Adrian Loveridge Column – Tourism Goose Must be Fed

In view of the most recent dramatic changes, due to Covid -19 developments, both at home and overseas, is it time to think again about lifting some, if not all of the taxes and levies imposed on our tourism industry, at least until there is some evidence of recovery?

It must be obvious by now that many of our tourism businesses are not going to survive a further prolonged period without some sort of meaningful inducement or relief. Despite all the challenges to the private sector in terms of employment there still remains a large number of salaried people who apparently have little or no possibility of losing their jobs or experiencing lower incomes or reduced working hours, notably public workers.

A reduction in airline taxes was promised several months ago, but so far the secondary added US$35 for flights within Caricom and US$70 for all other destinations is still applied.

A bevy of ‘replacement’ airlines were canvassed and persuaded to introduce Barbados flights on the basis of these assurances, which only subsequently to led to a reduction of planned services, due to the still high intra-Caribbean fares and reduced demand.

Long haul airlines have launched attractive sale prices for early 2021 which means that you can fly from London to Barbados for as little as GB Pounds 324 return for the lowest economy class ticket, but still well over half of that figure is taken up in Government taxes.

As and when travel restrictions are lifted in the United Kingdom and other major markets, inevitably there will be pent up demand, but clearly this is going to be price driven, at least during the initial booking stages.

Of course, Government desperately needs revenue to pay for what many consider a massive oversized civil service, plus its loan and other obligations, but most of us realize that it will be printing money for years to come to cover the true cost of the pandemic. Surely it is better to ensure that our remaining tourism industry is in a fit state to be sufficiently operational when recovery starts to take place?

It is not of course the tourism players who benefit from the lowering or removal of VAT, room and other levies, but the actual consumer.

Some of our hotels and other accommodation offerings have been very proactive with promoting staycations, but is that going to be enough to pay their bills, at least for the next six months?

Ultimately, any Government can only extract taxes in so many ways.

If that means the ultimate point- of-sale cost ceases to be globally competitive, then if those taxes cannot be collected from locals or overseas visitors, it will be forced to find alternative borrowing sources.

47 comments

  • Barbados government offers refunds, free return trips to stranded travellers

    The refund applies to travellers who waited more than 72 hours for COVID-19 test results
    Author of the article:
    Jenny Yuen
    Publishing date:
    Jan 10, 2021 • Last Updated 9 hours ago • 2 minute read
    TORONTO SUN

    Looking down at Crane Beach from the Crane Resort in Barbados. Photo by CYNTHIA MCLEOD

    A number of Canadians who travelled to Barbados and found delays prevented them from obtaining COVID tests needed to return home may get a financial reprieve.

    As of Jan. 7, rules require Canadian travellers to show a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a flight home, and upon landing, they must quarantine for 14 days by law.

    https://torontosun.com/news/national/barbados-government-offering-refunds-future-paid-return-trip-to-stranded-travellers

    Like

  • If ever there should be a supreme case study as to how an industry could so monopolize government’s actions and make a nullity about perceptions of democracy the tourism industry in Barbados and the wider Caribbean must be it.

    David
    We understand Butch Stuart is dead. We trust that the criminal agreement signed by the last regime has also died with him. But Sandals lives forever in this corporate tourism heaven so ours is a mere pipe dream.

    Maybe we’ll be saved by the propensity of Caribbean elites not to build anything which survives the lifetimes of the founders

    Like

  • @Pacha

    The agreement was signed with a legal person that is a company.

    Liked by 1 person

  • peterlawrencethompson

    @Adrian
    You have returned to your tired begging for corporate welfare. The Bajan taxpayer has already doled out hundreds of millions in corporate welfare to the incompetent and ungrateful industry, but you want to impoverish the taxpayer still further. Have you learned nothing over the past ten months of the pandemic?

    Cruise ship tourism is dead, but on an annualised basis the Welcome Stamp visitor spend has already surpassed our best ever cruise tourism year in earnings for Bajan businesses. The tourism industry is still whining because these new earnings do not go exclusively to the traditional tourism sector, but are more equitably distributed around the economy.

