Adrian Loveridge Column – Getting Ready to Welcome More UK Travellers

The decision made by Virgin Atlantic to re-position their Barbados flights to Heathrow from Gatwick and the recent announcement by British Airways that they will restore a daily flight from London’s first airport from 17th October is a very positive move towards any form of tourism arrival normality from the United Kingdom to our shores, in more ways than one.

The airport is currently undergoing trials involving ‘three systems of outbound Covid-19 testing including a nasal or throat swab test which provides results in 30 minutes, a saliva test which gives a visual result in 10 minutes and a self- administered test that works within 30 seconds’.

These are in addition to the airport’s paid-for inbound testing facility, which is awaiting British Government’s clearance.

According to an airport spokesperson ‘the long-term aim of the trial is to understand whether these tests could be quickly and efficiently conducted on large numbers of people outside of a laboratory setting and to ensure they are accurate enough to be delivered in an airport environment’.

Heathrow’s Chief Executive Officer, John Holland-Kaye added ‘if we can find a test that is accurate, gets results within a matter of minutes, is cost-effective and gets the government green light, we could have the potential to introduce wide-scale testing at the airport’.

Another major plus for Heathrow is the rapidly improving train links.

Our policymakers often overlook that for the vast majority of our visitors, their journey does not start at the airport. They have to get there first, often leaving home close to the dead-of-night to allow for reasonable check-in and security time, in many cases.

While the massive Crossrail project has been further delayed, new type 345 trains with nine carriages that are fully air-conditioned are already fully operational from all the functioning Heathrow terminals, with up to 9 trains per hour to/from Central London and major connecting train terminals and beyond.

The increased capacity, frequency and enhanced ventilation will substantially improve the possibility of effective social distancing and further reduce the fear of virus infection.

A third compelling reason why Heathrow outshines way above other British airports is connectivity, both from an internal domestic UK and worldwide perspective.

Certainly up until the end of 2019, according to OAG (Official Airline Guide), a leading global travel data provider, the Heathrow mega hub was the world’s most internationally connected airport for the third straight year.

‘On the busiest day in aviation during that year an incredible 65,000 connections were possible within a six hour window’.

Frankfurt was second, followed by Chicago O’Hare, Amsterdam and Munich, in that order.

This gives us the strongest possibility of enticing continental Europeans onto seamless connections to both British Airways B777 -200 and Virgin Atlantic’s B787-9 Dreamliner nonstop flights to Barbados.

39 thoughts on “Adrian Loveridge Column – Getting Ready to Welcome More UK Travellers

  1. The rush is on for a vaccine BUT disturbing reports out of the USA is that 21% of persons polled have expressed concern about taking the vaccine.

  2. I find all of the comments on tourism and a rejig of the product amusing.
    Until Barbados stops mandatory requirement of negative covid tests, until it stops the new requirement of testing “middle risk” countries citizens on day 5 of their visit, until it stops mandatory quarantine at Harrisons point there will be ZERO tourist travel to Barbados.
    The fact is tourists can choose to got to Jamaica and Mexico and not have to face the hassle and trouble of going to Barbados. In what world does anyone believe a tourist on a two week trip will choose to go to Barbados over a 5 start resort in Negril or Ocho Rios or Cancun.
    Trip to Barbados equals – Go to your UK or Canadian Covid test facility and have covid test shoved up your nose. Hope results return within 72 hours. Arrive to Barbados and hope your covid test is accepted. On day 5 of your trip take yourself and entire family to the Barbados covid test facility either at a nearby hotel or the airport and have another swab shoved up your nose. Go back to hotel and stay in hotel room and pray to your god that you do not test positive (a lovely 24 hours of anxiety) as no one wants to go to Harrisons for an unspecified amount of time. OR
    Land in Negril or Cancun, have a temperature check at the airport, pass by and go enjoy your 2 week vacation.
    It is sort of a no-brainer I believe

    Lastly I can tell you that although Bajans might be in fear of the dreaded deadly Covid, the majority of the British and Canadian and USA population is aware that the Covid virus is a harmless virus to 99.9% of people. They know that a couple in their late 30’s or early 40’s with their teenage children are at 0.000000000001% of deadly risk from Covid and will choose their vacation based on where they can go to without any onerous covid protocols.

    Tourism in Barbados will rebound immediately, when Harrisons point is shut down and Covid testing for tourists is stopped. Simple fact

  3. @ricardo

    I had tickets to come Sept 5 on West Jet from Toronto. When I looked at the number of flights coming into BGI on Sept 5 I decided to change to Air Canada on Sunday August 31. Air Canada was the only flight coming into BGI that day of any
    consequence, thus less congestion for arrivals under the protocol.

