Adrian Loveridge Column – Over to You Minister Lisa Cummins

Minister of Tourism Lisa Cummins

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the British Government’s Eat Out to Help Out promotion that initially was being offered on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3rd through to the 31st August.

Almost a week before ‘last orders’ under the offer is due to expire, over 64 million meals have already been served at more than 50,000 restaurants, pubs and other eating establishments across the United Kingdom.

So far, there have been 34 million searches by 13 million unique users on the official Eat Out to Help Out restaurant finder which uses postcodes to locate participating eateries in any given area.

Not surprisingly, many in the catering industry and trade associations are now calling for a further one month extension, taking it through September, before the employee furlough subsidy is scheduled to end in October.

Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UK Hospitality, which represents pubs and restaurants throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland stated ‘the scheme has been a huge success for the sector. Our members have been reporting a very-welcome boost in trade, when it was needed most’. Adding ‘the scheme has not just benefited businesses commercially it appears to have really boosted consumer confidence as well, which is just as important’.

While the following observations may go down badly in certain circles, we seem to be constantly reading various utterings about the need to restructure the entire tourism industry on Barbados. Yet few, if any, policies appear to have been put in place to stimulate the sector, in which ‘we’ place so much reliance on now? I can only conclude that those proffering advice on restructuring do not really understand our industry and their immediate needs, which could result in a devastating consequence for any hope of its survival in the short to middle term.

Restructuring does not take place overnight in any sector and in our case, what does it really mean anyway?

Demolishing scores of existing hotels, villas, apartments and the hundreds of extra rooms created by small independent owners that have been persuaded to provide them for rental, through companies like Airbnb?

And what about the various proposed new-build accommodation projects that have yet to show significant progress?

This will be my final impassioned plea to Government to consider launching a national domestic tourism initiative that would be supported, not just by the tourism partners, but by all elements of the private sector that have a vested interest, including food and beverage suppliers, wholesalers and financial service providers that embraced credit and debit card issuers.

Even a low-cost ‘ad’ campaign through local social media and radio might just make a significant enough difference to keeping some of our ‘make or break’ restaurants open and staff employed. Failing to introduce such an incentive into Barbados later than September will run the plausible risk that many of our tourism entities will simply not survive intact until there are real signs of fiscal recovery later this year or into 2021.

Otherwise the danger is that the much vaunted discussion on restructuring will quickly turn into a major plan for possible rebuilding, and that could realistically take decades.

43 comments

  • Sounds to Wily like a THROWING IN THE TOWEL article from Adrian. I can read the frustration in the article, you can only so long beat a dead horse without results. Barbados tourism is between a rock and hard place and the politicians & government are at a loss for answers, suggestions or even a mediocre recovery plan. The usual sit on your ASS and do nothing attitude is not going to get the country through this new normal. The country has to be PROACTIVE, try new things, some will FAIL, however some will bare fruit and succeed. These small successes will lead to other expanded endeavours and there will be a gradual slow improvements in the economy and a new business model will develope. However the present DO NOTHING ATTITUDE will result in the continuing downward economic spiral.

    Like

  • During the good times many of our leading hoteliers have siphoned profits to be found offshore it has been whispered for years.

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  • @David

    “siphoned profits”

    This comment would imply that these business individuals are not loyal or upscale Barbadian, however Wily views this as “protection/insurance” for a business. These individuals are obviously astute businessman and understand Barbados pegged economy as fragile and not well protected from global influences. These same individuals that have squirred resources offshore may in fact be the saviour of the Barbadian tourism.

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  • Adrian Loveridge

    When a SINGLE tourism entity was granted unique concessions, where the majority of their funds are collected offshore, Government (whichever) opened the doors to any other hotel or accommodation provider attempting to do the same.

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  • peterlawrencethompson

    Adrian, there are major structural differences between the UK and Barbados which make it pointless for us to try to imitate their domestic tourism initiatives. I will keep the analysis simple.