    The Barbados tourism industry must stop this infernal whining and begging for corporate welfare and learn to innovate instead. The Barbados Underground community provided the idea that became the Welcome Stamp… notice that the innovation came from OUTSIDE the industry. Those of you in the traditional tourism industry need to wipe your tears, unplug your ears, and start to listen to the ideas of the wider community of Bajans to find innovative ideas, because you have done a terribly poor job of innovating yourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  • PLT
    Our sentiment exactly. The industry has long preferred to die on the wine before it would expose itself to innovation from the collective intelligence of Black people.

    Like

  • Vine

    Like

  • @ Pachamama January 11, 2021 7:14 AM

    The hotel industry is as important to Barbados as the sugar cane plantation was in the 17th/18th centuries.

    Sandals is the new Drax Hall.

    Like

  • Whatever financial resources the Welcome Stamp brought in is being applied to fighting the virus

    Like

  • peterlawrencethompson

    @Tron
    Actually, the “hotel industry is as important to Barbados as the sugar cane plantation was” from 1950 to 1970. That is when sugar production peaked in Barbados at levels 400% higher than the 17th/18th centuries.

    Then the sugar industry collapsed just as the hotel industry is now collapsing. The Barbados taxpayer wasted many hundreds of millions of dollars in doomed attempts to save the sugar industry in the i970s, 80s, and 90’s instead of innovating in the agricultural sector. This is the same pattern that we are now repeating in the tourism industry by trowing public money into the pockets of hotel owners. It is a tragedy and a travesty.

    Paradise Beach is the new Farley Hill.

    Liked by 1 person

  • peterlawrencethompson

    @Mariposa January 11, 2021 8:45 AM
    “Whatever financial resources the Welcome Stamp brought in is being applied to fighting the virus”
    +++++++++++
    It is a good thing we are earning something to pay for fighting the pandemic rather than just going further into debt.

    Notice that COVID cases and quarantine violations are among short term tourists, not Welcome Stampers.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @PLT

    Let us move away from talk about a hotel industry (sector) and talk about the rise and fall of individual hotels. Do you remember the Marine Hotel, Paradise Club, Colony Club, Blue Horizon, Aquatic Club, etc, all and more of them all once enjoying great prestige. At one point we even had at least one hotel on Broad Street.
    Our current hotel model is fractured and by subsidising it government is delaying change. The zombies must be allowed to die.

    Liked by 3 people

  • peterlawrencethompson

    @Hal Austin January 11, 2021 8:56 AM
    The Colony Club survives, but I have never darkened their door on account of the name of the hotel alone.
    The Sun Hotel Group (the Bernie Weatherhead family) and Eco Lifestyle Lodge have been the only ones I know of to innovate in response to the pandemic by configuring properties for long term co-living & co-working.
    Government policy of trying to sustain short term tourism by encouraging hotels to be quarantine centres for vacationers has blown up in their faces with the current surge in COVID cases. This has done tremendous harm to the Welcome Stamp sector as well as vacation tourism, so the policy which was intended to help the hotel sector has in fact hastened its demise.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @PLT

    The Colony Club survives, but at the founding of our tourism industry it was the top hotel, owned by Ronald Tree. It has become an effective boutique hotel.

    Like

  • Thought that earnings from the Welcome Stamp were meant to rebuild the economy and not filtered into one sector
    This whole s.hit is crazy

    Like

  • (Quote):
    Then the sugar industry collapsed just as the hotel industry is now collapsing. The Barbados taxpayer wasted many hundreds of millions of dollars in doomed attempts to save the sugar industry in the i970s, 80s, and 90’s instead of innovating in the agricultural sector. This is the same pattern that we are now repeating in the tourism industry by trowing public money into the pockets of hotel owners. It is a tragedy and a travesty.
    Paradise Beach is the new Farley Hill.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    How then should we explain the GoB’s pigheaded support for the ‘theoretical’ Hyatt hotel concrete erection in the form of a mirage along some hotel corridor in a collapsing Bridgetown?

