Barbados??? tourism awareness initiatives have been stepped up a notch with the launch of Barbados Let???s Talk Tourism ??? a tourism documentary feature produced by the Ministry of Tourism.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, gave the documentary the ???thumbs up??? today while addressing the official launch at Mango Bay Hotel, Holetown, St. James.

The Minister said the feature would not only educate all Barbadians about the importance of the tourism industry, but that it ???seeks to achieve buy-in from Barbadians to highlight the contributions to the diverse aspects of Barbados??? tourism product???.

Mr. Sealy noted that Barbados??? high repeat visitor rate would not be possible without the hospitality of Barbadians and, therefore, an investment in awareness for the entire population must be seen as necessary.

???We have to invest in people being aware and understanding what this creature we call tourism is all about. Even though this four-part series is a significant investment in these times, it is important???but it is only the first step because you would have heard me speak to the tourism host programme where tourism awareness was being taken to another level,??? he added.

He further stated: ???As we get Barbadians to understand not only that tourism is our business, ???Let???s play our part???, but also that you are part of tourism because you are not just a beneficiary of the foreign exchange that is being earned, but you are one of the hosts and you have to see yourself in that light. So, in the White Paper on Tourism, we spoke that in order for the industry to be truly sustainable, it must place Barbadians at the epicenter of development and, therefore, the sensitisation and the empowerment of people with information are vital.???

The Tourism Minister said it was important for the youth to be involved in the tourism industry and noted that if Barbados could get it right, the country would be ahead of the competition.

Meanwhile, Tourism Development Officer, Marsha Armstrong, said the 15-minute television feature was designed to give Barbadians an insight into the tourism sector and its impact on the economy and the society.

???Tourism awareness is part of the Ministry???s mandate to ensure that the host population is aware of the operations of the industry. Sensitising the host population of any tourism destination is of upmost importance and is vital to ensuring that Barbadians gain an appreciation and an understanding about how the sector functions,??? Ms. Armstrong added.

She said the feature was the first of four to be launched and the other three would focus on areas such as the environment, the National Conservation Commission, the Coastal Zone Management Unit, careers in tourism, the airport, seaport, and cruise tourism, among other topics.

The trailer will be shown on CBC Channel 8, tomorrow, Tuesday, November 19, between the hours of 7:00 and 9:00 p.m.; while the first documentary will be aired from Thursday, November 21, at 9:03 p.m.

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