    It looks like West Jet have cancelled all of their flights to Barbados until October including the one I was suppose to be on. I am here for longer than 2 weeks. I would not consider coming to Barbados for a two week vacation with the protocols that are now in place. Having said that, i feel very very safe here under the protocols that were in place when I arrived. This is a very complicated matter. At this point Barbados has done an outstanding job of keeping the virus under control. Time will tell all other things.

  4. @Ricardo and Traveller – CDC “What is the current situation?

    COVID-19 risk in Jamaica is high. CDC recommends travellers avoid all nonessential international travel to Jamaica. ” Go ahead boys, have your hassle-free travel and possibly endanger the population further along with the possibility of taking home a never-to-be-forgotten souvenir.

    What is it with you people? Are you trying to bully an entire country and government into submission so that you can exercise your right to infect others? It is the responsibility of a government to protect its citizens in times like this. In all probability, you also think that its an infringement of your human rights to insist that you wear a mask in public and that you must maintain social distancing.

  5. Ricardo

    Totally false!

    People are just not travelling period. How would you explain the lack of local travel within the USA, where no testing is required?

    Less than 1 million travel by plane over this holiday weekend so far.

  6. To FearPlay, I am not forcing anything on anyone. I am just pointing out the fact that nations with in-bound travel bans consisting of Covid tests, more covid tests and mandatory quarantine in former military barracks is NOT going to entice any tourists to arrive. Barbados can and should do what it wishes. But to suggest “changes to the tourism product” are all that needs to be done is ballyhoe.
    If Barbados doesn’t change its protocols the 40% rate of unemployment is going to be permanent and the current recession will turn into a long term depression unlike any ever see. Politicians can make the choice, but it definitely will be a choice of the Economy vs Open Borders.

    john2 – The USA averages 2.2 million flight passengers a day, currently it is 800,000. People are moving about. I am sure that many more are now driving in private cars rather than flying due to the covid fear hysteria. Not to mention with unemployment levels at historical highs there is definitely less money to spend. France, Germany, Italy and Spain have been open since June 1 and all have seen tourism rebound, not to pre-Covid levels – but not to what Barbados is stuck in. The Barbados government has admitted airlift is down 91%, Cruise Line is down 100%, hotels down 94%. Nowhere in Europe or the USA do you see such a destruction in airlift or hotel occupancy.

    When it comes to Covid. It is 7 months in now, WE do know the numbers. It is a coronavirus that is harmless to 99.5% of the population. This is not rhetoric but real statistics from the WHO and CDC. In fact the CDC has the incidence fatality rate estimate at 0.29%.
    The travelling public who is not made up of 85 year old geriatrics who have been released from palliative care are at most at the risk of catching covid giving them the symptoms of a cold.

    Lastly, there will be 15% of the population brainwashed to think that if covid lands on their hands and they will die that WILL never travel period and stay locked in their basement.
    However the Travelling poplulation is going to travel because they are not scared or brainwashed to fear Covid, and guess what, they are not going to come to Barbados where testing and testing and government quarantine are a protocol. Travellers will go where there is the path of least resistance.

  7. @Ricardo I guess you voted for Trump last time and will do so again. He’s the man, stable genius and all that. Wiser than any doctor on the planet. And to think that you used his stats to prove that the Barbados Government should not insist on testing and if necessary, quarantine. Shame on you to spew a Trump truth.

  8. @ Ricardo

    Our protocol will remain in place until de GOV deemed It necessary to ease some mandatory procedures. YOU or any others who has conflict with BDS safety implementations, don’t have to come to our paradise.

  9. @ Ricardo
    We don’t need de likes of you

    SeaDream weighs new round-trip Barbados cruises starting SeaDream Yacht Club is considering a new weeklong Barbados itinerary that would replace its planned Caribbean program this winter.
    Calls at St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada
    The itinerary includes St. Vincent and the Grenadines as well as Grenada and would start Nov. 8, if it goes ahead.

    When looking at the upcoming Caribbean season, SeaDream — which successfully restarted cruise operations in Norway on June 20 on only four weeks’ notice — thought of trying something different from its published plans, explained Emilio Freeman, VP itineraries and destinations, during a webinar update Thursday.

    Freeman researched places SeaDream would be welcome and that are currently open for tourism, along with more secluded destinations in tune with the company’s yachting flavor.

