Hundreds of tourists and Barbadians invaded Holetown today, for the first in a series of Bajan Pride Expositions, staged by the Ministry of Tourism, under its Community Tourism Programme.

Against the backdrop of colourful chattel-styled shops at the Chattel Village, they were urged by Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy to enjoy the exhibition of art and craft, and help to make the effort a success.

He said: ???Today???s tourists are more discerning, not just travelling for sun and sea but also wanting to have unique experiences. They want to learn about, and also enjoy the culture of the destination which they visit. This, therefore gives us in Barbados the opportunity to showcase our culture; it also at the same time provides an economic benefit for Barbadians in the industry.???

And, he added: ???This combination, of satisfying the needs of our visitors and the economic benefit available to locals, will assist in strengthening the bonds of community tourism and thus enabling the sustainable development of the industry, not only for us at present, but also, for future generations.???

Acknowledging that the programme sought to get Barbadians more involved in tourism, Mr. Sealy said, ?????? we are convinced that the industry can prove to be of much greater economic benefit for Barbadians.?????

While it was noted that Barbados did not have many natural resources, the Tourism Minister, however, stressed that its people were a great resource.?? He said: ???As you will see here today, Barbadians are very skilled; they are creative and artistic and the work on display here whether it is in handicraft, visual art, music or food is of international standard and can rival that of any destination in the world.???

The Ministry first held Local Arts and Craft Expositions as a pilot programme in a number of hotels in 2002, with several of its partners, including the Barbados Arts Council and the Barbados Craft Council. A decision was taken in December 2008, to revive the expositions and to take them into the community. The first resurrected exposition was held in Bay Street, during Tourism Week.

This rebranded programme – the Bajan Pride Exposition – aims to showcase local art, craft and entertainment. Today???s exposition is expected to be replicated in other places including Independence Square, Jubilee Gardens and Bathsheba.


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