Adrian Loveridge Column – Keeping Tourism Alive

Last week the global communications agency, Finn Partners, released a fascinating, well researched and insightful report, entitled Domestic Tourism-Recovery Starts at Home, which highlights 25 of the world’s most innovative and creative campaigns that show how domestic tourism is helping destinations recover until international travel substantially returns.

In their words ‘As travel restrictions around the world remain in flux, the impact of the global pandemic on tourism and hospitality continues to weigh heavily’, while ‘domestic tourism is returning faster than international tourism and is proving to be the critical lifeline for the global travel industry’s recovery’.

While a concerted national domestic tourism campaign is clearly not the sole answer to Barbados’s challenges, it is a critical integral part of the solution until some sort of controlled normality returns. As well as seeking to entice the substantial percentage of the population who have not been economically significantly affected by the pandemic, including tens of thousands of Government workers, it also gives some sort of positive assurance to the hundreds of small businesses trying to hang-on until meaningful overseas visitor arrivals return.

It begs the question, are we really all in this together?

So far, our single largest generator of foreign currency and employment has not received any financial relief, many of which were already under severe fiscal pressure, even before Covid-19. The promised reduction, months ago, in airfare taxes has not yet taken place, despite our policymaker’s success in enticing other airlines to fill the LIAT gap within the region and the establishment of a ‘safe’ travel bubble between certain regional territories.

State owned Trinidad and Tobago subsidized Caribbean Airlines (CAL) recently announced cost-cutting measures that will include the temporary trimming of staff by 33 per cent and the reduction of salaries brings home that it is not just major international carriers that are fighting for their very existence. The inevitable consequence will be a further reduction in route frequency and loss of seat availability.

While CAL’s job losses, temporary or otherwise, may seem almost paltry when compared with airline giants across the globe, we have to bear in mind that at least four of the largest carriers that currently service Barbados, (American, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and the Lufthansa Group will have collectively cut over 104,000 jobs by the end of this month.

Contrary to a minority view across some uninformed industry observers, tax reduction is not yet another perceived way of propping up our tourism industry. Rather it is a manageable tactical tool for making what is often accepted as a largely overpriced product, more affordable to locals, residents and attracting first time visitors.

Unless Government has a master-plan, yet to be revealed, with an objective to resurrect the many failed tourism partners who have already bitten-the-dust, or may do shortly. We have to learn to work with what we have and what is here and now.

45 thoughts on “Adrian Loveridge Column – Keeping Tourism Alive

  1. No amount of discounts, offers and gimmicks are going to change the simple fact that the entire Tourism Business model is fundamentally broken and is no longer viable.

    I also have to question whether the model was ever truly as profitable as it has claimed to be. COVID came at the end of the winter season heading into the slow period where hotels would tend to focus on maintenance, Crop Over and the coming Winter season. If the model truly makes as much money as it claims, they should have enough money in the bank to be able to ride out the storm till the coming winter season.

    Tourism is dead as a door nail as long as all these travel conditions and restrictions are in place with no cheap effective outpatient therapeutics being put out there to allay the fears of people dying if they get COVID19. Furthermore, if they do catch it and require treatment, they fear the imprisonment and any resulting medical bills that might put them in the poor house.

  2. Nothing less than a marketing plan like the following has a chance of working.

    Come to Mask Free Barbados where we have COVID beat. We will Test, Medicate and Put you in the Sand, Sea and Sun to Relax and Recover.

    As long as our marketing plan remains Test, Quarantine, Test again and Imprison (Sorry, I mean Isolate) tourists ain’t coming here in droves.

    Time to stop flogging the bones of the dead and decayed Tourism horse and move on.

