Different kind of tourists
A JAMAICAN financial analyst says visitor spending in Barbados reaches much deeper into the Barbadian economy than it does in Jamaica.
Managing director of Royal Fidelity, Charles Chambers, said a large percentage of visitors to Jamaica were “discount tourists” who were staying in all-inclusive properties and were not encouraged to spend outside the hotel.
“The tourists who come to Barbados are completely different from the tourists who go to Jamaica,” Chambers said, while a guest on Voice Of Barbados’ Getting Down To Brasstacks yesterday.
Jamaica, he said, had received significant investments from Spanish hotel investors about ten years ago and they built about 10 000 new hotel rooms in large all-inclusive facilities.
“So what you really find are discount tourists . . . The hotel rooms might be full but they are a different kind of tourists than what we used to have.
“The rooms may be full but the spillover into the economy is minimum because they go into the hotels and may be encouraged not to leave the hotel, whereas the tourists that come to Barbados
– they come here, they go to the restaurants, into the bars, they take taxis, they go out and see Barbados, they hang out in rum shops and they really spend their money outside of the hotels,” the Royal Fidelity top executive said.
Pointing to developments like Limegrove, Chambers said “some good things are happening but you happen to be right in the middle of a real serious global downturn”.
He added: “And the people who would come here with significant amounts of disposable income in the United Kingdom, in particular, are probably hurting a bit right now.
“They may be coming for a little bit shorter and spending a little bit less but those are the kind of visitors who will always be coming back year after year and who buy homes here. You have a reliable base that I think will come back, it is just a matter of time.” (GE)