Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy????

Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy says Barbados is in the process of re-engineering its tourism product to make it more diverse.

His comments came last Sunday as he addressed an International Cadet Challenge Camp being hosted by the Barbados Cadet Corps at the Barbados Defence Force’s Paragon Base, Christ Church.

Mr. Sealy noted that, as a mature destination, Barbados had been in the tourism business for over half a century and was facing increased competition from other countries and, as a result, was creating a number of attractions to "pull people here" along with what was presently offered.

"… Sun, sea and sand is just not going to do it anymore. The picture of a tourist lounging on a beach enjoying the gentle trade winds on their face and taking a dip in the wonderful turquoise water, that’s just not alone going to do it. We’ve been gifted with some lovely natural gifts …but that alone will not do it. And that is why the ministry has been working so hard on the niches.

"So sports tourism- the fusion of sports and tourism, where people come here for?? sporting events, either to participate or to witness them- is something we’ve been working very hard on and [we are] seeing a lot of success. Cricket of course leads the way but the other sporting disciplines, there are about 62 of them, are coming on very strong,"?? he said.

In relation to the ever-growing heritage tourism segment of the market, the tourism minister declared that he was happy that Bridgetown and its Historic Garrison had received a designation as a world heritage site from UNESCO. He indicated that this would also serve to boost to the island’s tourism product.

Turning attention to eco-tourism, Mr. Sealy pointed out that developing this niche was also on the agenda for his ministry as an avenue to appeal to persons "who want to have a sustainable tourism experience and take in natural sites". He added: "We are pushing that element as well in terms of soft adventure – Barbados does not have huge rivers or tall waterfalls, but there are other things that we can do to appeal to the visitor that wants that kind of experience".

In terms of the concept of twinning cadets and tourism, Mr. Sealy stated that he was "ready and willing" to work with the Barbados Defence Force as it tries to develop this whole concept of the international Cadet Challenge Cup. He maintained that it "dovetails perfectly with what we are trying to accomplish in tourism in terms of redefining the whole concept of a tourist."

One hundred and twenty of the world’s most outstanding cadets, from eight countries, ages 13 to 18 are in Barbados to compete in such disciplines as drill, shooting, obstacle courses, survival techniques, orienteering (map and compass), sports, including relay races, triathlon and public speaking.

??At the end of the 10-day camp, the winning team will receive the Commandant’s Challenge Trophy during a ceremony on Tuesday, August 9 at the Frank Collymore Hall. Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley is scheduled to deliver the feature address beginning at 3:00 p.m.

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