Paul: Use more local produce in hotels
Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) James Paul is hailing the efforts of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) to work with the agricultural sector in boosting the island’s tourism product. However, he said more needed to be done in that area.
“The success of tourism lies in the fact that it is able to make a consequential difference to the livelihoods of Barbadians; all Barbadians, not only some,” he told a news conference yesterday.
Paul said the large hotels needed to promote the island’s agriculture produce, rather than feeding visitors with foods that they were used to.
“Where is local produce being introduced to the visitor? We talk about, for example, the latest craze, our cassava flour, our sweet potato flour, our breadfruit flour. Is any attempt being made by hotels to showcase that to visitors who might be interested? We cannot assume that all visitors want when they come here is ham and eggs. That is what they’re using in their own country,” Paul said, while acknowledging that some hoteliers have been making attempts in that regard.
“If we believe in ourselves as a nation… why are we seemingly so ashamed to think that because a visitor staying at Sandy Lane that they are not interested in at least experiencing some aspect of Barbadian life in terms of its culinary habits?”
Paul added that the agriculture sector could play a critical role in boosting Barbados’ tourism product, but tourism officials need to take advantage of existing opportunities.
“They [the BTMI] are looking at efforts in terms of trying to help local Barbadian products to be able to penetrate the cruise ships.
“But we really need to see how we can bring the agriculture sector in on the effort to earn more foreign exchange for this country. We cannot believe that just bringing in more people is going to do it. It isn’t doing it,” he stated.