    Paradise Beach aka the ‘All Seasons Hotel’ fiasco is a more viable project to fit the future face of tourism in Barbados than that concrete behemoth of a 1970’s throwback model of hotel construction.

    Like

  • Peter,
    I have already applauded your comtrubution to The Welcome Stamp concept, but lets get real, if it wasn’t for all the hard work, investment and risk taken by the tourism industry in the past there would be no possibility of the limited contribution that The Welcome Stamp is now making.

    Like

  • peterlawrencethompson

    @Mariposa January 11, 2021 9:24 AM
    “Thought that earnings from the Welcome Stamp were meant to rebuild the economy and not filtered into one sector…”
    +++++++++++++++
    This is a rough breakdown @Mariposa:
    1. the approximately 2,000 households who have been granted a Welcome Stamp so far pay about $4.5 million USD per year in visa fees and this helps the government fight COVID,
    2. the approximately $80 million USD per year that these households spend on goods and services throughout Barbados helps rebuild our economy.

    Of course about a percentage of that $80 million USD also ends up as government revenue because the Welcome Stampers pay VAT on what they purchase and the people making money off of Welcome Stampers are supposed to be paying income tax on those earnings; this also helps to help the government fight COVID.

    Like

  • @PLT

    Are you playing fast and loose with the figures. What are per capita fees, what are estimated spend, etc. What is a percentage, how is it arrived at?

    Like

  • peterlawrencethompson

    @Adrian
    The Welcome Stamp could easily be built into a multi billion dollar FX earning sector were it not for people like you urging that we instead waste our limited resources available for investment into propping up dying short term vacation tourism model rather than building a sustainable long term remote work visitor model for the industry.
    You denigrate the “limited contribution” of the Welcome Stamp is making after only a few months, but you never called the smaller cruise ship sector a “limited contribution” even though it has been surpassed and took decades of heavy public investment to develop. You are simply being illogical.

    Like

  • peterlawrencethompson

    @Hal AustinJanuary 11, 2021 9:38 AM
    “Are you playing fast and loose with the figures.”
    ++++++++++++++++
    No I am not.
    Per capita visa fees are $2,000 USD per individual and $3,000 USD per family per year. These per capita fees are set in legislation (Remote Employment Act 2020)
    The estimated spend per household is $3,340 USD per month from my own research over the past six months sampling over a hundred Welcome Stamp households. https://remoteworkbarbados.com/
    The comparison with the cruise ship industry is derived from publicly available records compiled by the Barbados Port Inc. and Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.
    The arithmetic is simple.

    Like

  • I am no expert on hotels but I can say for sure everything is cyclical, sometimes up sometimes down. Your welcome stamp may be all you say it is , I could easily do it myself but there is a few things I can see as an issue down the road. Its a fad, once this virus is under control one way or another, people are going back where they came from ..then what? I have been coming to barbados 40 years now consider it kind of a second home, but after a few weeks I am pacing the floor looking for something to do believe it or not there is only so much sea ,sun and rum most people can take. There has been times there of praying for a rainy day just to get out of the sun, , been up and down the boardwalk to kill time so many times the locals ask me for directions. A lot of business is hands on those few weeks we escape every year to let our hair down and party should not be under estimated. Barbados is up scale maybe too much, kind of big hat no cattle… compare your numbers to the DR ..I am not saying that the tact you have been on for years is the best one and doesnt need some changes .but dont go all in on another route hedge your bets.

    Like

  • peterlawrencethompson

    @Adrian
    It is time for you to get real Adrian. You made a good contribution to the Barbados tourism in the past… please contribute beyond pleading for corporate welfare… either that or get out of the way of those who intend to build a better future for Barbados.