  3. @critical analyzer I fully agree with your assessment of no tourism happening until test and potential weeks long isolation of tourists is not scrapped in Barbados. Not to exaggerate, I already know of 11 Brits who cancelled their trip to Barbados since the High Risk label was placed on the UK. These are people who could comfortably afford the 2-3 day fee of first quarantine at the Crane, however none of them wants to take the 1% chance of being caught with Covid and having to stay in isolation for weeks until they receive 2 negative tests.
    However I do disagree that tourism is dead. The vast majority of employment now and into the future is in the service industry. The concept that Barbados can manufacture things such as washers & dryers or chairs and tables or picture frames and export them to the world is unachievable. Service jobs are now 80% of world employment and growing. Again it would be lovely if Barbados became a silicon valley of the Caribbean, however again unachievable. I am not saying there can’t be small software developers, architects and engineers and other professions catering to the clientele of the world but that will not employ 90% of Bajans.
    Tourism is the core competency that Barbados has been gifted with from Mother Nature. Adrian is correct in that the onerous taxes imposed by Barbados as well as other Caribbean governments on travel to here and within the region are definitely a brake on the potential growth of the product.
    If anything now is the time to take the initiative and double and triple down on tourism. There should be 5 more Hyatt Ziva hotels/condominiums built along the bay (all with many access points for Bajans). The south coast product has numerous derelict or close to derelict properties that should be rejuvenated and built up. Tens of thousands of jobs can be created and sustained. The fact is the Caribbean has no competition on Earth other than itself. And with a billion people living in North and South America as well as 500 million Europeans a mere 9 hour flight away there is plenty of customers to keep Barbados full all year round.

    Open the country up, ask for a negative Covid test on arrival and that is it. Ensure the health care system is robust and you have a strong supply of medication required for seriously ill people (of Covid and other illnesses).
    Get over this 1 case of Covid is too many mentality, because if that is the mentality now then it HAS to be the mentality forever should it not? Covid is the flu, it will be here forever, people will catch it and 0.00001% will die from it and the rest will live on. Build up the roads and electric and water infrastructure of the island, reach out to developers and hotel chains and tell them Barbados is truly open for a boom and get rid of the onerous airline taxes to ensure guests get a great value when staying here.

    • Javon Griffith
      Barbados TravelAdvisor

      My experience with British Airways BA2155 LGW-BGI Oct 4 2020
      I booked my PCR test 11 days in advance with CityDoc London – Mooregate for Oct 1 at 3:10pm. Results returned Oct 2 at 7:30pm. So 28 hour turnaround for £110. Completed the online travel form on my iPad Saturday morning. Zero issues. Biometric passport page and test results uploaded easily. Please note this website currently does not accept PDF attachments. Simply screenshot your test result PDF and attach.
      Arrived at LGW at 8:30am for the 11:20am flight. Only two passengers were in the entire queue at 8:45am.
      The check in agent confirmed to me that they were only instructed to check for a test taken within 3 days of the flight. Not 72 hours. To further confirm this, they were not asking what time the test was done. They were only interested in the date.
      Boarding commenced 10:40hrs with First Class. Then rows 39-30 (World Traveller) then they called “all remaining World Traveller passengers” which would be rows 29 to 26. Next up was World Traveller Plus rows 25-21. Then rows 15-10 (Club World). Group numbers no longer apply. For example my boarding pass was group 1, but I was one of the last to board.
      Everyone was wearing a mask including all airline and airport staff. After take off as I looked around, masks only briefly came off to eat and drink. BA is definitely aware that many people have been taking off their masks and taking an hour to consume/baby a drink. They have revised the wording in the onboard announcement to state that masks can be taken off for a brief reasonable period and are not to remain off for the entire meal service.
      The flight had only 132 passengers onboard according to the Cabin Service Manager and some of this was due to persons being denied boarding. He was not in a position to quantify the number left behind today. What I can definitely state is that the seat map I reviewed online the day before while checking in, had far more seats assigned than passengers who actually flew today.
      The flight was uneventful. Fantastic British hospitality as per usual.
      On arrival, deplaning was done in small batches as per BA policy. First (rows 1-4) left first. Then Club World (rows 10-15). Then World Traveller Plus (rows 21-25). World Traveller (rows 26-39) were split in two.
      Relaxing at the Hilton. Scheduling my second test for Tuesday to hopefully check out on Wednesday! Happy to answer any questions anyone may have who maybe travelling this week.