    There is consumer spending power in the UK on small indulgences like eating out; this is because the economic depression that has made it impossible for most families to find 2,000 Pounds Sterling to splurge on airline tickets, they replace that indulgence with 200 Pounds spent in restaurants. Comparable consumer spending power does not exist in Barbados. Barbadians, apart from a handful of the most privileged, do not have the cash flow to eat out regularly at the restaurants that were sustained by the tourism industry. If you wish to keep those restaurants from going under, you will need to take a page out of Mark Maloney’s book, and buy one to use as your own personal project.

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  • @PLT

    Eat out to has nothing to do with tourism, internal or external.

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  • peterlawrencethompson

    Adrian, Bajans are NOT here to help the tourism industry, the tourism industry is here to help Bajans.

    I have already told you way back in April how to restructure the tourism industry. In July the Prime Minister started to implement my suggestions. Over 1,000 Barbados Welcome Stamps have been issued in the first month. That is the domestic spending equivalent of about 50,000 1 week tourists. That is what is going to keep the restaurants open. That is what is going to book up the Airbnb rentals, car rentals, and apartment hotels. If we manage the program properly we can grow it to 10,000 households of people who work remotely from Barbados and spend their FX salaries here. That’s the equivalent of well over half a million short stay tourists.

    Why is it so hard for you and others in the industry to do this simple arithmetic? Do you dispute the figures? If so, please share the benefit of your experienced analysis.

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  • peterlawrencethompson

    @Hal Austin August 31, 2020 6:39 AM
    “Eat out to has nothing to do with tourism…”
    ++++++++++++
    😉 😉 😉 😉 😉 😉 😉 😉 😉

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  • @PLT

    It was not the expressed purpose of the policy.

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  • @PLT

    “simple arithmetic”

    This is BARBADOS MAJOR economic issue, they are always looking for SIMPLE SOLUTIONS that include a good photo op and some immediate gum flapping proclamation. The real issue is these are complex problems that require a solid short, medium & long term plan that is flexible, frequently accessed and updated on a routine basis. This WELCOME STAMPS PROGRAM on the surface appears to be a good initiative, it needs to be evaluated over the next year or so to see how effective the program is in terms of a revenue generator. It will take thousands of these one off ideas being effective to have any significant effective revenue generation. These small programs will no doubt be helpful, however they will not sustain the Barbados socialistic welfare society.

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  • The blogmaster’s reference to revenues diverted to offshore by local hoteliers was occurring before Butch was granted his washpan of concessions.

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  • peterlawrencethompson

    @Wily Coyote August 31, 2020 7:15 AM
    “WELCOME STAMPS PROGRAM on the surface appears to be a good initiative, it needs to be evaluated over the next year or so to see how effective the program is in terms of a revenue generator. […] It will take thousands of these one off ideas…”
    +++++++++++++++
    You are of course correct that it needs to be evaluated over the next year, fine tuned, and expanded.

    We issued over 1,000 Welcome stamps in the first month, so we are on track to issue 10,000 at least in the first year. They will spend (conservatively) on average 2,000 USD on rent and another 2,000 USD on car rental, food, gasoline, restaurants, entertainment, etc. 10,000 x 2,000 x 2,000 x 12 is 480 million USD per year. The government makes an additional 23 million USD in visa fees, so that’s over half a billion USD per year.

    So it will NOT “take thousands of these one off ideas…” it will take two or three.

    So let’s come up with idea #2…

    Liked by 1 person

  • Just goes to show that most business owners cannot make money unless regular people spend money. Regular people cannot spend money unless they have money. Regular people cannot have money if business owners bleed society like vampires.

    Maybe business owners should understand the relationship better and think more about sustainability.

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  • I realise why the industry is in constant peril. I dont know who can seriously argue in a population of under three hundred thousand with even nurses earning less than 35 000 per year and gas station attendants earning less than $300 per week , are going to be eating in restaurants where a simple rice and fish dinner approaches $50 per person and a banks beer approaching $6.00. So a family of four is expected to spend $200 on a dinner and then it can’t pay the water bill.
    Now @ PLT comes up with a good idea and because it can’t make $50 million in a week , we ready to pour cold water on it.
    In the mean time Sandals still in the hoteliers crow but when I watching West Indies cricket, I see Sandals logo on them. Name any hotel that was ever involved in real community sponsorship or any major cultural effort for any sustained period. This country has been exploited by some jokers who could not be major players in any hotel industry in any other part of the world.
    These people treat our cultural artistes with no respect; never want to pay them proper wages and make them change in toilets. From reading BU, I realise that very few know how these so-called hoteliers have robbed the treasury by refusing to pay in NIS after deducting it from the payroll.
    I have had experiences where managers, usually expatriates, literally harass workers in front of tourists. Some of these racists who treat Black American tourists differently and now the bottom has fallen out they want free access to the little left in the treasury. Let them adjust to the new reality or get out!
    That’s why they cuss Butch Stewart. He exposed them for the cry babies they are and built an international brand that they simply cannot touch.
    Bu that’s how we are……….

