The 2019 Food and Rum Festival will be held from Thursday, October 24, to Sunday, October 27. (S. Pile/BGIS)

Event packages are key to attracting more visitors to the 2019 Barbados Food and Rum Festival.

Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), William ‘Billy’ Griffith, made this observation during an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service at the first Food and Rum Pop Up for 2019, held at Copacabana on Bay Street.

Noting that this will be the 10th edition of the festival, he said over the years it had been heavily patronized by both locals and visitors.

“The tourists are definitely increasing. We want more, but I think the secret to getting this thing done is to have good solid packaging and partnering with the hotels. So, we are going to have more packaging opportunities for visitors to buy a weekend stay in Barbados, buy tickets for the events and be exposed to everything Barbados has to offer,” Mr. Griffith said.

He further shared that the BTMI team continues to “tweak the business model” for the festival.

“What we have attempted to do over the last three years, for example, is to take away the onus of the cost of staging all of these events from the government and the BTMI, and to engage the private sector more; get them involved,” he said.

This resulted in the Gourmet Safari Dinner Series, which he labeled “a big winner”. Participating restaurants created a specially priced Food and Rum menu that exposed patrons to a variety of mouth-watering delights.

The BTMI CEO added that feedback from festival attendees over the last 10 years had also been critical.

“Every single year, for example, we have actually surveyed visitors and locals.

We’ve gained feedback from them on what they thought of the event and that is what is guiding our approach on how we put forward new events,” he stated.

Mr. Griffith said the BTMI was finalizing the format for the 2019 Food and Rum Festival, which will be held from Thursday, October 24, to Sunday, October 27.

He promised that it would feature festival favourites and exciting new activities, such as a food truck event and more vegetarian options.

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