  4. Clearly those involved in tourism are failing to grasp the reality for tourism so let me help wunna.

    Every major source market for Bim is showing increases in Covid cases. Canada is flying 2 flights a week using their smaller plane and in October, some days have less than 50 people on them. Now with the infections all expected in these markets to increase going into December and strict covid protocols in place here, who de ass getting on a plane !

    They are 3 schools of thinking on any topic. There is Optimism, pessimism and then there is reality. Pelt out de first 2 and use the third when you talking about tourism and our economy on the whole please!

    I have said before and it is coming to pass that $300M should never have been thrown in tourism. We should of put $150M there and the balance behind food and alternative energy. Open wunna eyes and mind and understand if your source market seeing increased cases you will see few arrivals.

  5. One has to look at what is happening in source markets regarding Covid tests and the returning quarantine requirements. It is not just Barbados entry requirements that are effecting travel.

    First off, getting a test in Ontario where the results are posted within 3 days is becoming difficult to achieve. Secondly, upon return to Canada one has to quarantine for 2 weeks. That means for short vacationers, unless you are working from home that is a problem. Schools in Ontario are open so students would not be able to return to school for 2 weeks after they return. These issues are likely a bigger influence on not travelling than the requirements of entering Barbados. There are simply too many “what ifs” at the moment for most potential tourists from Canada to deal with.

  6. @Traveler

    Yes you are correct, then when you add that to the increase in global cases it does not create an environment for tourism travel.

    We also don’t want to discuss the economic fall out covid has caused in our major source markets where unemployment and under employment is an issue along with business closures. The UK has already signalled that they can not continue to print money at the rate they have been for much longer. The USA is already holding back on future financial packages and Canada for us is basically dependant on Air Canada, who are currently suffering from light loads into Bim.

    The tourism people need to understand regardless of their deals, if the demand for the product is slim you can’t create demand where none exist. .

    • @John A

      Your point is accepted, tourism numbers will not reach pre-covid for a long time to come if ever. The governments of the region with service based economies seem helpless how to supplement the sector. Bear in mind as we have discussed many times the indirect effect of tourism on the economy. We are in a lot of dodo.

  7. I was expecting Ricardo and critical to go into hiding with the news of six new cases in Barbados. It is difficult to understand, how they remain unchanging even in the face of recent events.

    Twice, I have speculated at why they adopted this approach and twice I was wrong. Perhaps, they have an old relative with comorbidities that they wish to kill off.

  8. @ david

    More the reason why we should be looking at alternative ways of saving FX as a matter of urgency.

    If we can’t earn it like before then let us put in place ways of reducing the demand for it. Don’t take a rocket scientist to figure out you can’t spend what you can’t earn.

  9. “no cheap effective outpatient therapeutics being put out there to allay the fears of people dying if they get COVID19.”

    Not that they aren’t out there, but unless they are money spinners for the likes of Dr Fauci, Bill Gates and Pharma (so much for the cheap part) you know they will be ignored while Vaxxinator-In-Chief Gates continues to smirk from TV and computer screens as he assures the everyone that the only hope they have for a semi-normal lifestyle is for a vaccine(s) with unpredictable (and more likely than not) harmful side effects (for which governments will be expected to bear the financial burden) and likely some type of tracking device included in the deal as well at some point.

    “There are cheap and effective ways to treat patients suffering from [COVID-19], and we should be studying this. We should be allowed to report on it, and we should be allowed to study it. [If we were], we wouldn’t have the travesty that’s happened to our country.”– David Brownstein MD

    Dr. Brownstein’s peer-reviewed paper A Novel Approach to Treating COVID-19 Using Nutritional and Oxidative Therapies as published in Science, Public Health Policy, and The Law can be downloaded here:

    FYI the subjects’ ages ranged from 2 to 85 and there were co-morbidities as well.

    A Novel Approach to Treating COVID-19 Using Nutritional and Oxidative Therapies


    Objective: This report is a case series of consecutive patients diagnosed with COVID-19
    treated with a nutritional and oxidative medical approach. We describe the treatment program
    and report the response of the 107 COVID-19 patients.

    Study Design: Observational case series consecutive.

    Setting: A family practice office in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan.

