Checks issued to members of staff and suppliers of Boatswain’s Beach in West Bay bounced recently when they were presented at local banks. Acting CEO Mr. Joey Ebanks said he was off Island on official business at the time and immediately rectified the situation on his return.
The tourist attraction, which opened less than a year ago had been operating at loss of over a million dollars a month, however Mr. Ebanks said the situation is steadily improving and monthly operating losses are now down to about half a million dollars per month. ‘We are seeing improvements, there have been tremendous cost cutting measures,’ he said.
The old Turtle Farm used to be a profit making facility and employed just 35 people. With the opening of Boatswain’s Beach operating expenses and the number of people on the pay roll sky rocketed, however Mr. Ebanks explained they have already trimmed back the staff numbers somewhat. ‘We have gone 117 employees to 109, so we are using staff members to do more and we are accomplishing more with less. This is helping to drive the expenses down.’
The Acting CEO says the remaining employees are dedicated and committed to making the attraction a success and the management team and the board of directors are now putting together a strategy to improve the financial performance of the facility. Mr. Ebanks conceded that ‘we made mistakes with the pricing and are getting that corrected.’
In addition to putting in place a realistic pricing structure, Ebanks says they are working on strategies to dramatically increase the number of visitors to Boatswain’s Beach, as well as increasing retail sales and improving the entertainment and product offering. ‘We are going to take our current 20 % market share and we are going to double it in the next 18 months. We are going to do that with some direct marketing to the cruise ships, we are going to do that with some marketing at the port of entry and we are going to do that by leveraging some strategic partnerships throughout the industry.’
The Department of Tourism with its global reach and established marketing networks has agreed to assist over the coming months and Ebanks says the target of doubling the attractions market share is realistic, given the upbeat six month forecast for visitor arrivals.