After reading the Nation’s Editor-in-Chief’s article recently, detailing the reasons behind the cancellation of the 2011 Barbados Jazz Festival, I must admit it left a few unanswered questions. If the reporting is accurate, then it surprised me that the event only ‘attracted 400 visitors to the island last year’.
Does this number including the imported artists, their entourage and the various invited journalists? And what is the average stay and spend during their visit?
The Barbados Tourism Authority President/CEO stated they ‘had been supporting the festival to the tune of more than $1/2 million’.
Over what period!
Is this an annual subvention or is this the total marketing support since the inception of event?
Clearly, the BTA needs to justify their (our) ‘investment’ and they cannot be criticised for ensuring any funds are used in the most cost-effective way. Surely any event organiser would fully understand that.
Over the last few days we have welcomed our first guests arriving on the GOL/Varig flight from Sao Paulo and the new non-stop service AA514 from Dallas.
These bookings have made up in part the room nights lost by some of our British visitors, who were unable to travel due to the horrendous weather conditions they have been forced to endure over the last couple of weeks.
To me, this reinforces the recent comments made by the Minister of Tourism that we cannot be dependent on any single market, and in my own words, fail to explore emerging markets.
I hope that in the background the Ministry of Tourism and/or the BTA will be carefully monitoring the originating cities of the visitors using the new American Airlines flight, to help us better target where the marketing Dollars are spent, to achieve the best results.
Regular readers will know that I am tremendous fan of mileage programmes, because it helps us keep travel costs down. It’s not about spending any more money, but a smart choice over which method of payment is used.
One of our banks is currently offering five times the normal miles earned, subject to registering online and spending BDS$15,000 by the end January 2011.
Providing these and any other conditions are met, cardholders will receive 45,000 miles or enough for a return economy ticket to any city in the United States or Canada that American Airlines serves. Yes! You will still have to pay taxes and add-ons, but as an example, on a return ticket to San Francisco, they are only US$51.
This compares with the lowest fare currently available from Barbados that can be purchased of US$626.80 including 17.5% VAT.
Now-a-days so many everyday items can be paid by credit card, from land taxes, telephone bills to groceries. The miles accumulate much faster than you can initially imagine.
American AAdvantage already has over 50 million members and that is why miles are going to play a very important role in encouraging US residents on the Pacific coast, the South and Midwest to travel to Barbados via Dallas. Eliminate a relatively high airfare (perceived or actual) and we are then competing on a level playing field with the majority of our Caribbean neighbours.