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Adrian

    The gig is up: local tourism players should either reinvent or shut shop.

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  • @ peterlawrencethompson August 31, 2020 6:45 AM

    POPULATION 2.0

    We also need more expats who live permanently in Barbados, i.e. build their villas here. If an expat builds a villa for USD 2 million and takes out a local loan, this would not only boost the construction industry, but also add several thousand USD per month to the FX reserves.

    Two conditions:

    First, the expats should build their villas on Apes Hill Plantation and other gated communities where there is still enough land available. This means that land prices only rise there, but not in the numerous settlements and townships of our Aborigines.

    Secondly, as many local products as possible must be used for construction: Wood, furniture, fabric, etc. Only local workers may be used.

    Of course, our new citizens also deserve an appropriate representation in parliament. I suggest reserving 50 percent of the seats in parliament for this group.This would also have the advantage that our politicians would no longer have to base their decisions on the impoverished, naive masses.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Adrian, Bajans are NOT here to help the tourism industry, the tourism industry is here to help Bajans.

    I have already told you way back in April how to restructure the tourism industry. In July the Prime Minister started to implement my suggestions. Over 1,000 Barbados Welcome Stamps have been issued in the first month. That is the domestic spending equivalent of about 50,000 1 week tourists. That is what is going to keep the restaurants open. That is what is going to book up the Airbnb rentals, car rentals, and apartment hotels. If we manage the program properly we can grow it to 10,000 households of people who work remotely from Barbados and spend their FX salaries here. That’s the equivalent of well over half a million short stay tourists.

    Why is it so hard for you and others in the industry to do this simple arithmetic? Do you dispute the figures? If so, please share the benefit of your experienced analysis.

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    JUST ONLY 5 DAYS AGO August 26th THE BLP GOVERNMENT SAID ONLY 12 (A DOZEN) HAS SETTLED IN THE COUNTRY IRREGARDLESS WHETHER A THOUSAND APPLICATIONS HAS BEEN APPROVED OR NOT.

    PEOPLE ARE CATCHING AT STRAWS.

    THIS PROGRAM WILL FAIL TO BRING TENS OF THOUSANDS FROM OVERSEAS WHO ARE HIGH NET EARNERS FOR ONE YEAR.

    A dozen already settled in Barbados

    Just over a month after Parliament approved a programme that allows visitors to live and work remotely in Barbados for up to a year, 12 people have already arrived here to get on with the job under the Barbados Welcome Stamp visa scheme.

    Deputy Chief Immigration Officer Margaret Inniss told a news conference today hosted jointly by the Ministries of Tourism and Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs that three of those visitors were already in the island vacationing or working, but could not return home due to the closure of borders brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “To this point we have had approximately 12 persons arriving in Barbados primarily from the US, UK and Canada and those are our dominant markets. You have a combination of both individuals and families, the individuals, the numbers far outweigh the family groups, but the families are coming as well; they are asking a lot of questions. Persons are looking to relocate their families while they are working remotely,” Inniss revealed.

    Asked if any of the dozen remote workers had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, the Deputy Chief Immigration Officer replied: “We have no such information.”

    Minister of Home Affairs Wilfred Abrahams who opened the news conference, announced that between July 18 and last Saturday, some 1,079 applications had been processed.

