Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, has reiterated the need for hoteliers to ???step out of the box??? and create a hotel brand that meets the needs of the 21st Century traveller who is no longer ???swooned??? by the sun, sea and sand.

He made this observation while addressing a gathering of hoteliers, visiting travel agents and government officials who were on hand for the official opening of Couples Resort recently.

Mr. Sealy added: ???These natural gifts are important but at the same time, it is only but a part of the overall package that is on offer and we have to step out of our comfort zone and create brands within the tourism industry that meets the needs of the modern visitor and???Couples Resort checks all those boxes.???

The Tourism Minister said Government was playing its role in branding the destination and pointed out that the investment in Couples Resort was timely given government???s emphasis on heritage tourism in keeping with the UNESCO Heritage Inscription designation.

Additionally, Mr. Sealy said that government was ???pushing sports tourism to another level??? and pointed to securing world-class motor sports events and world-ranked yachting competitions as examples of government???s thrust in this area.

???This renewed entity, located in the heart of Barbados??? south coast, brings diversity to our room stock at a time when we are also trying to bring diversity to our tourism product offering as a destination,??? he underlined.

Mr. Sealy said the rebranding of the hotel formally known as Almond Casuarina Beach Resort into this ???signature resort,??? was commendable. ???I want to congratulate you for bringing another opportunity for visitors to experience the whole, high-end all-inclusive [product] that we have on offer,??? he told those present.

Noting that Couples catered to the needs of the affluent and the discerning traveller, Mr. Sealy said the property, sitting on 10 acres of land, boasted several selling points including tennis courts, three gourmet restaurants, five bars and water sports activities.

???In a nutshell, Couples Barbados is a visitor???s paradise, with strong emphasis on romance. As the name suggests, it is a good place to fall in love again. This is the first to be found outside of Jamaica and I need to publicly thank the Issa family for having the confidence in terms of moving away from Jamaica [and] making Barbados their first port of call by way of investment,??? Mr. Sealy noted.

The Minister said Government would work with the principals of the hotel to identify ways to continually upgrade the property and quipped: ???This facility is going to be a household name in the market place and I would like to think that we can work together to aggressively market Couples Barbados in our traditional and emerging markets.???

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