There is a push to remove the seasonality from Barbados’ tourism industry and to make this island a 12-month destination.
This is according to Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) and the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA), Sunil Chatrani.
He was speaking to the media during Taste the Spirits of Polo, an event held on Sunday at the Holder’s Hill Polo Club, which brought the curtain down on the 2018 Food and Rum Festival.
“The Prime Minister has mentioned a couple of times, and it is becoming a vision for all of us, to remove the seasonality. During the winters all the rental cars are booked, all the restaurants are booked. But then in the summer, we see a huge slowdown in business.
“So we need to have more activities, more events throughout the year to make [Barbados] a 12-month destination. The Prime Minister has gone as far as saying she wants an event a week, that’s a great goal to have. So, if we can just move that winter and extend it [throughout the year]…,” Mr. Chatrani said.
Pointing to the Food and Rum Festival as one of those initiatives, he said, “We call ourselves the culinary capital of the Caribbean. This event here is really exploding as we’ve done it for a whole month…. So there are more restaurants, more inclusion, and a lot more people involved…. This is certainly a differentiating factor for the island as a whole as oppose to the rest of the Caribbean.”
The Chairman explained that the number of restaurants on the island was increasing, something he believed would enhance this destination. However, he lamented that the industry needed more local executive chefs.
“The culinary experience is a big thing in Barbados… more and more restaurants have been popping up and there is always a lack of really good executive chefs on this island. I think most of the work permits in the industry would be more specific to that, the executive chef level. But we are attracting a lot more of the younger chefs into the industry and I think this event here is a great event which helps to showcase the talents of the current chefs,” he explained.
But Mr. Chatrani warned that Barbados’ culinary niche would eventually face competition from the neighbouring islands.
“The rest of the Caribbean will step up their game on this side of it as well. But more and more we have to look at the restaurants that we have on this island and see how many more are popping up. It is a great opportunity for us to really capitalize on this and really truly become the culinary capital of the Caribbean,” he pointed out.