    “Of these applications received, 764 were individuals and 315 were family bundle applications. The five leading countries seeking entry under this programme are the United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada, Nigeria and India,” Abrahams disclosed while not saying how many were approved.

    https://barbadostoday.bb/2020/08/26/a-dozen-already-settled-in-barbados/

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  • @PLT

    SIMPLE MATH BY THE SIMPLE. Thousands in a month, according to Government sources number is Twelve(12), typical Bajan free education system translates 12 into thousands, no wonder why the country is a FAILED STATE. Millions in revenue will not doubt actually turn out to be hundreds.

    Peter, you had a respectable idea and must be congratulated for the initiative, however exaggerating the numbers will not make it successful.

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  • William Skinner,

    And many of them do not pay their water bills either, taking advantage of the fact that the Government would not want tourists to be without water.

    Some of them a local person cannot sit on the beach above the high water mark. Access to the beach is closed off in many instances.

    Are we welcome now?

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  • The Daily Show threw cold water on the idea saying that the journey to Barbados would be a risk. In other words one would be risking catching COVID on the way to the island.

    That was one Trevor Noah joke I couldn’t enjoy!

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  • @ Donna
    You are absolutely correct. Some of them have been nothing but corporate rascals.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Donna 4:01 pm Agree with you completely. Love Trevor but that joke fell flat with me too. What he failed to say was you have a greater chance of contracting COVID by visiting the White House or attending a rally or taking part in a riot in the USA.

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  • peterlawrencethompson

    BAJE August 31, 2020 1:57 PM
    The figure of over 1,000 is those who have already paid their US$2,000 or US$3,000 visa fees. They do need a little time to settle their affairs with leases, subletting, and other details before getting on the plane.

    Like

  • peterlawrencethompson

    @BAJE & @Wily Coyote
    My information from an employee of the Barbados Immigration Department is that over 1,000 Barbados Welcome Stamps have already have been approved and paid for. I may have been misinformed because it did surprise me that the Barbados Immigration Department could process 1,000 of ANYTHING in a month.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Look this special stamp initiative when compared to other countries will not garner the much touted support which govts talks about
    Already we have people looking from jobs in barbados most likely from other Caricom nations
    Understand that the welcome stamp initiative can be of help to cushion the negative fall out from COVID but how much
    Going forward the ground swell if there be any would decrease in all interest

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  • We never Trust any Cummins in office

    Like

  • Flights ‘on way back’
    by GERCINE CARTER gercinecarter@nationnews.com
    THE MAJORITY of airlines which serviced Barbados before the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to return when commercial services resume.
    However, acting head of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), Robert Chase, says while Barbados will be supporting airlines hit hard by the pandemic, it will not be through the minimum revenue guarantee (MRG) arrangement in which a government assumes a portion of the risk with the guarantee of a minimum level of revenue and profitability to an airline.
    “Minimum revenue guarantees are a model used in the industry to support airlines and we have traditionally been moving away from that model. So we have reduced (aspects of airline agreements) to a very small proportion of our contract with our partners, including MRGs,” Chase said yesterday.
    Partners
    “Fundamentally, we have said to the airlines (we can be) partners either through co-op marketing arrangements or through full seat support, where we will support the number of seats they are bringing with a certain amount of financial support per seat.”
    Speaking at the end of a tour of the tourism attraction Marizayra’s Sanctuary at Harrismith, St Philip, Chase conceded that airlines were “in challenging situations” as a result of COVID-19, and in order to secure the airlift, Barbados had to look at different models of supporting them.
    “The airlines are working with us; they have been diligent in trying to find the least cost solution. We have looked at other cost cutting measures to help them achieve their goals,” Chase said, as he acknowledged that without at least a 40 per cent load, airlines had difficulty in continuing to fly. He said while Barbados had not “gone the route” of MRGs with airlines such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, which had been requesting that kind of support from at least one other Caribbean destination, “we have been able to help them to bring back the airlift to the country” by providing “some support in terms of seat support”.
    Chase pointed out most of the airlines which flew to Barbados before COVID-19 were either “planning to return or are flying”. He listed Air Canada, JetBlue, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways among the latter group, while advising that American Airlines “is actually very keen and pressing to return”.
    Careful
    “Obviously, we have to be conscious of the situation in terms of the pandemic and the situation in the US and how best to manage that combination of health versus resurgence of tourism,” he added.
    Meanwhile, he anticipated Lufthansa would be returning in the winter season, while COPA was likely returning “probably at the end of this year (or) beginning of next year”.
    West Jet was also scheduled to return from Canada in the winter, Chase said.
    “In addition, we have had the introduction of inter-Caribbean as a new regional airline and also One Caribbean which is now plying the Caribbean route more regularly, and, of course, CAL [Caribbean Airlines] continues to fly.”
    He indicated more airline options were being explored.

