Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives has claimed that it will become the first destination in the world to offer points when they launch their Maldives Border Miles campaign on 1st December 2020.
An archipelago of 1,192 coral islands grouped into 26 natural atolls spanning roughly 115 square miles, is the smallest Asian country by land area and population, with around 516,000 inhabitants located south-west of Sri Lanka and India and around 430 miles from the Asian continent.
It is a three-tiered loyalty programme for visitors who will earn points based on the number of visits and duration of stay. Additional points will be awarded for visits to celebrate special occasions. Arrival numbers issued by the Government indicated that the Maldives welcomed around 1.7 million visitors in 2019, up from 1.4 million in 2018.
In some respects the Maldives promotion has many similarities to the MILESCloser initiative we launched nearly twenty years ago, when Barbados was largely perceived as a destination a little further away from many of our competing islands, making it slightly more difficult and expensive to reach. At that time the miles or points required to fly to Barbados were the same, whether travelling (as an example) from California or New York, which at a stroke, took away any price differential deterrent.
Those two decades ago we also suggested to our policymakers that MILESCloser was taken a step further, by introducing a unique single destination branded credit card, in concert with VISA or MasterCard, where holders would gain points or miles to travel to Barbados and stay. This would apply to purchases and payments made irrespectively, whether in the visitors home country or while on holiday in Barbados. And while on island that same card would earn additional points and special discounts at any number of participating tourism partners including hotels, villas, other accommodation options, car rental, restaurants, shopping, attractions and activities etc. Any number of added benefits could be included for people using this proposed card to enhance the desirability and usage, including: pre-registered fast-track immigration clearance, airport/lodging transfers, room upgrades, use of airport lounge and preferred aircraft boarding.
The simple rationale was to enable that cherished guest the economic means to return to Barbados as inexpensively and hassle-free as possible, while building loyalty to the destination. Sadly, the concept was not seriously adopted and again perhaps we have partially lost-out to other competing tourism offerings that chose to seize the opportunities, when presented to them.
Clearly, the Maldives, another largely tourism dependent territory, feels that the new loyalty programme could play an important role in the slow recovery of their vital hospitality sector.
In the past I told a Minister that it is a dangerous thing to have a one legged economy which Barbados is.. And that was in ”good times”. Putting all your eggs in one is not the wise thing to do. I was saying what if we had a serious Hurricane and there was major damage to the Country. We foolishly think God is a Bajan he will always protect us
I didn’t see Corona Virus on the horizon. But here we are, better or worse. I was thinking of being struck by a powerful Hurricane.
Adrian and his ilke think about Tourism where they have upper hand in poorly Managed Hotels and asking the Govt. to intervened by spending lots of money from the Treasury to help them out.
I say no, let them use their own money and the Govt. concentrate on other areas of the Economy, that are crying out for development.
This is a chance to change up the Economy of Barbados. The status quo must not prevail This is the opportunity to do things differently
We now have the opportunity to emancipate the Country. With critical thinking the Govt. can move the majority people in the population from the bottom of the totem pole upwards. .
There are BILLIONS OF DOLLARS sitting in the Banks which can be used. Let these people use their own money to help themselves. They have been babied too long at the expense of the majority people of the Country. And it is time that it should come to an end.
Let them use their own money.
Something to think about:::
Week after week, Adrian writes a column with ideas on how the industry can be improved in his opinion. Every suggestion may not work, but there he is offering constructive suggestions.
Week after week, we have others whom have made careers out of studying the various reasons that any idea for improvement presented, will not work.
A wise man one said “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most do.” How about offering some constructive alternatives?
We have a professor of tourism economics at the UWI. Has anyone ever read anything he has ever written on the economics of tourism?
Tourism today is a buyer’s market and destinations need to create and introduce incentive programs to attract potential visitors. Suggest interested parties review the recently released UWI Ramphal Centre Policy Paper titled – ” Trading Our Way To Recovery During COVID -19 : RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CARICOM COUNTRIES”.
Over the decades and changing governments, we have not looked at our tourism model to find out if it has been financially profitable for government. We have failed to get our tourism leakage rate down to 40%. We have placed square pegs in round holes in government’s ministry and the other tourism organizations of government. We have had no real plan except to increase tourism visitor arrivals. We have failed to establish strong tourism linkages.
And to give concessions.
Hoteliers need to use their own money to bail out the Tourism Industry instead of sitting on their fannies waiting for Govt. to do everything while they keep their monies in offshore banks and other places. I am not in agreement with using taxpayers from the Treasury to prop up Hotels.
