FACT FINDING MISSION

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Barbados and the Caribbean will soon get the attention of a number of Chinese journalists and tour operators, who will be coming to get a first-hand look at facilities here and what the region as a whole has to offer visitors from the orient.

Word of this has come from China’s Director of China’s National Tourism Administration, Shao Qiwei, as he discussed tourism matters with Prime Minister David Thompson today in Beijing.

He said more and more of his countrymen were traveling, “and to parts of the world they never visited before, so an informed and direct, personal knowledge would be crucial in selling a new destination.”

He noted that a reciprocal approach would be welcome, and he invited Barbados tourism officials to visit China to get a hands-on account of what China had to offer, particularly as it prepares to stage the next Olympic Games this summer.

“Big China is keen to learn from little Barbados in some areas in which you are proficient and what you do well; and since tourism is one such area, we want to gather as much as possible from you to improve our industry,” he pointed out.

Prime Minister Thompson said he would be happy to welcome the team of journalists and tour operators as Barbados was always looking to get into new destinations to widen its market share.

He admitted that Barbados was a long way from China, “but it would be a worthwhile adventure, since visitors would also get an opportunity to experience other countries in the region as well. “Just as we see the east as an exotic destination, I am sure persons from China and countries nearby would take a similar view of the Caribbean,” he argued.

The Prime Minister also acknowledged that air links were critical, “as we now have to rely on carriers out of the UK and US to link up with airlines operating out of China.

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