    Like

  • Peter,
    sadly you are absolutely wrong. I have in fact questioned the massive taxpayer investment in our limited cruise sector and its contribution, many, many times over decades and called for the justification. All I am saying is that you are fortunate to have the entire tourism industry to thank for their past investment and foresight to ensure that you had any sort of product available for The Welcome Stamp.
    If we had not already risked our monies and done all the hard work necessary. then your Welcome Stampers would have nowhere to stay.
    Our personal contribution to Government coffers over the LAST MONTH is now up to over $440,000, while we are still awaiting nearly $30,000 in overdue VAT refunds dating back to 2013.
    I expect quite a lot of our monies are funding the promotion of The Welcome Stamp.

    Like

  • peterlawrencethompson

    @LawsonJanuary 11, 2021 9:55 AM
    “Its a fad, once this virus is under control one way or another, people are going back where they came from…”
    +++++++++++++++++
    You are sadly mistaken. The world of work has been permanently and irretrievably changed by the pandemic. A very large and wealthy segment of the working world will never be going back to the office. https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/09/12/is-the-office-finished Every serious economic analyst admits this.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Barbados made the ottawa sun newspaper this morning, some unhappy campers. Covid travelling right now is like trying to fill an inside straight.

    Like

  • Peter I have applauded your initiative, just speaking of my little city if you think the govt. and business are going to be paying rents on all their leases and leave the space empty you are mistaken. You still find people with signs that say the world will end tomorrow and eventually they will be right. At the risk of repeating myself look at the spanish flu over 50 million died couple of years later the roaring
    twenties. You have to remember that for people under 60 the survival rate is 99% plus and you think people are going to shut offices because the bulk of people have been dying in old age homes?

    Like

  • Barbados became a tourist destination because of its climate and beaches. The island is relatively ” flat ” and the coral formation made building construction easy.

    Vacation tourism will continue because people want to escape winter.

    ” Welcome stamp visitors ” will continue to relocate to Barbados and a lot of them could become permanent residents / citizens.

    Some of you need to be reminded that Barbados is still a nice place to live.

    Like

  • @PLT

    My comparison with the sugar industry was, of course, meant to be propagandistic. Analytically, the comparison is a bit skewed. Why?

    The sugar cane industry has not disappeared, it has only shifted from cane sugar to beet sugar and thus to other countries. The situation is very similar with coal mining. While the UK and the USA are stopping production, China is ramping up production.

    It is similar with tourism. Mankind as a whole is not getting poorer. But the wealth is shifting from North America and Europe to Asia and Africa. The big question is whether Chinese, Koreans, Arabs and sub-Saharan Africans will want to come to Barbados for vacation.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Tron,

    People from the UK, USA and Canada will still vacation in the Caribbean.

    The focus of the Barbados government should be CLEANLINESS AND SAFETY.

    Like

  • @ Hants January 11, 2021 11:14 AM

    Of course, we will continue to have tourists from the white, but now much poorer countries. But as a globalist, I expressly welcome our new tourists and new citizens from Ghana, Nigera, China and South Korea.

    The Corona virus has impressively demonstrated to everyone that there is only one humanity. The national Corona policy was not white, yellow or black, but only good or bad. Mia Mottley led us safely through the pandemic not because of the color of her skin, but because she is a great leader who cares about her citizens.

    Like

  • @PLT

    Are you playing fast and loose with the figures. What are per capita fees, what are estimated spend, etc. What is a percentage, how is it arrived at?

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    YOU ARE PUNCHING ABOVE YOUR WEIGHT.

    NEVER SEEN ANYONE SO DESPERATE TO TAKE CREDIT FOR AN IDEA ALREADY IN USE BY OTHER COUNTRIES SEVERAL YEARS EARLIER THAT WOULD GO SO FAR TO MANUFACTURE NUMBERS AS FACT.

    Like

  • peterlawrencethompson

    @BAJE January 11, 2021 11:36 AM
    “NEVER SEEN ANYONE SO DESPERATE TO TAKE CREDIT…”
    ++++++++++++++
    I have always given the Government of Barbados full credit for the Welcome Stamp program. The fact that they asked me to write a memo outlining my idea for a Barbados remote work visa two months before they launched the program might be completely coincidental. Furthermore, I know that my idea without implementation is worth little more than the paper that it’s written on. Implementation is worth at least hundreds of millions and probably billions of dollars per year in the future for Barbados.