    Travelers most likely will be tested for coronavirus three times before embarking, Brynestad said. Barbados requires a negative test taken within 72 hours before arriving at the airport and likely would test travelers from high-risk countries like the United States upon arrival, plus SeaDream would test everyone before they embark.

    Where billionaires go to get away from millionaires’
    The proposal is a cruise that would embark at Bridgetown on Sunday, call at Kingston, St. Vincent (Monday), Port Elizabeth, Bequia (Tuesday and overnight), Canouan Island (Wednesday), Mayreau (Thursday), Grenada’s St. George’s (Friday), Tobago Cays and Union Island (Saturday) and disembark in Barbados (Sunday).

    Freeman said these stops offer friendly people; ‘smooth, silky sand beaches’; and are places where the rich go to get away. (One destination he cited as ‘where billionaires go to get away from millionaires.’)

    Ting of luggage and public areas, no self-service and UV-C treatment of accommodations after nightly turndown service, among others.

    In SeaDream’s Norway program, which continues through September, one former passenger later tested positive on arriving home in Denmark. Everyone on SeaDream I was immediately quarantined on board and PCR tested, and all were negative so the voyage continued. The Danish man subsequently retested negative.

    Sandy Lane Diamond 💎 Hotel, booked solid for this winter season “RICARDO”…

    Nuts, sugar-cakes, toffees n mints, WHO CALLING…..?????

  10. Tony, my man, your forgot comforts: nuts, sugar cakes, comforts, toffees, nut crisps and mints,,,,,who callling? hahaha, you seem to be an old timer like moi.,

  11. “Travellers will go where there is the path of least resistance.”

    Travellers will go where they feel is safe.

    The government of Barbados must not change winning protocols just to satisfy a few; an indication that the virus is out of control and the number of visitors would dry up.

    Good job by FearPlay, Tony and John2.

  12. theo, dam, fearpla tony john2

    It is September 8 and Barbados hotels are down 94% from capacity and airlift 91%. We can revisit this in 2 weeks, 1 month and 2 months and see where the numbers are at. You can see if your hypothesis that travellers will come to barbados because they feel safe (by the way as of now not happening and its been a month) or my hypothesis based on some facts that unless protocols change that 95% non occupancy will be the norm, 40% unemployment and god forbid the social and economical ills that will come along with it. Because if unemployment stay this way those crowds we see in front of massey and popular during lockdown in april will become looters come end of November (empty bellies with empty wallets make a bad couple).

    Oh Tony almost forgot , how was Sandy Lane this past August? Usually 100% occupancy with rich Brits enjoying summer vacation..must have been jam packed with Brits enjoying super safe covid free barbados….OH WAIT MAN…It was CLOSED…OH wait it is Still Closed…I guess having a swab rammed up your nose and chance to go to Harrisons just isn’t in the plans for the typical rich Brit and their family.

    You guys stick to your hypotheses , I unfortunately have my proof.
    And lest not forget I love Barbados and only want the best, I only point out the fact that zero tourism = economic and social collapse, and Harrison + covid testing = ZERO tourism

  13. Ric

    Is the Air travel in the USA down by 70% because They are stikking the swabs up their noses?

    10% in Ine month for Barbados is good if you compare it to 30%. In the USA for 6 months

  14. Cummins: Not business as usual

    MINISTER OF TOURISM Senator Lisa Cummins says there are extensive plans to reposition Barbados as a strong competitive force in the global tourism market.
    In her maiden address to the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) during its third quarterly meeting held virtually yesterday, the new minister declared “it won’t be business as usual”, while announcing the planned establishment of a Value Chain Council in a few weeks to “reimagine” the sector.
    Cummins said it would be constituted from among the hotel sector, the productive sectors such as the Small Business Association, as well as the “drivers of capital and labour”. Initiatives coming out of this body should be rolled out by January 2021.
    She informed the BHTA membership of several actions being taken for the future direction of the industry. Among them are a redesigning of the private/public sector partnership (PPP) plan for the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and advancing work on PPP arrangements for the premier attraction, Harrison’s Cave, as well as Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA).
    In the case of Harrison’s Cave, she reported that four bids had been received and assessed and recommendations would be made to Cabinet “by this week” on how to proceed with that arrangement.
    The airport PPP was “well under way”, Cummins added, with institutions such as the University of the West Indies, Central Bank of Barbados, Inter-American Development Bank and the International Financial Corporation of the World Bank having been roped into the planning. However, she pointed out some components of the PPP would not fall into the concession arrangement and would remain under Government control.
    The minister, who took up the portfolio on July
    22, said this presented opportunities for the BHTA membership. Cummins cited as an example private hangar services for which she said plans were in train to develop a new business segment to attract more private planes that could benefit the high-end luxury segment.
    Cummins also said Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, International Transportation and GAIA teams had been requested “to move towards the development of a southern aviation hub”. She added Barbados was “looking to be able to build further and expand international partnerships . . . and anchoring our international transportation linkages and relationship with an intraregional platform that feeds traffic into the Southern and Eastern Caribbean”.
    Part of the new tourism plan is also to develop a southern cruise hub, and Cummins said new itineraries that allow for cruises to begin and end here had already been developed.

