Visitors who repeatedly choose to vacation in Barbados, as well as introduce their friends and family to this destination, have been described as the backbone of the island’s tourism industry.
Acting Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Dwight Sutherland, made this comment during the first Loyal Visitors Reception held for 2020 on the grounds of the 18th century plantation, Fustic House, St. Lucy. It was organized by the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI).
Awards were presented to Martin and Jennifer Lynch for visiting Barbados over 40 times; Edward McBridge for 37 visits; Jim and Kathy Stevenson for 35 visits; and couple Allan and Judith Larter and Cheryl Mclachlan for their 30 visits each.
Thanking the awardees, Minister Sutherland said: “You who have been in the Loyal Visitors Club had the opportunity to visit other places in the Caribbean and even further. We pride ourselves as being the number one tourist destination in the Caribbean, so I know why you chose Barbados. Each time you came, I am certain you had a different experience that was enjoyable, and that is why you repeatedly come to this country. You are the backbone of our tourism product ….”
The Minister said although there were approximately 500 registered persons in BTMI’s Loyal Visitors Club, many repeat visitors were not in the programme. Nonetheless, he praised the loyal visitors for spreading the word about Barbados as a tourism destination, and for introducing their family and friends to the island.
“I want to inspire you to continue visiting Barbados. I want to inspire you to continue spreading the word in your fixed places of abode; I can’t say home because some of you have chosen Barbados as your second home. Thanks for building what we have as a gem as a tourism product. You are the backbone of our tourism industry, you are what we call the long-stay visitors,” he stated.
The night featured performances from the Israel Lovell Foundation, Ziggy Walcott, Phillip Seven and his band, and the Darryl Jordan Steel Orchestra. Children from the Half Moon Fort Primary School greeted the guests.
Speaking directly to the children, Minister Sutherland encouraged them to treat all visitors to the island with dignity and respect, to ensure that they continued visiting.
“We are building a country, a Barbados, for future generations, so that those young ones can join the hospitality and the tourism industry in this country to provide you with the level of attention and service that you enjoy presently. We have to pass it on to future generations. The wisdom in having the young ones here is to let them see what we do as a country and the role loyal visitors play in building out Barbados’ economy,” he reasoned. Persons interested in joining the Loyal Visitors Club should contact the BTMI at 535-3700, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.