Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, enjoys a samba lesson from the dancers of the?? Sociedade Rosas de Ouro samba school from Brazil. (A. Miller/BGIS)??

A memorable ???obrigado’ or thank you was given today by Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, when he was paid a courtesy call in the form of a performance by the Sociedade Rosas de Ouro samba school from Brazil.?? The group, which features dancers and musicians, was in Barbados to experience the Crop Over Festival.

Mr. Sealy expressed his gratitude to the group for sharing a bit of Brazil, whilst experiencing Barbadian culture.

"You would recall that when I spoke about opening up the Brazil source market, I had felt very strongly then that it was more than about tourism. Of course,

it’s about the possibilities for exchanges involving the Brazilian way of life and culture…and I think you have a very eloquent example with this samba group coming

here during Crop Over and not only enjoying themselves, but doing worthwhile work through the National Cultural Foundation," he explained.

Mr. Sealy revealed that the group enjoyed the season so much that it intended to return next year, to play "a more meaningful role in Crop Over and possibly even take up a large section in a Crop Over band," adding that the exposure could encourage other Brazilians to travel for the festival.

The need for Barbadians to look beyond North America as a vacation destination was also highlighted by the Tourism Minister, who encouraged locals to see Brazil as a viable holiday option.

Barbados Tourism Authority representative in Brazil, Gisele Abrahao, explained that group members enjoyed their two-week stay, which also saw them perform at the Casuarina Hotel and Paulo’s Churrasco do Brazil Restaurant.?? They will also host workshops today and tomorrow with the National Cultural Foundation, which will focus on costume making, playing of instruments and song writing.

With Barbados having won ???International Destination of the Year 2010′ in Brazil, Ms. Abrahao said the island was more than ???sun, sea and sand’.?? "Barbados has so much culture, so much history…it’s an experience," she declared.


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