    Like

  • peterlawrencethompson

    @Tron January 11, 2021 11:03 AM
    “The sugar cane industry has not disappeared…”
    +++++++++++++++
    The BARBADOS sugar cane industry is less than 5% of what it was in 1967. We are discussing Barbados. Of course the global tourism industry will teeter on, but what concerns us is the Barbados tourism industry. If you are going to bank on a future influx of Chinese tourists who choose Barbados over the South Pacific and Indian Ocean resort destinations you must be smoking some excellent hallucinogens.

    Like

  • @ PLT

    What percentage of Chinese tourists go to the South Pacific and Indian Ocean destinations, compared with the US and Europe? What is the attraction?

    Like

  • Dear PLT,

    I’m glad you haven’t lost your sense of humor despite the pandemic. Nah, I really don’t need any dope. To make me euphoric, I regularly watch the TV interviews of our great prime minister.

    Of course, classic tourism will suffer for the time being. So we have to fill the gap with alternative services. But the one-year visa is just the beginning. We have to set off fireworks of innovations and copy the best from the other islands: Settlement of millionaires and digital nomads with their second and third villas, gambling, prostitution, citizenship for money, etc. etc. pp. Then we add a historical touch by reanimating the plantation economy for local unemployed (as a tourist highlight and for self-sufficiency of our island) and encouraging emigration of welfare recipients.

    Like

  • @ Tron January 11, 2021 11:34 AM
    “Of course, we will continue to have tourists from the white, but now much poorer countries. But as a globalist, I expressly welcome our new tourists and new citizens from Ghana, Nigera, China and South Korea.”
    The Corona virus has impressively demonstrated to everyone that there is only one humanity. The national Corona policy was not white, yellow or black, but only good or bad. Mia Mottley led us safely through the pandemic not because of the color of her skin, but because she is a great leader who cares about her citizens.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Some people here on BU tend to underestimate and underrate your contributions to BU always gift-wrapped in papier-mâché totally soaked in a caustic cauldron of double entendre.

    The question to you, Prof. Tron, is whether Barbados-given its addiction to foreign money in order to feed its behemoth of conspicuous consumption and to keep away the IMF wolf call Devaluation from its door- is prepared to accept the ‘native’ currencies of those countries supplying the new breed of tourists and who, themselves, are competing among one another for the same Greenback $, Pound £ or Euro € which are becoming so ‘costly to come by in these lean days and growingly hungry times in Bim.

    Like

  • @ PLT
    Apparently, it has not occurred to many that our tourism product , was under intense competition from St. Lucia and Guyana.
    In other words, we don’t seem to understand that our tourism product, if it is not quickly remodeled, would not remain the cash cow it was even before COVID.

    Like

  • @ William

    In 2077, for the Cricket World Cup, the Brits were based in St Lucia. I told the household where we were watching the games that St Lucia was going to benefit hugely from that. It has.
    The country looks really nice. I like St Lucia.

    Like

  • For those of you who believe that we should diversify our economy by expanding our agricultural base. Think again.

    Another day; another excuse.

    https://www.barbadosadvocate.com/news/recent-increase-rainfall-affecting-crops

    Like

  • Barbados has the avenue of using technology. Traditional is now outdated.

    Like

  • Barbados used to have farmers who were successful .wha happen?

    Did they all die ?

    Like

  • Critical Analyzer

    @Hants January 11, 2021 4:38 PM

    They got tired of planting for the thieves. Love for your job or hobby can only go so far when you derive no benefits.

    Like

  • peterlawrencethompson

    Adrian Loveridge January 11, 2021 9:57 AM
    “I have in fact questioned the massive taxpayer investment in our limited cruise sector and its contribution, many, many times over decades and called for the justification.”
    +++++++++++++++
    I apologise Adrian, for thinking that you had not called out the corrupt boondoggle that was the Barbados cruise ship tourism sector. I simply had not been paying close enough attention.
    With any luck cruise ships will never again return to Barbados.