It is time for Hoteliers to show some intelligence instead of sitting and waiting for FREE MONEY from the TREASURY.
USE YOUR OWN FUNDS FOR A CHANGE. Why should Govt. bail out Hotels?????
Is the Govt. going to bail out my Snow cone Cart?????? I am a businessman too.
Or they should appoint you as an economic consultant. We still do not know the conditions under which these family-owned and badly managed hotels are bailed out. Is it equity for debt? Is it a loan? Do we audit books before offering a bail out? How about denying any help to those who owe VAT, national insurance or any other debt to the state?
Another condition should be to look at their business models. How about a sale and lease back? How about new business models?
@Carson there are so many ways in which government could act. My preferred choice is equity for debt and toll it all under a sovereign wealth fund, managed a hands length from the government of the day.
Plse pass this on to Prof Persaud for free. Tell him it is my contribution to the future of Barbados. This is what we are. Keep an eye on the BLP giving that Bds$300m to the hotel class.
@ Stanton Carter,
Plse post a link. I am not sure if this paper is by the tourism economist, but if it is it confirms all that has been said about our academics – they write fr a small clique.
These papers should be in the public space, to encourage and drive public discussions.
Good comment. All I ever hear about is a plan to increase arrivals. That does not automatically result in any real benefit to Barbados.
How much do they spend and with whom? How much of that money remains in the island? How many linkages are their with other industries.
How beneficial is tourism to Barbados?
CORRECTION – THERE
Many Hotels are badly run. I would not bail them out. And like you rightly said many owe Central Govt. tons of money in taxes and other duties, I would make them pay it back first.
Many already have loans which they refused to repay and are now waiting with bated breath FOR MORE FREE MONEY. The Treasury should not be use in that way. Over the years they have accumulated much funds, let them use these funds. They were not in Business for nothing.
What new Business models are they bringing t0 the Barbadian public????? Or is it the same old, same old????? Because that cant work.
P24 of the Throne Speech addresses high level governmentâs approach.
For those that may not know all over the world the tourism sector has been applying for aid. In the USA for instance it was the airlines and the cruise ship sector lead by Royal Caribbean, who saw their share value drop from around $135 USD pre covid to a little under $40 post covid. Such too was the case with the big airline companies out of the USA and the UK. If you recall a few years back it was the automotive sector in the USA all except for Ford from memory. Today they have bounced back and repaid their loans with interest.
The point is no company i know of can see a 80% fall in business and maintain its structure post covid unless it had massive levels of retained earnings and high margins. I am not aware that any of the hotels here with the exception maybe of Sandals enjoys this luxury.
For those that may not remember Cave Shepherds allocated $30M in losses for this year because of covid. How many of you understand that is years of retained earnings lost in one year!
So yes we can argue the hotels run badly or whatever, but let me ask wunna a question. What you got in the short to medium term to replace tourism with? What wunna got that going employ the 40,000 that been lay off? What have you heard Sinkyuh and his crew of thinkers have come up with to diversify the economy?
The point is we have no replacement for tourism nor are we planning for one. You all realise the cruise ships that anchored all over the Caribbean have not moved and next month is November? The word is most will not return to service this winter either so wunna brace for a bleak season.
…In other news. The 2nd wave of Sars Cov 2 is well underway. Many European countries, including our #1 source market, are implementing curfews and and other mobility restrictions. Expect cases and deaths to increase significantly from current levels during the winter months.
At this time the writer should take a sabbatical from writing and take up something more productive.
@ John A October 26, 2020 3:43 PM
I been trying to tell wunnuh all this every since April, but Adrian like ent ondestan.
My friend you preaching to the converted. As you know I wanted that $300M the boss lady throw at tourism divided among tourism and agriculture as well as alternative energy. My view was if you can’t earn a USD then save a USD instead. I guess lettuce heads and solar panels ain’t as glamerous as shiny hotels even if dam empty.
The 300 million was not given to the sector, there is a process to draw down on it.
Yes but only tourism based entities have access to it.
Are there schemes setup for other segments?
At this stage no I have not heard of any.
@ John A
Let us look beyond the abuse of public funds to shore up a corrupt business class, let us assume that the virus continues in to Q1, Q2 next year and the leading vaccine candidates do not work and international travel comes to a halt. What next?
Remember, we are now ten months in to CoVid and since March it has been a global epidemic. Has Barbados pre-ordered any vaccines?
From what i was told orders can not be placed yet for any of the vaccines out the USA or Europe. You might be able to get a few Russian ones though. Lol
I think the most telling sign is the fact that the cruise ships scattered around the region have not been moved. Now we hearing they may sit out the season at anchor in many cases.
