The reopening of the Worthing Beach two weeks into the winter season has come too late to prevent at least two accommodation establishments on the south coast from
feeling the effects of the closure in their bottom line.
While Minister of Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams has announced that the three-year sewage crisis may soon be resolved, manager at Gentle Breeze Apartments in Worthing View, Rendezvous Road, Christ Church, Emily Long told Barbados TODAY that her business had not been able to salvage its tarnished image.
She said she was ecstatic that the sewage crisis, which affected the business’ operations until early January, was being rectified but revealed that occupancy was below 50 per cent, although improving.
“The word was out there that we had issues . . . . Even though it was fixed, it was still out there and people were skeptical about coming. But slowly but surely it has started picking up,” she said, although adding that the numbers could not compare to previous years.
One other hotel also reported a substantial decline in bookings due to the previous closure of the beach and bad press.
“We have experienced low occupancy and a lot of cancellations due to the sewage,” said an employee of the hotel who preferred to remain anonymous.
While she declined to give details on the number of cancellations, she was adamant that the hotel’s winter season had been affected.
The employee told Barbados TODAY that prior to the winter season there were many dissatisfied guests because of the beach’s closure.
While commending the reopening, she was uncertain what it would mean for the upcoming months.
“People don’t wait until the season begins to book. People start booking in summer, not winter, so people don’t wait right up until December 15 to start to book,” she said, while also suggesting that if the hotel was kept abreast of the situation it could have advised the guests differently.
“We reopened so late. People were checking now and asking ‘has it been reopened yet?’ and since we weren’t updated on a regular basis, they would cancel.”
With a new wastewater outfall at Graeme Hall up and running and the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) monitoring the new system, the hotel employee said the establishment was still optimistic about the future.
“We know that there is more work to be done so we have to wait and see,” she said.
Meantime, Sue Tryhane of the Crystal Water Bar in 1st Avenue, Worthing Christ Church said she was thrilled with the reopening of the beach.
“Government did the best they can. I am very impressed with how fast they got [through] after they realized that the pipe on the road could not be fixed immediately and how fast it got together,” she said, adding that her establishment was now busier than before. [email protected]