Slow Crop Over for car rental businesses
The just concluded Crop Over festival was not so sweet for those involved in the hired car business, according to owners of car rental companies.
Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley told Barbados TODAY last week that the event was such a success that it was virtually impossible to find hired cars during the busiest period of the season.
However, the owners of two hired car companies told a different story Monday, saying that far from experiencing a rush for vehicles, there was very little business this year and most of their cars were parked in their garages.
“There was no business out there during Crop Over this year. I have my cars parked out there in the car lot,” one operator whose business is headquartered at Derricks, St James said without giving specifics on the state of the sector during the festival.
An official of Keith Jones Car Rentals painted an even grimmer picture, saying the large crowds that the festival attracted did not translate into business for car rental companies.
According to the official, Keith Jones Car Rentals fleet of 56 cars remained mostly idle during the event. And to prove his point, the official invited Barbados TODAY to photograph the large number of cars parked in the garage.
The spokesman said that in the past visitors here for Crop Over would rent cars for three to four weeks and demand often outweighed supplies. However, he said, things were different this year with a few customers renting cars for one day to visit the East Coast Road or Spring Garden Highway.
The official believed a large number of the visitors were Barbadian nationals resident in the metropolitan countries who preferred to use relatives’ vehicles as a cost cutting measure instead of paying the average $176.25 a day for a hired car.
He also felt the upcoming festivities to mark the island’s 50th anniversary of Independence in November might have had a negative impact on business during Crop Over 2016.
“Many people came in for Crop Over conscious of the fact that they will be back for the 50th anniversary celebrations in November. I think that is where business could have fallen down. People visiting for the 50th anniversary celebrations could be renting cars for extended periods which will boost the sector,” the official said.