    Source: Nation Newspaper

  15. Now that we are examining the tourism cupboard and finding it bare, the destruction of the underground structure must rank as one of the most stupid things that we have ever done.

    It seems as if out of shame we have conveniently developed amnesia on this point.

    We have to move beyond sea, sun, sand and friendly natives tourism.

  16. ” In her maiden address to the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) during its third quarterly meeting held virtually yesterday, the new minister declared “it won’t be business as usual”, while announcing the planned establishment of a Value Chain Council in a few weeks to “reimagine” the sector.”

  17. @David yours @6.44am

    So the University only turning out lawyers? I would imagine that in this climate of unemployment surely some local qualifies for this job. The Crane should be made to prove that they haven’t received a suitable applicant.

    BTW I would like to know if a local was doing the job that is now vacant or whether it was filled by someone from overseas this is probably the only Caribbean island where this happens regularly.

    New travel protocols? I thought they were updated just recently

  18. @ Sargeant,

    Minister Lisa Cummings is doing a lot of talking.

    The message I am getting is that the rich are welcome but people like me should go to Cuba or

    • @Hants

      The target is high net worth individuals because of the new normal. It does not mean ordinary tourists are not welcome.

  19. @Sargeant
    Perhaps the non-national was already identified. Would be funny, if he/she is related in anyway to a 12-month visa recipient.

    Or is it 1 down, 79,999 to go.

    I love to see big brains at work.

  20. David,

    You prove my point. The importation of skill sets is done when necessary and often when unnecessary.

    No need to import wholesale.

  21. @ Hants

    You say that in jest, but that is exactly what the all inclusive models demands. A beer that costs $2 in a local shop, costs $18 in most all inclusive hotels.

  22. @HA
    Which all inclusive did you stay at? I stayed at an all inclusive and didn’t have to pay a cent beyond the upfront fee. It was mimosas with breakfast; gin and tonics during the day or whatever specialty beer or drinks that were at the bar. Of course, you paid for the off property adventures but no $18.00 beer.

  23. @Sargeant

    I did not stay there, but had ten friends at Almond in Holetown and we were all drinking in the bar. I paid the bill (after the short security guy allowed me in. The Napoleon affect. He did not even want me to park in the empty car park).

  24. Caswell hitting some good notes
    “Many jobs that can be filled by Barbadians are not filled by Barbadians because some of them not white and that is mostly what it is. But the biggest problem is when they bring these people in, they pay them four and five times more than they pay the local staff and they provide accommodation for them too. So they are not getting any better work because the local staff still do the work for them. It is just that they are in charge,” he said.

    ********Our tourist industry is a joke if we cannot find a qualified Bajan for some of these positions..

    In response to the advertisement, businessman and former Chairman of the now defunct Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) Adrian Elcock also expressed shock on his Facebook page.

    “This is absolute nonsense!!! How can we have almost 40k unemployed, many from tourism; a long legacy of qualified accountants; and this supposedly Barbadian entity can have the temerity to apply for a work permit for a non-national to fill this position, especially at this time?

    “I do hope our usually candid Minister of Home Affairs and ICAB speak out on this crap. How insensitive can the Crane Hotel be??? We have to support each other at this time or we all suffer!” added Elcock.

    *****Question: Would Elcock have spoken out like this if he was “still Chairman” ??

  25. @ David September 10, 2020 6:44 AM

    Barbadians – true or not, I just pass what various internationalists tell me – are infamous for their lack of enthusiasm for work. So if an investor hires a native as a human resources manager, the investor faces the high risk that the manager will fraternise with the lazy people among the staff and thus damage the business. This is why investors prefer foreigners for these jobs. Quite simple.

    As far as our outspoken senator is concerned, I need to warn the senator: he speaks literally of the hotels as new planatations, where the locals work like slaves. That is indeed true. BUT: The senator stole this phrase from me, the jester of BU.

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