    Patients: All patients seen in the office from February through May 2020 diagnosed with
    COVID-19 were included in the study. COVID-19 was either diagnosed via PCR or antibody
    testing as well as those not tested diagnosed via symptomology.

    Interventions: Oral Vitamins A, C, D, and iodine were given to 107 subjects (99%). Intravenous
    solutions of hydrogen peroxide and Vitamin C were given to 32 (30%) and 37 (35%) subjects.
    Thirty-seven (35%) of the cohort was treated with intramuscular ozone. A dilute, nebulized
    hydrogen peroxide/saline mixture, with Lugol’s iodine, was used by 91 (85%).
    Main Outcome Measures: History and physical exam were reviewed for COVID-19 symptoms
    including cough, fever, shortness of breath, and gastrointestinal complaints. Laboratory
    reports were examined for SARS-CoV-2 results. Symptomatic improvement after treatment
    was reported for each patient consisting of first improvement, mostly better, and completely

    Video with Dr Brownstein explaining his protocols for treating Covid-19

  10. @TheOGazerts October 5, 2020 1:41 PM
    If you had been following my posts especially on the COVID Updates, I have been saying we need to treat people as we will have cases out in the wild sooner or later. Look at Trump and the White house with all their daily testing and it still got out. We were only burying our heads in the sand and pretending we were good by we bajans like to put up appearances. Keeping up Appearances don’t fool COVID nor me.

    The problem is with this flawed mask, mask, mask and more mask mentality. First thing out people mouth is mask as if that can forever keep out COVID.

    We have to bite the bullet now and live with this thing and treat the people as outpatients, give them the medication and get back to living our lives and stop sending our country further into depression.

  11. Masks are in the view of every leading epidemiologist globally the best protection against covid. That is now a well accepted and proven fact.

    Unless we can restrict new cases and control spread, as a tourist destination we are finished. All in all I support the measures our government has put in place with the mask wearing and other measures. I think the fact that most of the new cases so far have been Imported ones, bears testimony to that.

    What people have to realise is the pre covid economy and way of living is gone in the short to medium term. So get use to waking on a morning dressing in your pants shirt and mask. Will we ever return to the good old days? Only time will tell, what is for sure though is if we don’t adhere to the guidelines like the USA has done, we will end up like them and we have neither the money or medical facilities to entertain that.

  12. Apparently Adrian, you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. Is is so disappointing though , that tourism industry leaders are failing so dramatically to understand their new operating environment.

    Staycations cannot have a significant impact on the survival of the tourism industry in Barbados because there is not enough disposable income earned by a sufficient number of people In other sectors. In places like Canada and the UK tourism is a much smaller fraction of the economy, so there is enough wealth generated in other sectors for them to spend enough on staycations and restaurants to make at least a minimal impact.

    Why do tourism experts have so much trouble with simple arithmetic?

  13. @peterlawrencethompson
    “Why do tourism experts have so much trouble with simple arithmetic?”

    The tourism experts never learnt simple arithmetic, they learnt tourism arithmetic. 1 + 1 = 2 in simple arithmetic but in tourism arithmetic 1 + 1 = 3. Where the extra 1 come from you ask, from concessions, tax breaks, and other handouts of course.

  14. @CA 2.03
    As I read mask, mask, mask and more mask….all I could think of was boots, boots, boots and more boots.

  15. Imagine we are in the midst of a global pandemic and people are spouting nonsense about getting tourism on track.

  16. Same old share AS before
    In the USA airline travel is way down and we going to Get plane loads form here running down to Barbados if the drop the protocols?

  17. @NorthernObserver October 5, 2020 6:23 PM

    @CA 2.03
    As I read mask, mask, mask and more mask….all I could think of was boots, boots, boots and more boots.

    Good catch. I was not even studying that Gabby song when I wrote it but it is one of my all-time favourites.

