Travel pain

High price of regional travel hurting tourism arrivals

Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner is not expecting any improvement in the number of visitors coming to Barbados from the CARICOM market any time soon.

And she blamed high airfares and a lack of competition for that, as well as for the falloff in arrivals last year.

For the first nine months of 2014, visitor arrivals from the CARICOM dipped 10.8 per cent, compared to a decrease of 8.3 per cent from Europe, 3.5 per cent from Canada and 2.7 per cent from the United States.

Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner.

“It is unfortunate because it is sometimes probably cheaper to go to New York than it is to go to Jamaica. Intra regional travel, as the Prime Minister described, is a bugbear and we are, as a country, working to see how we could rationalize that anomaly,” she said at a media briefing at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre yesterday.

“But again, that is a problem which is longstanding and I don’t know that in any immediate future we are going to see much of a change or turnaround in that because there is only one airline. There is no competition.”

Earlier this week, businessman Robert Pitcher blamed regional governments for the falloff in CARICOM travel over the years, saying that the taxes were too high, while noting that in some cases it was cheaper to purchase a ticket from Barbados to Canada than from Barbados to some Eastern Caribbean islands.

“Regional travel is too expensive,” he lamented.

However, Sandiford-Garner dismissed that suggestion, saying that while fares were high they were not necessarily as a result of Government taxes.

She said it was more an issue of efficiency.

“I think that there are other exigencies that we probably need to examine including efficiency in our operations,” she said.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart also expressed concern about the cost of regional travel earlier this week.

Despite the decline in the number of CARICOM arrivals, that market remains the island’s third largest behind the United Kingdom and the
United States.

4 Responses to Travel pain

  1. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner January 10, 2015 at 7:15 am

    Seriously when politicians talk its nothing but hot air,LIAT is a damm joke these Caribbean governments kill any kind of competition and yes politician high taxes fees and LIAT monopoly keeping it this way.Barbados taxpayers subsidizing this joke airline more than any other island and got nothing to show for it no public financial statements to see where money is going and most jobs in Antigua stupes.

    Reply
  2. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner January 10, 2015 at 7:15 am

    Seriously when politicians talk its nothing but hot air,LIAT is a damm joke these Caribbean governments kill any kind of competition and yes politician high taxes fees and LIAT monopoly keeping it this way.Barbados taxpayers subsidizing this joke airline more than any other island and got nothing to show for it no public financial statements to see where money is going and most jobs in Antigua stupes.

    Reply
  3. Mike January 10, 2015 at 7:45 am

    You really don’t know who to believe LIAT or the politicians. We know both of them are responsible for the high cost of air travel in the Caribbean and the decline in air travel as a result.

    Reply
  4. Mac10 January 11, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    So Senator, once agin the Government of Barbados is sending out mixed signals.

    On the one hand the Prime Minister thinks the abysmal service & high prices of LIAT (laughingly referred to as “Leave Island Any Time.” by the Prime Minister) is nothing more than a cause for hilarity whilst you consider it to be a major problem.

    It is nothing short of outrageous that it costs more to travel to Jamaica or other Caribbean Islands than it does to travel to New York or Canada.

    It is taxes that carry up the price. they are often nearly as much if not more than the actual price of the ticket. By allowing LIAT to operate in this manner you are stopping inter regional travel, free movement of people & goods. If your Gov hadn’t destroyed Red Jet then competition would force down the price of tickets & the travelling pubic would have received a better deal, if not a better service.

    Please remember that when the “independent” FTC decides on the Lime/Flow deal.

    Competition is good for the customer.

    Reply

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