Waking the town
The Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA) will be embarking on its first project since its formation in September, 2014.
Today, BTPA chief executive officer Dr Kerry Hall announced that the authority would be hosting a one-day mega event on Saturday dubbed Speightstown Alive in the northern town, as it seeks to encourage more commerce and draw more tourists to the area.
Hall declined to say how much investment would go into producing the hive of activities, but pointed out that there would be a number of sponsors. She said that based on the outcome, the event would be a permanent fixture on the calendar of events and would be replicated across the island.
The free event, which begins at 10 a.m. and ends at about 10:30 p.m., will consist of a range of activities, including a number of bus and heritage walking tours, water sports events, road tennis, storytelling, a mini-carnival, as well as an entertainment package featuring a number of local artists such as Party Monarch Peter Ram, Lil Rick, Biggie Irie, Don Trent, Kirk Brown and Hypasounds.
There will also be fun for the children in the form of face painting and games such as skipping, Chinese skip, hopscotch, lucky dip and jumping tents.
Arts and craft will also be on sale.
Speaking to members of the media at the Speightstown Esplanade this morning, Hall said the event was designed to bring increased commercial activities to Speightstown and breathe life back into the area.
“It is part of an overall vision of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority, as we seek to reinvent and rejuvenate our mature tourism product by creating events such as this that are of high quality, authentic, unique, world-class, but are 100 per cent uncompromisingly Barbadian.”
She added: “We want to create the kind of event that not only our visitors can enjoy, but also our locals.”
Pointing out that Speightstown had a lot of history, Hall added that more Barbadians were increasingly becoming interested in learning about their “historitage”, and the BTPA would be capitalizing on that by bringing some of the attention to Speightstown.
She said the BTPA would be creating products and services that were “in line with the expectations of traveller”.
Stating that she was expecting a good reception from visitors on Saturday, Hall said the business operators in the area had welcomed the activities, saying they saw the value of it and were happy some focus was being placed on the usually sleepy town.
Hall said she was hoping the festival would be a catalyst to encourage more people to invest in the northern town, which currently has a number of dilapidated buildings.
“There have been a lot of efforts in the past . . . and they have not got the footing as they should,” she said, adding that she would be investigating why.
“But hopefully this event will be the start to jump-start something else,” added Hall.
Manager of Fisherman’s Pub in Speightstown, Clement Armstrong, expressed gratitude for the focus being placed on the area, saying it was something the town needed for the past two decades.
Adding that Speightstown was an aging town, Armstrong said the event was “the true injection” that the town needed in order to make it “start living again”.
“Once we can get it at least once a month and people look forward to it, you will see the crowd growing,” said Armstrong, adding that Speightstown Alive was “a plus for businesses”.
Pointing out that a number of buses passed through Speightstown daily, Armstrong said the area needed more events such as the Speightstown Alive, to encourage more people to stop there.