Bermuda’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Patrice Minors, has lauded Barbados’s commitment over the years in preserving and celebrating its rich African History and Heritage.
She offered this commendation yesterday while addressing the 8th Annual African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre where the three-day event is taking place.
The Bermudan minister said: “Efforts in this regard have culminated in the development of the Barbados Slave Route Heritage Trail, Freedom Footprints: The Barbados Story, which also serves as its African Heritage Trail Tour”.
Minors lauded the efforts of the Barbadian officials for keeping the initiative alive and striving. She anticipated that this year’s conference would bring renewed focus to the rich histories of the African Diaspora.
Noting that the cultural summit had started from humble beginnings in Bermuda, she said it had grown by “leaps and bounds”. She lauded the late Bermudan Minister of Tourism, David Allen, for his initiative in developing the concept of the African Diaspora Heritage Trail which aimed “to appeal to that discerning market segment seeking a culturally enriched vacation experience”.
Minors said the conference served as a critical vehicle to strengthen friendships with the Caribbean and African nations by way of a mutual economic project to promote cultural tourism.
She explained that Tanzania was the first African nation to adopt the ADHT programme in 2009.
Minors further explained that since its inception, the ADHT Bermuda Foundation has communicated with several additional African countries to launch the initiative. She stressed that the delegates’ major challenge was the cultural tourism concept of the African Diaspora Heritage Trail.
“Our mission must be to educate and promote the trails numerous benefits such as economic prosperity within the local communities and enhancement of cultural tourism including supporting industries to potential host countries,” she said.
Minors explained that the ADHT programme has generated recognition for Bermuda as the world leader and founder of the ADHT cultural tourism initiative and under that programme people of African descent could build global networks to educate, preserve and promote their significant contributions made to the economic viability and rich cultural heritage of their respective Diaspora countries.
She also said that Bermuda’s ADHT sites attract visitors from around the world seeking greater understanding and appreciation of the African Diaspora experience.
“I am of the view that the Trail is an ongoing work in progress and this conference serves as such a wonderful networking opportunity for all of you to collaborate and come up with new and exciting ideas to expand this initiative to even more countries. By taking such action you would be expanding it to a wider target market of culturally discerning visitors.”