Government has selected Speightstown to be part of the Regional Technical Cooperation Programme of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), namely the Living Heritage Programme.
The Ministry of Tourism and International Transport has been selected to work with the IDB in coordinating this technical cooperation initiative.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, Donna Cadogan, thanked the IDB for selecting Barbados to be a part of the programme and for providing grant funding of US $100,000.00.
Ms. Cadogan stated that the programme was timely, as the Ministry had been refocusing its tourism policy to include capturing unique aspects of Barbados’ cultural heritage.
“The relationship between culture and the sustainability of the tourism industry has forged a global trend toward the development of culture heritage tourism as a means of achieving sustainability for the overall tourism industry.
“Additionally our experience with the pandemic has shown the need for destinations to differentiate themselves in order to capture the more selective and discerning traveller that has emerged from the pandemic.”
Member of Parliament for St. Peter and Chairman of the Speightstown Task Force, Colin Jordan, stressed the importance of Speightstown’s heritage, noting that it was the first commercial centre and port.
Mr. Jordan said: “Heritage is important for a number of reasons. When explored and understood, it allows people to recognise their origin and development. It allows them to come to grips with their past and understand where they are currently. When used well, it prevents them from repeating errors of the past.
“It is also important in the creation of pride, the kind of pride that allows people to recognise the value of their culture…. Heritage can also be a tool for economic development. It is the one thing that cannot be duplicated, and so is unique to every people and to every place. Its uniqueness means that it can be shared and monetised.
IDB’s Country Representative in Barbados, Juan Carlos De La Hoz Viñas, stated that he pushed for Barbados to be a part of the programme because it “has a great potential to connect with a diversified tourism sector”, and noted that “diversification is much needed especially now, in this difficult time of COVID-19”.
During the next seven months, different research and consultation activities will be carried out leading to the design of planning and management proposals for Speightstown.