Tour bus diversification key to success for tour jobs

TOPTourBusdiversificationLEAD

The Land & Sea Cooperative said
that tour operators must look at additional revenue streams to ensure a
brighter future.

At their annual general meeting,
the cooperative discussed the rise in fuel duty that has affected the running
costs of tour operators and Land & Sea members. Shane Courtney Ebanks,
treasurer of the collective which represents tour operators and deals with
cruise ships, explained that operators are forced to absorb the increased cost
without passing it on to customers.

“The gas price hikes affect our
members who are filling up their vehicles with gas and diesel, but we’re stuck
with the $12 [charge] as we have been for the last 20 years to offer a
professional service.

“You’re talking about an industry
that has blossomed over the last 20 years, but look where we still are, looking
to government for money.”

With fewer cruise calls scheduled
for 2011, these factors would become even more important, he said.

“A reduction in cruise ships would
hit us very hard, but even if there’s a drop from seven to four ships, that’s
still more than 8,000 people on island, so it’s important to make sure a
society like the cooperative can make it in these hard times.”

 

Diversification

Nonetheless, the meeting had a
positive outlook, continued Mr. Ebanks, who noted that times have changed and
the onus is on the operators to try and diversify their income streams.

“Though there’s a lot of doom and
gloom, we encourage our members to strive for self-sufficiency, which is
becoming more and more important. Get your business cards, give them to all the
guests, get a website. Do different things to try and enhance your personal
livelihood. We have photographers now on the boats, we are looking at selling
T-shirts, and we’re trying to get more business to increase cash flow – but we
must have the numbers of people to ensure we can sustain business.

“For the most part, things are
looking bright for the cooperative; we have a few new tours and new ships. Once
the right things take place we can move forward and we hope for a better
future.”

He concluded that although the
cooperative had never charged its members fees, as a consequence of the
economic climate, a US$200 annual fee will be introduced. There will now also
be an alteration in policy whereby members who have cooperative liability
insurance but were not active members would now pay 50 per cent, while active
members will pay 10 per cent of the coverage.

“These are things we don’t want to
do, but we have to do them if we want to sustain our business in the long
term.”

At the meeting, Roger Parchment was
returned as new chairman.

TOPTourBusdiversificationSTORY

Tour operators are looking at additional revenue streams to help them in the future.
Photo: File

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