  18. @critical anlalyzer as usual is spot on…by the way masks are useless and everyone in the health care industry knows this, sorry useless to stop the spread of a respiratory viral disease such as the Cold or Flu or Covid Cold.
    And regarding tourism, just compare the test test possible isolate of Barbados to the wide open fun of Cancun offered by Air Canada Vacations

    5 star resorts, excellent food, beautiful beaches, 1 hour from mayan pyramids, the competition is out there and as long as the travel protocols stay in place (that do nothing in the long run as every Bajan is going to catch Covid eventually) the competition is going to eat Barbados breakfast , lunch and dinner

  19. The modern dynamic and interconnected economy wasn’t design for this kind of sustained disruption. Its akin to a nuclear power plant or industrial kiln shutting down. The economic carnage won’t be pretty when this is over. One of my concern is the soundness of the financial system and how long can they sustain this kind of stress.

  20. It’s Barbados!
    Island wins award for being cruise ship safe haven
    BARBADOS HAS REAPED it first major reward for providing a safe haven for cruise ships left out to sea during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Yesterday it copped the Destination Of The Year Award, announced in Hamburg, Germany, by Ingo Sorensen, assistant vice-president, global cruise sales, Oracle Hospitality, at the virtual Seatrade Cruise Awards.
    Oracle Hospitality was the principal sponsor of the 14th cruise awards scheme.
    The award is given to a region, tourism body or association which has made significant strides in promoting cruise tourism over the past 12 months. The three finalists were Barbados, Cruise Copenhagen, and St Kitts and Nevis.
    Announcing the results, Sorensen said: “During the COVID-19 pandemic, Barbados remained a place where home-porting cruise lines found a safe haven, warmth and hospitality. In addition, ships were able to collaborate with the Bridgetown Port and the broader destination to repatriate crew.”
    Well deserved
    Describing it as a “well deserved award”, Minister of Tourism Lisa Cummins, the former chairman of Barbados Port Inc., told the MIDWEEK NATION it had come at a time when tourism needed all of the boost it could get.
    “I think, in particular, one of the key things we should pay attention to is that Barbados distinguished itself not just as a cruise destination, but as a humanitarian cruise destination that stood by our cruise
    partners in their time of greatest trouble,” she said.
    The minister added it was for her “a double pleasure because I would have been chairman of the port for the duration of the time that this award would have covered, and I was very proud of leading that team during that period”. She praised the team at the Bridgetown Port for the hard work done in the accommodation of the ships.
    Barbados has provided safe harbour for more than 25 ships from various international cruise lines and facilitated repatriation of hundreds of crew members, including those from European cruise ships from AIDA, P& O Cruises and TUI, as well as North America brands including Seabourn Cruise Line. There are still three ships offshore.
    Cummins said Barbados had managed to exceed the original projection of 840 000 cruise passengers by about 10 000 when COVID-19 brought the cruise season to an abrupt halt.

  21. Announcing the results, Sorensen said: “During the COVID-19 pandemic, Barbados remained a place where home-porting cruise lines found a safe haven, warmth and hospitality. In addition, ships were able to collaborate with the Bridgetown Port and the broader destination to repatriate crew.”
    Is it me or am I missing something, is Sorensen saying the silent part out loud? Did it get the award because it was willing to open its port to cruise ships when others were unwilling to?

  22. Antigua offering two-year stay
    ST JOHN’S – Antigua and Barbuda is joining the growing list of destinations looking to lure digital nomads to work from paradise.
    The Caribbean dual-island nation said this week that it would allow remote workers earning at least $50,000 a year to live and work there for up to two years through a new Nomad Digital Residence program.
    Barbados and Aruba are among the countries that have already announced similar initiatives.
    Antigua and Barbuda’s program provides special resident status to digital nomads who can show the means to support themselves and any accompanying family members as well as whose employers are based outside of the destination. The cost for a single applicant is $1,500. The application cost for a couple is $2,000 and for a family of three or more is $3,000.
    Those who are able to gain digital nomad residency in Antigua and Barbuda will get access to the former British colony’s 365 beaches, world-class diving and deep-sea fishing, ample rental car options, and excellent Wi-Fi and cellular coverage.
    “You can work in any part of the world from Antigua as if you were in your office or home,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne said in a statement.
    Antigua and Barbuda gained its independence in 1981. English is its official language, and it has been largely spared from the effects of the coronavirus. On September 26, it reported just three coronavirus cases, adding up to a total of about 100 cases since the pandemic began.
    “We have learned how to detect infected persons quickly, how to treat them rapidly, and how to contain community spread,” Browne said.
    (The Insider)

    • Why should loyal citizens of a country expect to be paid for contributing to the success of the country?

