicant thinking not befitting a nation that wants to create a positive dynamic national psyche.
    Mia did not come up with the idea of any museum , that was Owen Arthur’s idea. The same Arthur who promised to reform the public sector and move us to republic status.
    Quite frankly Mia for years was one of the biggest proponents of moving Nelson. However right now she has no choice other than to appease the same white moguls she criticized during the last elections. All of that talk about national consultation is pure bluff and baloney. That’s the same damn reason all of them , from both parties, promised republic status and then back down.
    So I think you brothers need to understand that we can’t allow investors to own our national pride. Let us at least think about how we can have a meaningful symbiosis with clean investors who respect our sovereignty Always remember : Who buy you can sell you.
    “ Friends of all and satellites of nine” should not only be the mantra for foreign affairs.

  12. @ NorthernObserver June 22, 2020 2:10 PM
    “The best thing that could happen to aviation in the Caribbean, is if LIAT never flew again. It is a money loser of epic proportions. Poorly managed. Too many strangling bad contracts. Bankrupt it. Start from scratch.”

    A succinct assessment of the problems plaguing the now ‘grounded’ LIAT.

    Are you suggesting that King Arthur has lost his Midas touch of turning borrowed money into conspicuous consumption habits? LOL!!

    It’s the ideal opportunity for the real business magnates of the region- like Maloney who will dabble in any venture to turn a profit- to step up to the plate (or should that be hangar) and show these Lilliputian governments ‘managed’ by a gang of tin pot dictators what business acumen is really about.

  13. @ William Skinner June 22, 2020 8:43 PM

    Is that a ‘deliberate’ slip of the tongue when you say “baloney” instead of ‘Maloney’?

    The picture being painted by both John A and Tron is one which our much missed friend Bush Tea would class aptly as prostitution at the national level.

    No different in morality or commercial outcome as those belles de nuit who conduct races nightly around the Garrison with the betting ‘johns’ always in the line ready to back the bookies’ favourite fillies.

  14. @ William

    I support rational discussion on any topic including this one. What we must remember though is while we want to go forward, we must not Do so led by any radical movement based solely on trying to right the wrongs of the past. After all the last man claiming to do that was Don Blackman and where is he now? Be careful who you follow and under what guise they proposes to be acting.

    If Nelson is to be moved my suggestions would be the propsed marine museum, the cannon display at the garrison, or at the mouth of the careenage on the Pierhead side looking out to sea ( my personal favourite).

  15. @ David June 22, 2020 8:56 PM


    That of a ‘corporate undertaker’ for a terminally-ill patient infected with the virus of rabid political interference.

    The days of Barbados being LIAT’s ATM and hospice caretaker are over given the fact that the caregiver Nurse Bim is herself in dire need of a financial bailout.

    Northern Observer is right on the money with access to the LIAT pending black box.

  16. @ Miller
    @ John A
    No it was no baloney/ Maloney slip but it’s an interesting thought now I think of it.
    It’s very fascinating that we were talking about how to adjust and be creative after COVID. Now that we are reopened for business , we seem to be going back up our comfort levels. A serious lack of confidence envelops the national discourse.
    Note that the mighty savior the IMF is tightening its grip. Remember how we praised the speed with which that agreement was made ?
    We are quickly back to old habits.

  17. @ Miller June 22, 2020 9:05 PM

    A good metaphor. LOL. When you are hungry, you have to fill your mouth with whatever it takes.

    In countries with real seasons there are summer and winter sales. The retailers sell the goods at half price. Barbados is now also in the discount mode. I’m curious to see if property prices will halve. After the end of the debt moratorium we will see many bankruptcies.

  18. @ William Skinner June 22, 2020 9:23 PM

    In my opinion, the crisis is not over at all. We will have a small window of opportunity over the summer with a little normalisation. The eye of the hurricane, so to speak. But that won’t bring us significant tourism revenue. A large second corona wave is to be expected from October onwards. If that happens, the winter season will collapse completely. You have seen for yourself how the whipped up, fanatical masses on BU consider the tourists as enemies, because they might bring a statistically negligible variant of corona snuff. Unemployment could then rise to 50, 60 percent.

    We will get normalization only under the following conditions: Vaccine like the flu + economic recovery in our tourist markets. This will take years. The death dance of Saint Corona has just begun.

    I look forward to the bar at the Hyatt when I am the only guest there.

  19. “I’m curious to see if property prices will halve”
    My curiosity will be how many buyers they are at any price. Is the author’s hotel still ‘For Sale’? Years back, I made the mistake of acquiring a property, with my ‘less than reliable’ siblings. It took me, 3 years to sell, and even then (pre 2007) I essentially got the purchase price of several year’s prior, less the horrendous closing costs on the island.

  20. We need to be careful the messages we send to investors now, as we need their money more than ever at this stage

    Why not take this to its logical absurd conclusion? How much more humiliation, deference and economic prostitution do you want from the local people?
    man you mek me shame

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