Room for all-inclusive hotels
Barbadians have been told the failure of the island’s largest all-inclusive hotel does not mean the model should be abandoned.
Making the argument was Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) president David Rice, who defended the product, saying it was an important segment of the accommodation sector.
Recently, successful hotelier Paul Doyle contended that all-inclusive hotels were not attractive to the high-spending tourists Barbados was seeking to attract.
The owner of the luxury Crane Resort in St Philip charged that all-inclusives could represent a race to the bottom in terms of room rates, and an increase in the number of these properties could damage the island’s image of exclusivity.
But Rice, who formed part of a Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry panel on the topic Is Our Tourism Model Still Working? at the Hilton Barbados last week, said all-inclusives were contributing significantly to increased arrivals.
“In 2011, we saw an increase in visitors to Barbados . . . of 7.2 per cent and two categories stood out: one was all-inclusives, which increased the numbers by 14 per cent, and the [other was the] luxury market, which increased by almost seven per cent,” he told the panel that also included hotelier Gordon Seale and banker Horace Cobham.
“It tells us that we may banter about whether the all-inclusive is good or not, the visitors are coming to Barbados and they want to come because of the all-inclusive model.
“We need to determine whether we are doing it in the right way – qualitatively. Please be assured that all-inclusives are working and [they are] working globally.
“We need to work on how we can improve it and make it better.”
Almond Resorts Inc., which operates more than 600 rooms in three all-inclusive hotels, closes its flagship property – Almond Beach Village in St Peter – today after 17 years of operation.
With the 400-room resort’s closing, about 500 workers will lose their jobs. Late last week, a letter was posted around the hotel informing staff to report for training this morning even as operations come to a close. Last week the hotel had 70 guests, all of them expected to check out by noon.
The owner of Almond Resort, Trinidad and Tobago conglomerate Neal & Massy, is still to disclose to whom it will sell the sprawling Almond Resort complex at Heywoods. (GE/ES)