Barbados has realised some of its potential in diversifying its tourism product.

This view was expressed by Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, at the launch of Tourism Week 2010. Mr. Sealy highlighted long running events such as Run Barbados and the presence of various polo and yachting events throughout the year as pertinent examples.??

"We had the segway polo, the international Woz Challenge, and that was in June at Lion Castle…we have already established ourselves as a serious global player as far as polo is concerned," the Tourism Minister stated.

He added that efforts would continue to expand this branch of tourism.

"We are looking at sports tourism, not only for the [major] sports, but those other sports that you may not necessarily think of…but which can actually bring good numbers to Barbados. ??Shooting is one, even darts, dominoes, bridge; [they] all have their role to play in sports tourism," Mr. Sealy maintained, adding that cricket continued to play a leading role within sports tourism for Barbados.

?????????????????? Heritage tourism was another area where Mr. Sealy envisaged great potential and he saw the Ministry’s development of the Freedom Footprints Tour, as an added boost for the sector along with community involvement.

"I think it is important that we start to understand that everyone needs to start to see this sector as being theirs. We have to carve out avenues where people can come and get involved.?? Extending ourselves to the vending community, pushing the home accommodation programme, developing the whole concept of community tourism, therefore, must be seen as important work if we are to have a sector that is truly national," Mr. Sealy explained.

The Tourism Minister emphasised that the approach to tourism must be a holistic one which chartered the future of the industry.?? He observed that "[in our] 45th year of nationhood, we have got to start asking ourselves some serious questions going forward and the role that we expect tourism to play in Barbados."????

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