      We should recognize people for their good deeds, however, part of our problem is that we attach economic value to acticities when there should be no need.

  23. Copy cats?
    Just like tourism?
    The best Barbados can do is to get out fast, first and with an excellent product.

    These islands have similar problems and are selling the same product. We can be first to market, but we can be certain that a good idea will be copied and if possible, it will be improved on

  24. PLT’s concept as adopted by the GOB will be good for Barbados.

    There will be some who will extend their stay beyond one year. Some may even choose settle in Barbados.

    It does not matter who copies what you do. It is up to you to make your idea workable.

    I am betting that at least 2000 Canadians will be getting their Barbados Welcome Stamp by the middleof 2021.

  25. PLT missed a trick with his tourism scheme. Barbados would have been better of opening up its borders to 200 tec savvy individuals from the continent of Africa. If they had arrived in March we would have already witnessed an improvement in our I.T. capabilities.

    Long term these young entrepreneurs will bring more to the table then the run-of-the-mill blue eyed westerner; whose main priority would be to seek shelter from their covid-19 decimated countries.

  26. @ TLSN
    I am told that there have been successful Welcome Stamp applications from Nigeria, but I have not met any yet.

  27. @ PLT,
    No disrespect to Dr Adeoye. I was looking at East Africans, particularly Kenyans. Nigeria has a population of over 200 million. Even amongst their African neighbours they are not welcomed. Ask a Ghanaian or a South African.

  28. “Nigeria’s Loss, Ghana’s Gain
    Ghana has successfully positioned itself as the beneficiary of Nigeria’s puzzling withdrawal from the global investment table. As the next largest English-speaking country in West Africa with favourable travel and trade conditions, Ghana has quietly gone about its business. It has a simple and transparent visa policy. It is also strengthening its passport through a series of bilateral travel agreements, allowing for easier access to more destinations for its citizens.

    Ghana’s ‘Right to Return’ campaign has generated huge interest among African-Americans and Afro-Caribbeans who want to visit or relocate to the continent. In 2018, Ghana issued roughly 80,000 visitor visas. Between January and September 2019, 750,000 visitor visas were issued, allowing more money and skills to easily flow into Ghana.

  29. It does not matter who copies what you do. It is up to you to make your idea workable.

    But it does in this case. After Antigua who is next? Grenada? St. Lucia? Since there is nothing proprietary, the CV19 nomad visa will quickly become commoditized throughout the region. Like any commodity, it then becomes a pricing issue for the customer. For random traveller Xi Jin what’s the difference between Barbados and Antigua?

  30. Published on Thursday, October 8, 2020
    In conversation with Barbados tourism

    Barbados’ new Minister of Tourism, Senator Lisa Cummins, took on the role in June.

    She speaks to TravelMole’s Graham McKenzie about plans for the island and explains the new Covid-19 rules for visitors.

  31. @ David, not crossing you but….

    Lisa Cummings is a very good communicator and her tone is more pleasing than the PM.

  32. I hope the BTMI is targetting the 6 million people in the Greater Toronto Area.

    Some of them are potential Welcome Stamp / remote workers.

    ” TORONTO — It was the best September on record for Toronto home sales, with 42.3 per cent more sales closing last month than in September 2019.

    The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board says 11,083 existing homes were sold in September, at an average price of $960,772.”

  33. @October 7, 2020 9:28 PM
    But it does in this case. After Antigua who is next? Grenada? St. Lucia? Since there is nothing proprietary, the CV19 nomad visa will quickly become commoditized throughout the region. Like any commodity, it then becomes a pricing issue for the customer. For random traveller Xi Jin what’s the difference between Barbados and Antigua?

    “The Cayman Islands is just one of the many warm-weather destinations hoping to lure back tourists by offering longer stays. Bermuda, Aruba, and Barbados all have their own programs for WFH employees desperate to try something new.”

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