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Untapped assets

Event tourism could bring in big money, says AJA

What could be an opportunity to acquire some much needed foreign exchange and stimulate the Barbados economy is surprisingly going untapped by Government.

On the annual local events calender, there is at least one big event every month and speaking this morning at a media briefing ahead of the official opening of the 2014 Virgin Atlantic Holders Season, public relations director AJA touted festival markets as that stimulant required to help boost the economy.

However, he noted that festivals should not only be viewed as being limited to entertainment but could be sporting, arts and such like.

AJA further pointed to Cannes, France, as an example of how an entire country could benefit from festivals year-round through patronage of restaurants, hotels, and taxis, and he chastized Barbados for not doing the same.

“This is something we should really look at; we should see it as an industry because it is an industry in itself. Some major countries in the world have seen events as an industry and Barbados have it in the palm of their hands and don’t realize what they have,” he lamented.

“Hotels in Barbados should not be empty when the tourist season ends at the end of March/April . . . [they] don’t have to be at 20 per cent occupancy or 50 per cent occupancy when the season is down. They should be full all year-round.

“If this thing is done right, people should be flocking to Barbados. If all of these events are consolidated and promoted and Barbados is promoted as an events venues for all these different levels of festivals . . . this country could be buzzing 12 months of the year,” AJA added.

Moreover, he said, with a properly organized system just as tourists have over the years planned their vacations around such events like the Holders Season or the Holetown Festival on a microscopic way, they too would be taken to a larger scale.

Workmen putting the final touches on the stages.

Workmen putting the final touches on the stages.

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