Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy (FP)

The African continent has not been eliminated as a possible source market for Barbados.??

This was revealed by Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, who was speaking at the official launch of the 8th African Diaspora Heritage Trail (ADHT) Conference last Wednesday.

Minister Sealy explained that there have been "some very preliminary discussions with South African Airways about a direct service here…I would admit it is not necessarily a priority focus at the moment, but we are not removed from the possibility that [it could be] a legitimate option…" he said.?? Alluding to the charter flight from Ghana in 2008, Mr. Sealy stressed that the Tourism Ministry wanted to ensure that any foray made into that market would be well executed.

The Tourism Minister emphasised that he would continue to support efforts to diversify Barbados’ source markets, and added that "there are some traditionalists in the sector who feel that we should continue with this UK/Canada/US [focus].?? I don’t subscribe to that thinking at all…we have to look beyond our traditional source markets. I’m not suggesting that we not continue our efforts to improve our arrivals from these markets, but we have to look beyond [them].?? And, certainly, the African continent cannot be ignored when one is planning," he stressed.

Noting that Africa, along with Latin America and Europe, needed to be regarded as viable sources for visitors, Minister Sealy said that dual efforts would carry on to maintain existing markets and to develop growing ones, thereby attracting different groups of non-traditional tourists.

He also suggested that highlighting the afro-centricity of Barbados’ heritage, with the help of events such as the ADHT Conference, the Freedom Footprints slave route and heritage tour, and other theme-based activities, could assist the development of cultural heritage tourism, which has become one of the fastest growing niches in the industry.


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