Commentary: Tourism Matters: I cannot imagine this neglect is not noticed by our visitors

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Adrian Loveridge has spent 52 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

By Adrian Loveridge

To celebrate our wedding anniversary, my wife and I experienced a brief staycation at one of our newer hotels in St Lawrence Gap that is currently offering an excellent value local rate.

The property and level of service certainly exceeded our expectations.

During our stay we took the opportunity of walking The Gap and, apart from a few notable exceptions, were quite shocked by the overall disrepair, untidiness and seeming lack of pride in the surroundings.

A coat of paint, general clean-up, especially those that are up for sale and/or derelict, even down to occupied properties undertaking simple weeding!

I cannot imagine this neglect is not noticed by our cherished visitors.

The administration knows who owns the various properties because of the annual payment of land taxes, so why not issue warnings, then fines and then eventually enforce some level of clean-up?

And no one can place any reasonable amount of blame on government as in the vast majority of cases, the buildings, lots and businesses are privately owned.

Standing out like a sore thumb are three vandalised telephone boxes, each clearly displaying the latest logo and brand signs of the ‘operating’ entity and damaged to the point of non-functioning use.

Surely a company who has received so many trading advantages and a past virtual monopoly for so many years and who doesn’t think twice about raising its rates, with at least two price hikes in the last 12 months, has more corporate responsibility?

If they do not function and cannot be properly maintained, then why leave them there to act as impromptu urinals and rubbish bins?

Will one of our paint manufacturers or distributors step up again to the rescue and offer any willing property owners special prices for a limited time, so the whole area can be enhanced, prior to the critical peak tourism season?

There also appears to be enormous further opportunity for providing recycling containers, even if responsible disposal of certain items is not yet a universally practiced lifestyle.

Every tourism provider must be fully aware that our ‘product offering’ is already costing our visitors more than last year and that, from 1st October 2018, it will rise even more dramatically, with a second added air departure tax.

Not surprisingly, our arrivals will naturally expect the standards to at least be maintained and many may feel it’s logical to see some marked improvement for the additional outlay.

Of course we can all hide under a stone and pretend it is business as usual.

But that no longer brings visitors back to our shores.

I refer to recent comments by the general manager of the two Sandals hotels concerning the general destination cleanliness.

Together they boast over 500 rooms, or a possible 1,000 guests walking through The Gap and possibly being tempted by one or more tourism offerings just a stroll away.

Why would anyone leave either of the pristine all-inclusive properties to wander through a poorly kept, if not downright dirty area, in many cases, to spend money that they don’t have to?

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2 COMMENTS

  1. 1. Compared to a rundown destination like the Indian Bay-Villa tourist strip in neighbouring St. Vincent, St. Lawrence Gap is a mecca of cleanliness.

    2. Still, Barbados, one of the most densely populated places on earth, is grossly overdeveloped. Its best years lie in the past and it will slowly but surely sink into poverty status based on environmental degradation, water shortages, flooding, and rising crime.

  2. Why Indian Bay-Villa…? Moreover, where in Indian Bay is there anything like “rundown…”?

    Google Indian Bay St Vincent, and read what visitors have to say about the area.

    Not one bad word or anything like “rundown”. You must learn to behave David. We are talking about St. Lawrence Gap Barbados. Your smelly, sewer infected, bankrupt, now scrounging World Bank – IMF controlled once upon a time paradise. The truth hurts eh? Well, so it is!

    Maybe now, most tourist will be heading over to the St Vincent and the Grenadines, and to Cuba, definitely leaving you in tears.

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