Events enhancing tourism

Last week we had the Naniki Jazz marathon, and from all reports, this was a great series of events in various locations around the island. This coming weekend there are even more activities. First, the Barbados Horticultural Society’s Annual Garden and Flower Show at Balls Plantation and this is an event to which visitors and residents alike look forward.

The Barbados Jazz Society will be having their own jazz concert on Saturday evening at Divi Southwinds and they have included in their line-up Andre Woodvine and the Original Unit. This is becoming a yearly event and sometimes specially invited guests are brought to the island to participate.

These types of events go a long way toward enhancing the Barbados tourism product. They create excitement on the island. I also believe that these events make a silent contribution to our arrival numbers. I happen to know that The Barbados Cactus and Succulent Society, for the second time in three years, have brought a judge in from the UK for the event. I am sure that they are not the only organisation that brings experts from our major source markets to participate in locally held events.

When these invitees come to the island, they do not only come for the dates of the events, but are just glad to be here, especially at this time of the year, to spend a few extra days on their own. Another benefit to them being here is the free public relations we receive when they return home. Barbadians are great hosts and when someone is specially invited, the red carpet is rolled out.

In addition to the excitement that these events bring to the tourism product, they also provide trading opportunities for many people – businesses both small and large. They create additional business for the restaurants and bars and play a very important role is sustaining jobs in the tourism sector and elsewhere.

Barbados is still very vulnerable to the economic pressures of our major source markets and we just cannot afford to lose focus. I recently overheard the president of the United States declare that their economic recovery has started. In hoping that he is correct, there is that hope that solutions are found for other economies, especially the United Kingdom, which has been our number one source market for a long time.

I applaud the efforts of the locals who have done exceptionally well in putting together these events which help to keep our tourism product excited and fresh. I know that sometimes we in tourism are so caught-up that we do not say thank-you enough. So let me say it today on the behalf of all my colleagues in the tourism industry. THANK YOU!

* Tourism is our business, let’s play our part.

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