Gap being spruced up
Move to make tourist spot visitor-friendly
There is a move on to make St Lawrence Gap visitor-friendly in time for the winter season, and researchers are suggesting a long-term splitting of the zone for entertaining the young and not so young.
Operator of Time Out in The Gap, Rod Weatherhead, currently heads a Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association committee that is spearheading revitalization of this once premiere entertainment spot on the island.
He said that while many owner operators had invested in renovation of their properties, there remained issues such as sanitation and security to ensure comfort of visitors in the peak season.
“Our objective on the committee of the BHTA is to really bring the stakeholders together and try and pick some of the low-hanging fruit before the winter starts, and then go after a lot of the other problems that we saw needed to be addressed in the area.”
Weatherhead is quick to concede that Barbados’ once premier entertainment zone now had issues that made it unattractive.
“These problems started with the beautification, the cleanliness of the area, the safety of the area; and then you have stuff like drainage that need to be sorted out and which is a major problem in this area,” he said, adding: “Under safety and security, you have lighting, cameras and stuff like that will protect visiting guests and locals alike.”
Weatherhead told Barbados TODAY over the weekend that beyond the immediate dressing up for winter, there was the intention of establishing an all-inclusive group of people associated with the zone.
“The St Lawrence Gap needs an association . . . . In the long term, we would like the committee to move into an association that engulfs more than the members of the BHTA, but the residents and other stakeholders in The Gap.”
These people concerned with The Gap’s resurgence got a helping sound-out with ideas when the UWI Master’s in tourism students decided to make the entertainment location a study project, and presented their findings at a seminar on Saturday at Infinity On The Beach resort.
UWI tourism programmes coordinator Dr Sherma Roberts said that in recognizing the attraction had in the past added to Barbados’ competitiveness, the 12 students in groups of four were tasked with writing “a rejuvenation strategy of the St Lawrence Gap in recognition that The Gap had a number of problems over the last few years”.
Among the bold proposals from the researchers was the separation of entertainment genres, by age group.
“We’ve divided The Gap into two, where we have the North Gap and the South Gap. The North Gap will then cater for those persons between the ages of 18 and 35, and South Gap, which is a bit quieter, will cater to those persons between the ages of 36 and 65,” said a spokesperson for one of the three groups making presentations.
Another radical idea was configuring a 15-foot structure stretching 250 metres across The Gap for a 70 mile-per-hour zip-line to put a “wow factor” in the street, attracting the millennials who represent the new and growing travel market.
The students also want a St Lawrence Gap Festival in late May for pre-Crop Over celebrations, a Cultural Street Fair and a St Lawrence Spring Festival.