Community tourism is a very important aspect of Barbados??? tourism product, and the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA) is working with persons in the community to develop and advance their products and services.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, gave this assurance recently at a press conference held to discuss the state of tourism, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

He highlighted the BTPA???s efforts to revive Speightstown as one of their larger initiatives in this area.

???Speightstown is a hugely under-utilised tourism resource and we are attempting to fix it???. We are also working with the Parish Ambassadors to try to encourage tourism projects at that community level. You don???t always have to have large investments to create attractions for visitors; sometimes those modest investments where someone can immerse themselves in a destination and experience the heritage goes much further,??? he stressed.

The Tourism Minister also indicated that the BTPA was keen to work with other community ventures, particularly those ongoing projects around Barbados which had developed on their own. He explained that the Product Authority would not ???impose anything on anybody??? but would assist in promoting initiatives such as Lemon Arbor and Martin???s Bay in St. John.

Mr. Sealy further noted that his Ministry was looking to attract more investors in community tourism and cited sports tourism as a possible area of expansion. According to him, activities like community cricket, with visiting teams from other islands, as well as Run Barbados, were additional ways in which the island could be promoted.

???Those efforts are not to be underestimated and should be encouraged. Legitimate practitioners have our support; they are providing a very critical experience to visitors,??? he asserted.

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