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Commentary: Tourism Matters: Sourcing accurate information
Published on February 10, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Adrian Loveridge

We are now midway through the peak winter tourism season and it is small wonder that the general populace becomes confused or even bemused when trying to monitor exactly how the industry is performing.

Especially when there are a number of proclamations emanating from our policymakers, who many may feel should be better informed.

Adrian Loveridge has spent 46 years in the tourism industry across 67 countries, as a travel agent, tour director, tour operator and for the last 24 years as a small hotel owner on Barbados. He served as a director of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, and as chairman of the Marketing Committee. He also served as a director of the Barbados Tourism Authority and is a frequent writer on tourism issues
Two of these recent utterances really stand out!

The first when a minister of government stated in the foreign press that we have had a good start to the season, when in fact December 2013 recorded the lowest long stay visitor arrivals for that month during the last eleven years.

Meanwhile, while accepting the numbers are down, the actual minister of tourism partially justified the dismal sector performance by stating “value-added” is up, totally contradicting the governor of the Central Bank in his latest video report on our economic condition, who clearly revealed that, factually, it is down.

If these incidents were rare or isolated, perhaps they could be just brushed off as possible journalistic misquoting, but the latest ones come after a long list of heady predictions that simply have not materialized.

Last year, these included ‘a resounding success’, ‘upbeat about arrivals’ and ‘extremely strong’, when referring to Crop Over and July.

Later in 2013, ‘it is already a November to remember’ and ‘November had been one of the best Barbados had seen in a while’.

In reality, both months set new records over the last decade for recording the lowest stay-over visitors for comparable periods.

Tourism interests are then left clambering to source accurate information on which to make educated choices and decisions.

And that’s when they are confronted by the next obstacle.

Agencies mandated with the responsibility of collecting and posting up-to-date data often take months to do so, and even then, as in the case of arrivals figures, some months are missed altogether.

So when the leader of the opposition contacted me and asked if I would speak at one of the current People’s Assembles series, there was no hesitation. Because any meaningful road to economic recovery will depend on the ability to make plans and implement policy based on informed knowledge, rather than guesswork and speculation.

Purely from a tourism perspective, I watched both of the presentations by Ralph Taylor, a former BTA chairman and Colin Jordan, immediate past president of the BHTA.

In their own way, critical concerns over the current state of the industry were raised and I liked particularly the way Mr Jordan dealt with comments made by a serving minister of government, who charged that hoteliers on Barbados were either ‘begging’ or ‘beggars’.

Personally, I find even the suggestion grossly repugnant.

And it certainly does not fairly reflect the investment, dedication and hard work contributed by the vast majority of private sector partners over more than half a century.

Perhaps if there was a comparable commitment made by a single serving Cabinet member and they were spending their own monies, these cavalier and deeply offensive comments would not roll off their tongues so easily.
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Carson C. Cadogan:

Adrian Loveridge's words:

"So when the leader of the opposition contacted me and asked if I would speak at one of the current People’s Assembles series, there was no hesitation."

Readers of Caribbean News Now ought to take what Adrian says in its political context. These so-called "People’s Assembles" are nothing more than partisan political meetings of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party. It is a forum where opponents of the Democratic Labour Party Government with an axe to grind push the agenda of DOOM AND GLOOM of the opposition party here in Barbados. We had our General Elections in Barbados last Feb. 2013, but every one in Barbados is recognizing that somehow the Opposition Barbados Labour Party members and supporters, among whom Adrian Loveridge is numbered, is still stuck in General Election mode and this one year later.

As a result readers ought to take what Adrian says with "a grain of salt". Nothing is any good in Barbados as far as he and his party is concerned.

Adrian Loveridge:

Again, sadly Mr.Cadogan is trying to grossly mislead the public. In 63 years I have never been a member of a political party, anywhere in the world. I was one of several tourism figures to be invited by Ms Mottley including Ralph Taylor (former Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Authority under the current Government) and Colin Jordan (immediate past President of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association). Anyone who reads my Tourism MATTERS column will clearly see that I am impartial and just want the very best for our tourism industry.


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