    Source: Nation Newspaper

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  • I just arrived on the island on Sunday from Canada. Getting a COVID test result within 72 hours of my flight was no easy task. The Ontario Govt takes up 96 hours to post the result and all valid tests have to go through a Ontario Government approved site. When I departed the plane I would estimate that close to half the people on it went to the area provided for “need a test” and the remainder went to the “have a negative test”.

    Here is a place you can get an appointment for a drive through test. RVH Hospital Barrie. Google it. Try to get the earliest appointment possible. You can book several days in advance. My results were posted in 32 hours.. Canada is a low risk country for Covid. It is a little concerning travelling with all those people who did not have a negative test. Having said that I was super super impressed with the screening and diligence I went through to be released from the airport. GREAT JOB BEING DONE by the Barbados Government.. I feel safe here .

    Liked by 1 person

  • ” close to half the people on it went to the area provided for “need a test” ……… and the remainder went to the “have a negative test”.

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  • @ Traveller September 2, 2020 9:35 AM

    Greetings in our tropical paradise!

    First buy one of the hip Rolex models duty free in Bridgetown as a reward and then sell it at a 50% premium when you return to Canada. This way you have already covered your travel expenses.

    Soon all good restaurants will be open again. I am looking forward to it. And the best thing: Our people are as nice as ever.

    Thank you dear leader Mia Mottley for letting us live on the same island as you!

    Like

  • The first problem we have in tourism is no one seems to be measuring the impacts of tourism. Do we know if tourism is profitable to the government of Barbados? What is our tourism leakage rate? What economic impact has tourism made on the country? What social impact has it made? What is the cultural impact? Are there economic, social, cultural environmental, infrastructure impact plans for tourism on Barbados?

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Traveller

    Thanks for the info, my wife took the test at our local hospital and they gave her the standard response that the results would be available in 4-5 days, however they were available in 3 days. The info about RVH in Barrie is helpful but I dread travelling on the 400 in Feb. if I keep to my trip schedule.

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  • https://barbadostoday.bb/2020/09/05/preservation-a-priority-in-aftermath-of-stown-fire/

    Prime Minister Mottley paid an unscheduled visit to the area and promised to work with the owner Bjorn Bjerkhamn to restore the approximately 300-year-old structure.

    Like

  • Minister Lisa Cummings is hard at work.

    During a visit by Minister of Tourism Lisa Cummins and a team from the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. to the St Lucy attraction as part of the Barbados Uh Come From initiative, cave owners Sue and Manuel Ward outlined their plans.

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  • The photo shows people traipsing around in the cave isn’t that why the sea anemones died? How about a name change? The Cave formerly known as The Animal Flower cave

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  • @ Sargeant,

    Yuh picking low hanging fruit. lol

    Like

  • @sargent

    The problem with 3 days is you are likely on a plane to Barbados by the time you might get the results. That was the big challenge for me.. You can get an appointment for 8am at RVH and it is drive through. They have their own lab there and they also process samples from surrounding smaller cities. So I figured based on the processing equipment they have, being the first am appointment would ensure my sample would be processed that same day and it was. When you get your results from the Ont govt web site they show the date you were tested (not the time) as well as the date and time the results were posted. When I inquired with RVH and booked the appointment they told me tests would be posted within 18 to 30 hours.
    By the time February comes maybe all the rules will change again.. Going north on 400 early in the morning is easier than going south.

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  • A few years ago, in one of my Notes, I said the Animal Flower Cave should have been closed to all visitors for at least a year, to give the fish time to re-populate, and then be open to viewing for a short period every year.
    I said this on the grounds that it was better for the pubic to be deprived of viewing this phenomenon for a year than to go through what we have with conch. Of course, there was no action. It is not too late.

    Like

  • Realization of 2nd class status is tough…

    Like

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