What Recession? BLP Candidate asks – Indar Weir observes Barbadians are still Travelling

Barbados Labour Party candidate for St Philip North, Indar Weir, has dismissed suggestions that people are not travelling because of the global recession.

And has pointed out that there are many “recession proof” persons with lots of capital who are still spending their vacations abroad in spite of the worldwide economic downturn.

Weir maintained that people were still travelling to hold conferences and business seminars and therefore Barbados should make inroads into this market. {FILE IMAGE}

Weir made this disclosure on Sunday night while addressing the monthly meeting of the St Philip North branch of the BLP at the St Philip Primary School at Church Village, St Philip.

Weir, who is the managing director of Indar Weir Travel Centre, contended that he was not satisfied that local tourism officials were familiar with the dynamics of the industry.

He argued that officials in the Ministry of Tourism had erred in bringing low cost carriers such as JetBlue to the island instead of legacy carriers.

Weir noted that as a result of this step, Central Bank statistics had shown while visitor arrivals to Barbados’ shores had increased, tourism receipts were down.

The BLP candidate said: “With the introduction of low cost carriers by the Ministry of Tourism, Barbados was now attracting visitors who were not from the upper end of market and who were staying for shorter periods.”

In some cases these visitors were staying at private homes on the island. There are still many persons in our traditional markets with capital who are “recession proof.” He believes Barbados should still be trying to attract legacy carriers like American Airlines and British Airways which airlift the more affluent members of the travelling public.

Weir recalled that while travelling on a British Airways 777 flight to Barbados he noticed that the First and Business Class were sold out and he was forced to take a seat in the World Traveller Plus section, and according to the Travel Specialist, this was a clear indication that Barbados was still the preferred destination in the Eastern Caribbean for persons with capital.

Weir pointed out that the flight which carried in excess of three hundred passengers was made of couples and their children.

He said: “People are still travelling in spite of the economic challenges brought on by the economic meltdown of 2008. The world tourism industry has not come to a standstill. Local tourism officials should still be trying to attract the upper end of the market and enhance the country’s foreign reserves.”

Addressing the contentious issue of the Air Passenger Duty, Weir maintained that government should not waste time fighting the British government over the imposition of the Air Passenger duty because other countries were introducing similar taxes to raise capital as their countries confront major economic challenges.

Britain is currently facing major economic challenges similar to ours therefore it has to find revenue streams to finance the operations of government. Instead of fighting a sovereign state over the imposition of the Air Passenger Duty, local tourism officials should be trying to attract legacy carriers which airlift high end passengers to our shores,” Weir argued.

The Tourism Expert suggested that through its marketing strategy, local hospitality officials should be trying to expose primary school children in our overseas markets to the geography of our country so that when they enter the world of work Barbados would become their preferred vacation destination.

While noting that government had plans in place for the introduction of health and wellness tourism, he maintained that these were long-term projects. {DATA COURTESY: PR}

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  1. BRIDGETOWN Barbados Thursday July 29 2010

    Meetings held with over 20 tour.operators in Beijing and Shanghai over the past two weeks have been dubbed a.success by Barbados Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy. He said feedback was the same throughout the discussions the Chinese.travelling public is very keen to go to new destinations including Barbados .now that there are fewer restrictions related to travel. Acknowledging that there were challenges such as the distance and visa.requirements Sealy maintained that a seed had been planted as a result of the.meetings from which benefits would be realised in the future. Its a bit difficult to get a visa. So it means that there is a wonderful opportunity for us to get some.group travel. And the good thing about that is that the Chinese tend to travel in groups so perhaps we can get a charter going and start to get some.business the Minister explained. He revealed that talks were also ongoing with several airlines. We realise that the very long distance and having to connect and be intransit.can mean that a long trip can be even longer so we are looking to see what the.possibilities are of having some direct airlift coming to Barbados Sealy added. He stressed that exploring the Chinese market in no way meant that government.was neglecting the United Kingdom Canada and US markets. Far from that we have more seats now from those three markets than we have ever had.

  2. St Lucy and surrounding areas were complaining about dust Mister Thompson said that the Arawak Cement Plant should put a welcome sign on its roof..Minister Sealy rejoiced when Jet Blue landed with passengers who might have paid US 99 hardly the crowd that would stay at the Hilton or at most west coast hotels..Last week the Central Bank Governor said that the Barbados economy may recover in 2010 but that any such recovery is dependent on the winter season which is dependent on activity in our source markets. This is further uncertainty and more like the trademark DLP lucky-dip and governance by delay..But what about airlines and airlift? Airlines now have an advantage in the endless game of cat-and-mouse with travelers. Fewer seats for sale is giving them more power to set prices and fees especially since they are less desperate now to get even modest fares to help fill up planes. Oil prices are rising again..Here is what else you need to know and what is likely to happen. It is likely that BMI from London will go and Lauda Air from Italy will go. Both of these could go by February of 2010. Air Canada from Montreal Air Jamaica out of New York and the third daily Virgin Atlantic flight out of Manchester England could be gone by May 2010. The DLP just does not get it and are asleep at the wheel! .Like most other sectors the tourism industry is in crisis yet the Minister is worried about nothing not even about his shadow. This is serious. He now tells Barbadians that We will not finish this year up but I am anticipating that we will finish this year in the vicinity of 10 per cent down. Yet through the other corner of his mouth Minister Sealy says that Barbados will experience a Good winter season. There seems to be as much confusion and uncertainty in tourism as in health care where the Cabinet is not sure whether it has decided to build a new hospital or refurbish the QEH..Did the Central Bank Governor not say that recovery could come in 2010? Given the evidence before you which 2010? Talk about gloom! Brace yourselves for even worst three more years of unprecedented pain under DLP rule..Prime Minister Thompson and the DLP are making it clear to Barbadians that the DLP which they elected on January 15 2008 does not have any answers to the questions they are asking neither can the DLP make things better for them.


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