Here we are preparing for hordes of English people.. But you know that it funny. They have treated poorly our Descendants to this day. Racism against against our Descendent by the English have never been worse. Recently there was the Wind Rush sandal. Not a Govt. in the Caribbean, , including the Barbadian Govt., intervened on their behalf, it was as though they didn’t exist. They did nothing on their behalf.
Yet welcome the English with open arms. More than they ever did for us. Remember ‘Powell”????>
should be ‘scandal’ on line three.
Remember the Teddy Boys of England. They maimed and hundreds of people from the Caribbean including Barbadians
What do we think about that ????? Where were our Academics???? What did they do????
But our PRIME MINISTER AND SIR HILLARY BECKLES find time to intercede in GUYANASE INTERNAL AFFAIRS.
Carson C Cadogan you are a scandalous trouble maker. You really do not understand the hotel industry how every day a hotel is closed the loss of not just income, but the operating costs of the property which keep coming even if they are shuttered.
The trade says that 30% of hotels world-wide including groups will go out of business by 2021, perhaps you will be happy to see the 50% possibility for Barbados become a reality.
Barbados is so lucky to have a wonderful tourist industry. They are so fortunate to have professionals like Adrian Loveridge. He never gives up keeps working hard, dreaming scheming, he is amazing.
Then all you can do Mr Cadogan is criticise and pull down. You seem to have a little racist running through you, I hope my perception is wrong.
What have you ever done to help the situation, it will be great to hear about that.
Well I have just looked up all your outstanding achievement’s and wonder what has gone wrong to turn you into a bitter old man? What has happened to turn you so venomously against the hotel industry?
Today’s Nation Editorial.
“managed a hands length from the government of the day.”
Hal you drinking that poor Bajan acholic rum again to think this statement is remotley possible. ANYTHING under Barbados “minor” government control will be CORRUPTED for personal gain. A sovergien wealth fund is only possible in countries that have WEALTH, OF WHICH Barbados has none.
The people get the governments they deserve.
@Hal Austin – Oct 26,2020, 1:15PM
Here is the link:
@ David [BU]:
Do you know what’s the latest with the erection of the Hyatt hotel?
Why is the current political administration no longer touting it as the economic game-changer for country and, by extension, the phoenix for Bridgetown?
Why is this administration ‘talking’ about turning the Government HQ location into a site for a conference centre?
Isn’t the ‘World’ going into cyberspace?
Is this administration ‘encouraging’ citizens to conduct business over the internet?
Isn’t the current administration conducting ‘Cabinet’s’ business and even the country’s Parliamentary affairs on viral platforms?
There was a comment from government spokesman a few weeks ago citing COVID for the slowdown in tourism related projects in the pipeline. As you can appreciate this is understandable, predictable even.
@ Stanton Carter
@ David October 28, 2020 9:30 AM
We do not understand.
Isn’t the Hyatt erection first a construction project much needed to stimulate job creation and economic activity in the local economy with its promised multiplier effects?
Why not go ahead with its construction so that the hotel will be ready to welcome the ‘vaccinated’ guests in a post-Covid 2022?
Why can’t we simply accept that there is no US$ 175 million sitting around to spend in a sunset industry?
Hopefully those seized with the pertinent information will feel inclined to respond.
Hotels can be converted to Condos or rental apartments and vice versa
Golf courses can be converted to vegetable and food crop farming ( credit Cubangovernment minister ) and vice versa
Roads can be repaired. Beaches can be kept clean.
Bridgetown can be rejuvenated.
The possibilities are almost endless.
Surely the BU brainiacs and maguffees can come up with a plan to save Barbados and make it prosper.
It’s a case of supply vs demand. Right now we have massive supply and little demand. Remeber too even in good times pre covid the industry struggled to get an annual occupancy level above 60%. This winter we would be blessed to even see a 60% occupancy in winter farless year around.
The ”loss” made by the central bank due to debt restructuring is immaterial. Those ”losses” are not funded from the budget. The ministry of finance can easily remedy that with a little accounting magic. Just issue more new notes to cover the bad notes and you are good to go.
@ John A
During the 2007 Cricket World Cup local hotels had a 70 per cent occupancy – and that was at a time when we had ships and pre-BNB accommodation.
I reckon it must now be about ten percent. Quarantined travellers must be their biggest customers.
@David. Our ancestors survived without tourism for years, we will have to do the same, but with severe belt tightening and adjustment in lifestyle. Over five years ago, I drastically reduce my consumption of wheat flour and rice. I have experimented with some sweet potato, plantain, and cassava flour since and no turning back for me. I just reaped two acres of potatoes last week to make flour.