    Like

  • Hants if you want to make a little money in farming start off with a lot of money, I cant blame farmers for getting out of the biz because the land for housing is worth more than farming especially around toronto. The products produced pale in comparison to what comes off the boat, I go to the supermarket up here every tomato perfect in color and size ,eggs no beaks or blood, What happened to farmers was travel of goods doesn’t take 2 years to get there its only few hours by plane or week by ship away. Going to barbados is like going to a cottage your willing to put up with roughing it because your having fun and it is a get away. if you are staying there for an extended amount of time you want the same creature comforts that you can get at home. That is why I think once covid is corralled, people will head home and PLT’s stamp will prove to be a fad.

    Like

  • @ Miller January 11, 2021 12:13 PM

    You know that I am in favor of the great “currency optimization” for personal and propaedeutic reasons. So you don’t have to convince me, but our Supreme Leader and the Marx Bros Greendidge and Persaud.

    @ peterlawrencethompson January 11, 2021 6:14 PM

    My suggestion for mediating the positions: We could use the big cruise ships as floating brothels. There the government could put its surplus civil servants (about 15000) and all freeloaders (approx. 30000) to work.The remaining tourist cruisers could then moor quite discreetly next to these facilities. Alternatively, we could use them as floating casinos.

    Like

  • BHTA seeks clarity on Govt’s pay plan
    by GERCINE CARTER
    gercinecarter@nationnews.com
    THE HOTEL SECTOR may have been caught offguard by Government’s decision to cover the additional cost for people in quarantine awaiting COVID-19 test results beyond 72 hours and the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) is seeking clarification of the intended measure.
    News of Government’s intention to pay for extra days spent in hotels awaiting the return of COVID-19 tests and the offer of a free return visit to Barbados to affected visitors, was announced by Minister of Tourism Lisa Cummins during a COVID-19 press briefing Saturday night.
    A press statement released by the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association yesterday suggested hoteliers might have been caught unaware, as BHTA chairman Geoffrey Roach revealed that the information from Government was shared at the level of the CEO (Senator Rudy Grant) and the chairman, just prior to the press conference on Saturday.
    He said there would also be consultation with Government, as well as discussions with BHTA members.
    The BHTA head said his organisation was anxious for these talks to be concluded and a resolution reached as it has had a huge impact on “our accommodation members”.
    He said many of the hotel guests impacted by the delayed test results had already sought to have confirmation on the settlement of their room charges. This not only applied to visitors to Barbados, the BHTA chairman added, but also to Barbadians who returned to the island and had to quarantine.
    “This crisis has been stressful in many ways and not having the ability to provide guidance to guests on this matter has only added another layer of stress for our members and their teams
    and so, we hope to have the process settled as quickly as possible” the BHTA chairman added.
    He observed the delays in returning COVID-19 test results had also placed some smaller hotels under pressure. He said there would have been some guests who would have booked alternative accommodation for their Barbados stay, having anticipated being out of quarantine based on the stated turnaround time for test results but now had to be housed for longer periods.
    “This leads to planned arrivals not being able to be accommodated,” Roach said, noting this could also result in other planned bookings scheduled for those hotels not being able to be accommodated.
    Acknowledging Government was moving to resolve the issue of the delay in turning around test results, Roach said: “We believe strongly that the ability to conduct and communicate test results in the prescribed time is the solution that is needed.” The BHTA head expressed willingness on the part of that association “to lend assistance in any way that we possibly can”.
    Speaking to the MIDWEEK NATION,
    a prominent hotelier confirmed hotels had indeed been under pressure from affected guests to explain Government’s decision. He said there was word of guests who were previously prepared to bear the cost for the extra days, now insisting that Government picks up the tab.
    Government’s decision, however, got the nod from group general manager of Ocean Hotels and a former president of both the BHTA and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Patrica Affonso-Das who said she thought the concept was “a good one in principle.”

    Source: Nation

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