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Commentary: Tourism Matters: No point having a national website unless it is maintained
Published on February 4, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Adrian Loveridge

Some months ago the Barbados Tourism Authority finally published a list of licensed hotels and a limited number of other accommodation providers.

Sadly, I only saw it in the press and failed to understand why the agency did not post this latest listing on the official website, where the majority of the end users could access this information at any time, prior to booking.

adrian_loveridge4.jpg
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
There seems absolutely no point having a national website unless it is maintained. A simple example is that, three months after being granted unilateral extraordinary concessions, Sandals Barbados does not yet appear on the visitbarbados.org, accommodation section.

In fact, the site is so far out-of-date the location is still shown as Casuarina Beach Club, even ignoring its brief history as a Couples Resort.

It is quite frankly staggering the array of alternative accommodation that is widely advertised on the internet, with absolutely no indication whether these properties meet the same insurance, fire and health requirements that our registered lodging offerings are required under law to comply with.

What is also alarming is the number of establishments that make no mention of VAT (value added tax). Could it be their annual revenue gleaned from rentals does not meet the minimum trading threshold of $80,000 per year?

In a surprising number of cases, nightly rentals exceed US$400 a night, so a total of 100 nightly lettings annually would already place them in a VAT liable situation.

There could also be at least two other explanations. That many owners rent their individual properties through a villa/apartment/condominium agency, who then charges and accounts for any VAT element, or payment is collected offshore and therefore taxes are avoided altogether.

According to the Laws of Barbados – LRO 1997 – CAP. 342 section 25(1):

“No person shall operate any tourist accommodation unless that person first applies for and obtains a licence issued in accordance with the regulations.”

Section 33(1) states, “A person who operates any tourist accommodation in contravention of Section 25 is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary
conviction to a fine of $10,000 or to imprisonment for 1 year and, where the offence is continued after conviction, that person is guilty of a continuing offence and is liable to a fine of $500 for each day during which the offence is continued.”

If tourism accommodation rental licensing remains a function of the BTA under their mandate, perhaps it would be cost-effective for government to put more resources into what has clearly been an underfunded quality assurance department for as long as I can remember.

From a marketing perspective, it also must be almost impossible to maximise arrival numbers potential and length of stay without having an accurate database of all lodging options.

Government could easily recoup any additional expenses by levying a small registration fee and this would enable them to ensure that all minimum standards are met and effectively demonstrate the industry is properly regulated.

Once this takes place, I am sure the administration will then cast the tax net over a greater number of players and the monies raised from this exercise could be utilised to increase marketing of the destination, benefitting more people and showing some willingness by the policymakers to level the playing field.
 
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Comments:

Carson C. Cadogan:

Adrian Loveridge is the eternal complainer.

This time he is not talking about "cobwebs" at our Airport (strangely he is the only one who can see them). Again he is taking a stab at the SANDALS HOTEL GROUP. In Barbados we have a saying, "Who the dog likes, he licks, and who he hates he bites" this saying describes Adrian Loveridge very well. His great dislike of the Democratic Labour Party Government and his pushing of the agenda of the opposition Barbados Labour Party blinds him to the positives in the Tourism industry here in Barbados. Only last night on CBC TV in Barbados the Nation was given the news of Air Canada increasing its flights to Barbados in the Summer as a result of the presence of SANDALS HOTEL GROUP in Barbados. This is something that would never be done as a result of his 12 room or so Inn here in Barbados. This Good news of increased flights and increase visitor number to Barbados escapes Adrian Loveridge totally and completely. It is known throughout Barbados that Adrian and members of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Assoc. really do not welcome the presence of the SANDALS HOTEL GROUP in Barbados so they are doing all in their power to make sure that SANDALS is not a success in Barbados.

Since SANDALS took over the running of Hotels in Barbados there has been increased employment in the Hotel sector, which is good news for all.

Joan Cherrie-Rocke:
I
t is good to hear 3 sides to a story. Your side, my side, and whatever lies in between. Hope you all resolve the issues and GOOD LUCK.

Adrian Loveridge:

re; Comments by Carson Cadogan. He failed to point out that in fact Sandals Barbados will close their doors on 1st April and plan to re-open December 2014, so to imply that their presence will drive any additional airlift, Air Canada or otherwise is entirely erroneous.

Carson C. Cadogan:

Judge for yourself:

"More Air Canada flights


E-mail

Written by CBC NEWS Monday, 03 February 2014 12:32

The presence of Sandals in Barbados has prompted Air Canada to increase its airlift capacity and flights to Barbados from this summer.

This is according to Zeina Gedeon, vice president of sales and distribution for Air Canada.

She made the revelation during a special appreciation ceremony at Sandals Le Source Grenada.

The senior Air Canada official says there will be two flights every Sunday.

She also says that Canadians enjoy travelling to Barbados and the rest of the English speaking Caribbean."

Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation
Barbados



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