Simple fact, the tourism sector is here to stay and can never be replaced. However, they should never have been treated different from any other business and millions should not have been made available to them alone. Unfortunately, we are all in the tourism industry whether directly or indirectly.
Support should have been more across the board and taken two forms:
1) Financial Support NIS to extend the unemployment benefits period to 3 months after the state of emergency declaration ends. This would immediately take the salary pressure off businesses, offer a proper safety net to laid-off employees and keep the economy turning over until businesses have a sense if they are still viable post COVID.
2) Offer zero or super low interest loans to businesses once they open their books to scrutiny to support their operational expenses during the same state of emergency.
@ Hal Austin
If you look at the Covid Test numbers every day, one can approximate the arrivals number. USA, UK, and Canada are all high risk so all get second tests. There are about 225 tests per day being done. So, we are now Oct 31 and the new protocol of a second test went into effect a couple of weeks ago so the testing must be very close to the average daily arrival number.
Do visitors go in to quarantine after the first test, even those that are negative? What is the infection rate in Barbados? I am still keen to see the figures for average monthly deaths in 2019, and those for this year so far. Just a statistical comparison.
And oh dear, David! The “any idiot can play cricket” comment came from the FATHER OF THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION! A great influence in her life?????
Something to think about.
The man is ole school in the mould of Lammie Craig. You should not place too much in it. The error is with the political strategist not giving him talking points to hit.
Oh dear! Wrong blog!
Yes, everyone has to quarantine at a approved hotel/facility, even those with a negative first test, They get released after a second negative test.
I was just trying to estimate the average daily arrivals. I think the number of daily tests is a pretty good indicator of that given the below requirements( copied from the govbb web site).
“Is the 2nd PCR test mandatory?
Yes, it is now mandatory for Travellers from High -Risk and Medium-Risk countries to receive a 2nd test while on island.
You will be retested 4 to 5 days after the date of your first accepted negative test. Typically this will be on day 2 or 3 after arrival, once your test was taken 3 days prior to arrival.”
All arrivals from high risk countries must quarantine at a approved hotel and have a second test. That includes Canada, USA and UK and some smaller arrival destinations. . If you are arriving from Canada you maybe able to get tested at the airport but you still have to quarantine after that and get a second test ,which is this case is going to be 5 days after you arrive.
” The Government of Canada has put in place emergency measures to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in Canada. You must quarantine for 14 days, provide contact information and monitor yourself for symptoms subject to any Order made under the Quarantine Act imposing isolation or quarantine requirements upon entry.”
Thr BTMI should target Canadians who work from home.
On the eve of LIAT returning to the skies, Guadeloupe-based Air Antilles has increased its service to 8 weekly flights between St. Lucia and Barbados and 4 weekly flights from Barbados to Dominica.
Perhaps Gaston Browne should look at LIAT servicing routes from Antigua to Anguilla, St. Kitts/Nevis, Montserrat, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Marteen, St. Barthelemy, British Virgin Islands……….
The lucrative routes are in the south.
I know, but with the number of airlines servicing the south, LIAT will have a tough time reintroducing itself into the market. Additionally, the airline had a terrible customer service record…….. from the rude booking agents in Antigua to delayed flights for several hours.
But, that was during a time when there weren’t many other airlines to choose from. And, based on their experiences, I don’t believe customers’ impression of LIAT would change immediately, simply because ‘(1974) Ltd.’ has been replaced with ‘(2020) Ltd.’
LIAT still has top of mind brand awareness. If the price is right with good customer service forced by the competition it may be able to win back business.
If CoVid tests give an indication of the number of travellers, does that include locals who have been tested? By the way, has the minister of tourism said why she has such confidence in tourists from the UK? The UK government has discussed using ice rinks as mortuaries in one of its risk assessments. Does this indicate a people who will be travelling soon.
Jobs are on the line, even Transport for London has just got a loan of £1.8bn because it is in financial trouble. Is that a good indicator of future t ravelling?
NHS staff are tired having to work for nine months without a break, does that indicate they want to travel to Barbados for a holiday? They have to come up with new ideas.
There is no local community spread so I assumed any tests included for locals would not be significant. Returning nationals have to be tested so they would be included in the test numbers. The number of second tests can also give a pretty good inference as to flight loads compared to capacity. On a day when 2 BA flights come in, 1 Virgin, 1 AC, 1 American, 1 Jet blue, and 1 carib, 1 euro wing there are about 1500 seats. available. That is without “bubble” travel. If we see the number of tests significantly growing then we know average airlift is coming back to a reasonable capacity..