Reception and Infants A students of Belmont Primary School receiving an impromptu dance lesson at the launch of the giant postcard in Golden Square Freedom Park. (A. Reid/BGIS)

When you think back to your childhood, especially during periods such as Easter, Summer and Christmas, fond memories of family and friends no doubt come to mind about a specific location and often evoke feelings of elation. Those memories are what the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) wants persons to share with the rest of the world with their Giant Postcard initiative.

Recently, the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport’s marketing department, the BTMI, as part of its Summer Savings campaign, unveiled giant postcards at five locations across the island – Golden Square Freedom Park, Bridgetown; Chattel Houses, Holetown, St James; Bathsheba, St Joseph; the Grantley Adams International Airport and the Richard Haynes Boardwalk, Hastings, Christ Church.

The initiative is one of the main activities of BTMI’s summer promotion and is aimed at enticing persons to visit the island and participate in activities during the summer months June to August. It is also geared towards locals, and persons are encouraged to visit one or all five locations, share their favourite memory about the location or sign their names, take a photo and upload it to social media using the hashtag “#mybajanmemories” and tell the world why that location is one they should visit.

A BGIS team journeyed with Tourism Minister, Senator Lisa Cummins, and tourism officials to the five locations where the giant postcards are erected.

Starting at the historic Golden Square Freedom Park in The City, Senator Cummins unveiled the first of five giant postcards.  Speaking about the promotion she said: “When you come to Barbados, these are among the iconic places that you have to visit and we are sharing these postcards so that you can take those photos here, take those photos back with you to your friends and family and tell the story of authentic Barbados. 

“This location is a perfect balance of our history, our community tourism push, and our domestic tourism push, but also very much part of the story we want to share of Barbados with the world.  We want to invite every Barbadian to come down to Golden Square, come to every location where we are going to take tourism forward.”

Visitors to the area stopped and watched as dancers dressed in African wear performed to rhythmic drum music. Even Reception and Infants A students of Belmont Primary School, who were on a tour of the park, popped over and received an impromptu dance lesson.

BGIS Officer, Sheena Forde-Craigg signing the giant postcard at Golden Square, Bridgetown as part of the BTMI’s Summer Savings Campaign. (A. Reid/BGIS)

The next launch was at Holetown, St. James. Upon arrival, tourism officials, members of the media, local social media influencers and hotel representatives were greeted by the beautiful strains of violin music and performers dressed in colonial wear symbolising the first English settlers in Holetown, which was originally known as Jamestown.

Retailers plying their trade in chattel house-styled shops came out to participate and sign the postcard.  Chief Executive Officer of the BTMI, Dr. Jen Thraenhart, spoke about the importance of sharing memories about the island.

“…What inspires people are these unique stories that are told by the people, by the residents or by the traveller.  What is unique are the experiences people can have beyond the beach, the sand and sea.  What really inspire people are these unique stories told by real people about memories, moments and secrets, and that’s what our campaign is all about,” he explained.

Sharing her favourite memory of Holetown was Best of Barbados Store Manager, Kathyann Morris, who fondly recalled the area being lined with numerous Bearded Fig trees. 

“…What inspires people are these unique stories that are told by the people, by the residents or by the traveller.  What is unique are the experiences people can have beyond the beach, the sand and sea.  What really inspire people are these unique stories told by real people about memories, moments and secrets, and that’s what our campaign is all about.”

Chief Executive Officer of the BTMI, Dr. Jen Thraenhart

Leaving Holetown and taking a scenic drive along the East Coast of the island, we arrived at the picturesque Bathsheba in St. Joseph, known as the Soup Bowl to surfers and also for its iconic rock formation. The delegation was welcomed by a tuk band, colourfully dressed shaggy bears and a green monkey character. This stop proved that the initiative was indeed a good idea, as visitors to the island came over and shared their memory of the island with us and joyfully signed the postcard.

Matt and Karen ‘Kaz” Keay from Tamworth, Staffordshire in the United Kingdom (UK), who were on their 19th trip to Barbados, revealed that they first visited Barbados in 1996, got engaged at Inn on the Beach in 1998, and married at Fathoms Restaurant, Paynes Bay, St. James, in 2000. 

Noting that “we always try and come back every year”, the Keay’s admitted they did not visit for the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  They listed their favourite things about the island, which they call their second home, as the people, food, beaches, ease of getting around and its welcoming nature.

We left Bathsheba and headed to the main port of entry/exit for persons to the island, the Grantley Adams International Airport, where the largest installation of the giant postcards is located in the departure area.  There, ladies clad in Crop Over costumes and stilt walkers greeted the touring party. 

The Shaggy Bear and Green Monkey performing for the crowd at the unveiling of the giant postcard at Bathsheba, St. Joseph. (A. Reid/BGIS)

Explaining why the airport had the largest out of the five postcard exhibits, the Tourism Minister stated: “This is our largest installation, it is our anchor installation and is being set up to be able to capture visitors who are … now leaving Barbados and they’re going to be invited to share their parting memories with Barbados about their amazing experience while they were here on the island with us.  This particular installation here at the Grantley Adams International Airport is in preparation for the launch of Crop Over 2022.”

She disclosed that the local launch of the postcards was phase one of the campaign, and phase two would entail the introduction of similar postcards in the island’s overseas markets as early as next month, so people “will also be able to tell the story of Barbados and what is important about Barbados, from our source markets”.

In addition, Senator Cummins shared that the plan regarding the maintenance of the postcards would be spearheaded by BTMI’s PR and marketing teams and going forward, the ‘pages’ would be replaced as they filled with memories/signatures and be double-sided as opposed to the current one-sided structure.

Culminating the five-stop unveiling of the giant postcards was a stop at the Richard Haynes Boardwalk behind KFC Hastings.  A ‘Mother Sally’ character was on hand to encourage persons on the tour to come ‘shake a leg’ with her.

Minister Cummins is urging Barbadians and visitors to get involved in the initiative and to share the island’s story far and wide. “Go and experience where the postcards are; take your family on a treasure hunt and experience these postcards, and then tell the story of Barbados to your children and families and share it on social media.”

Remember to sign, share your memory, take a photo and upload that photo to social media sites using the hashtag “#mybajanmemories”; I did, and I had fun doing so.

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