One of Barbados’ most outspoken hoteliers is saying the country was likely to lose close to 100,000 long-stay visitors by year end.
Basing his conclusion on official data, owner of Peach and Quiet, Adrian Loveridge, told Barbados TODAY that he arrived at the figure when comparing the 2,234,531 long stay visitors who came here between 2004 and 2007 and the 2,186,135 between 2008 and 2011.
“This means,” he said, “that long-stay visitors were down 48,396 over the corresponding previous four years.”
Loveridge, a veteran hotelier, noted that in 2011 alone, total long-stay visitors was 567,774, with an additional six per cent decline projected by government authorities.
“In 2011, total long stay visitors equals 576,724; so if we had a six per cent fall in 2012, we will be down a further 34,063 arrivals,” he declared.
However, Loveridge was of the view that the six per cent figure provided by Government authorities, was higher. He described the local tourism industry as a “rudderless ship”, with certain key people running it, like square pegs in round holes.
“I am not political, but there are far too many square pegs in round holes and it is time to have people who know about tourism in charge,” he argued.
The controversial hotelier, who closed his Inch Marlow, Christ Church property last April 20, following 24 years operating it, believed that while the minister of tourism was talking about restructuring the Barbados Tourism Authority, he didn’t expect this to happen before the next general elections.
“It has been five years,” he complained. “I do not expect any restructuring before the next general elections.”
Meanwhile, Peach and Quiet reopened its doors on December 1 for nine nights to accommodate its repeat guests, and closed again last Monday.
The business leader, who is looking for a buyer for the hotel, said he planned to reopen again on February 2 next year, for another nine nights to facilitate those loyal guests who’ve been returning to him for between 15 and 20 times.
He revealed that he had been receiving hundreds of enquiries from potential buyers, but no deals had been concluded. He said it was important for him to keep the hotel open even though it was not fully operational, in order to facilitate the cash flow.
“I still have bills to pay like everybody else.” (EJ)