Officially from today, the second airline departure tax will be levied on all flight tickets purchased, adding another US$70 per person, irrespective of age, for extra regional travel and US$35 within the Caribbean.
Time will tell of course of the impact that it will have on arrival numbers and perhaps more importantly, average spend, but clearly in certain markets, it will have a profound effect.
Thomas Cook, one of the largest British tour operators, has reported a substantial drop in projected profits for the financial year ending 30th September. They are predicting a fall of GB Pounds 43 million, which when announced saw their share price fall by up to 25 per cent, blaming mostly the unseasonal long summer and prolonged hotel weather across Europe.
Chief executive, Peter Fankhauser, commented that ‘summer 2018 has seen a return of popularity of destinations such as Turkey and Tunisia’ and that ‘many customers spent June and July enjoying the sunshine at home and put off booking their holidays abroad, leading to even tougher competition and higher than usual levels of discounting in the late market of August and September’.
Concluding that, ‘our recent trading performance is clearly disappointing’.
While Barbados is not necessarily in the same market as Turkey and Tunisia, it must reflect of the value of currency exchange, price affordability and perceived value-for-money.
For many of our long term loyal British returnee visitors, this year they will be summing up if they can still continue to include us as a destination of choice, when as a result of our economic position, the cost of just about everything has risen substantially.
Should our tourism policymakers and planners be looking for additional creative ways to help mitigate these price hikes?
Thomas Cook over the last few years have substantially increased their interests in owning and operating hotels, with a total now standing at 190, according to their website.
Is there some way that otherwise derelict hotels, like Silver Sands could be brought back into profitable use by smart partnering with them?
Not only would it create much needed employment in that area, but generate more foreign currency and entice the airline division of the company to extend its season service from Gatwick and Manchester to Barbados, throughout the summer months.
A revitalised Silver Sands could attract a year-round predominately ‘millennial’ following, who have a special interest in water sports, including kite, windsurf and SUP paddle boarding.
This property would appear to be a perfect match for their Cook’s Club or Casa Cook brands and as a recent media release indicated, the company is ‘hopeful of opening another ten youth focused hotels next year’.
I always find declared mission statements interesting, if not always compelling.
Cook’s Club is ‘leading the way in bringing a sense of urban cool to the beach’ and Casa Cook’s declaration is ‘laid back places for kindred spirits’ and ‘across cities and continents we’re connecting a new and multi-facet tribe of travellers – foodies, creators, trekkers, soul searchers, beach buffs, dancers, dreamers – individuals bound together by similar values and their shared quest for a deep fulfilling experience’.
Perhaps for a dinosaur like me, a touch too heady and feely, but maybe for many, captivating and alluring enough to book.