Senator Lisa Cummins, Minister of Tourism and International Transport presents Marizayra’s Sanctuary owner, Ryan Inniss, with a BTMI gift bag. (Photo Courtesy of Remy Rock)

The Ministry of Tourism and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) are encouraging locals to support local attractions.

While on tour at Marizayra’s Sanctuary, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, along with BTMI’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Robert Chase, explained why they were visiting and meeting with owners of local attractions, also being referred to as “community tourist attractions”.  This forms part of the Barbados Uh Come From initiative.

Volunteers Aaliyah Goodman 6 and Caleb Cottrell 14, both members of the Junior Animal Lovers Program (JALP) bravely showoff some of the snakes that are at the sanctuary. (Photo courtesy of Remy Rock)

“So, we in the Ministry along with the BTMI, have been getting out into the communities and meeting those people, and of course, creating new products for persons here domestically to be able to come and take advantage of, but also to make sure that the visitors who are coming to our country are then able to say, we have an authentic Barbadian product,” Minister Cummins said.

She added that the tours are helping to identify some of those not so well known attractions and finding out their product offerings; what they need to operate at a certain level; and how the Ministry could assist in marketing the attraction to generate traffic.

Owner of Marizayra’s Sanctuary, Ryan Inniss, stated that the sanctuary had been in operation for four years, and it provides a home for animals that persons brought to the island and could no longer maintain, for example iguanas, snakes and Indian ring-necked parakeets. 

Mr. Inniss said the sanctuary was also an educational attraction as “it is actually designed so that lots of persons who do not travel, can come here and learn about these animals…[especially] school children”.

BTMI’s Acting CEO, Mr. Chase noted that community tourist attractions gave Barbadians a chance to make an economic opportunity, and there is a need for additional attractions based within communities.  He commended Mr. Inniss for his “amazing efforts to first start by helping the community with these animals, which should not become invasive, and then in the process, creating a community tourism product”. Next week, the Ministry will be engaging with government’s business development agencies to ascertain how they could provide developmental support.

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