|Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy (left) and CEO of Foster and Ince Tourism Group Martin Ince, aboard the Spirit of Barbados luxury catamaran.
The latest addition to Barbados’ tourism product has been lauded by Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, as a wonderful contribution to this island’s offerings.
Speaking at the launch of Tiami’s Spirit of Barbados luxury catamaran cruises last Saturday, the Minister saluted the efforts of the owners, Foster and Ince Tourism Group, for "taking the plunge." He noted that it was admirable that "we have people who are prepared to invest, who are prepared to borrow money, and who are prepared to, in essence, be optimistic about the future".
Mr. Sealy described the introduction of the luxury line’s Sushi and Champagne at Sunset cocktail cruise, which will officially begin on February 18, as a timely and worthwhile addition to the existing day cruise line up.?? He added that as Barbados was a ???mature’ destination, it was "good that we’re stepping out and going in another direction" and bringing something new to the market.
The Tourism Minister asserted that the value and contribution of maritime offerings had "been underutilised for too long.?? Whereas, yes we’ve done quite well with the day cruisers, it is in the context of where the government is doing all possible, by way of providing the appropriate infrastructure, marina facilities, etc., that we can have a lot more done in the waters around Barbados to attract and to sustain the interest of our visitors.
"In fact, we have a consultant working at the Barbados Tourism Authority whose principal task is just to be the front man for bringing in the world class yachting events that we are seeing. And, to that extent we had the Fireball [World Championships 2010]; we had the [2009 International] One Metre remote controlled World Championships, and we will have the Classic Transat race coming here in December this year.?? A phenomenal event with some of the most impressive looking vessels to be found on any ocean…So, this is a good time for an investment like this to be occurring.?? I think that it is an exciting time and [it is my wish] that we continue to embrace it and to enjoy it," Mr. Sealy said.
Noting that "we are a world class destination and this is a genuine world class offering in the making," the Minister declared that "it is good to see that what we are celebrating today is 100 per cent Bajan…It tells us that we can be number one, not only in the US or UK music charts, but in any sphere that we put our minds to."
CEO of the Foster and Ince Tourism Group, Martin Ince, revealed that the vision for Tiami "is very simple – it’s to be the best day charter catamaran company in the Caribbean, offering unmatched service, amazing crew experiences, stunning catamarans, unrivalled safety, blazing the trail for experiences for our guests".??
Mr. Ince added that "in these economic times, I know of no other company in the Caribbean that is involved in the tourism industry that has this aggressive and committed growth.?? We’re confident and committed to the tourism industry in our wonderful Barbados…" he said.
Noting that the company did not base its product development on incentives or tax breaks, even though they would be appreciated, the CEO revealed that the Tiami team was proud of the eight month project that was Spirit of Barbados, which will also feature lunch and dinner cruises.
Mr. Ince remarked that "our market is both locals and visitors who would like a luxurious cruise on a prestigious, upmarket, Barbadian catamaran cruise.?? The experience on Spirit of Barbados is unmatched."