The objective of the National Tourism Program (NTP) is to reinvigorate Barbados’ tourism industry with an emphasis on increasing tourism receipts.
The NTP falls under the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport and is an initiative of the Government of Barbados, financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) with a US $20 million loan.
The programme is being executed by the Project Execution Unit in the Ministry, led by Project Co-ordinator, Nicole Alleyne. In an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service, Ms. Alleyne disclosed that under the program, a set of discrete but related projects are being executed under two components.
“Component One is aimed at diversifying and improving Barbados’ tourism product with an emphasis on cultural heritage, and Component Two involves updating and improving marketing strategies with an emphasis on online marketing,” she stated.
The Project Co-ordinator gave further details into the two components. She indicated that the first component focuses on the creation of a suite of new cultural heritage tourism products.
These include a visitor centre and art gallery in the Old Town Hall building; a walking tour around Bridgetown that showcases the points of interest within Barbados’ World Heritage property and upgrades to three exhibition galleries and the carpark of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society.
In addition, component one will also include an Oistins waterfront improvement project, which will create an experiential product encompassing the Bay Gardens area, the adjacent fish market and the boat yard.
The objective of Component Two is to strengthen the digital marketing capabilities of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), with the emphasis being placed on online marketing and greater collaboration with the private sector.
One of the key initiatives under this component is the partnership with the MasterCard Tourism Insight platform, whereby BTMI would gain access to data that would help create evidence-based marketing strategies.
Ms. Alleyne noted that the National Tourism Program forms part of the IDB Barbados Country Strategy for 2014-2018 and 2019-2023. The Strategy is designed to address Barbados’ economic and social vulnerabilities.