Several persons who are participating in Barbados’ 12-month Welcome Stamp Programme said that they are happy to be here on the island, and are encouraging their family and friends to join them.
They have relocated from places such as Barcelona, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States of America and have been on island since early August.
At a welcome dinner hosted by the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) last night, Cris Torres, who is from Barcelona and the first person to arrive in Barbados as part of the programme, described her experience.
“I had heard about the Welcome Stamp Programme and was very interested, but thought it would take some time to be initiated, so I went to Martinique with the intention of staying for three months until the programme got up and running, but in a week, the website was up and I was able to apply and receive my approval. I have never been to Barbados, and now I’m here, I’m glad that I chose the island to be my new home,” Ms. Torres said.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, speaking on the success of the programme said it was launched in July, and is being replicated by several countries, which is an indication that it is something of value.
“What tonight has indicated to us is that there are people who are familiar with Barbados, who chose to come here and to call here home. There are people who are not familiar with Barbados who have never come to Barbados before but heard of the Welcome Stamp Programme and brought their entire families here.
“I met a family who had been here working before; their daughter had been born here and they decided that in lock-down they were coming back to Barbados to live. So, the range of people who we see coming tells us that we have a tremendous opportunity to market Barbados as a long-stay destination for persons who want to be able to work from home,” Minister Cummins stated.
From her interaction with guests during the welcome dinner, Senator Cummins noted: “I’ve met young entrepreneurs and young business people who were travelling in other parts of the world and made their way to Barbados to work from here, because of the Welcome Stamp Programme.
“I think that this programme has been a phenomenal success so far, even in terms of the interest, and the quality of the persons that we are seeing here tonight, who have excitedly mentioned that they have become brand ambassadors for Barbados.”
Minister Cummins added that the programme, which is a flagship initiative of Government, is seeing significant and heightened interest, from countries going back into lockdown, and Government will be ramping up marketing of the programme in the coming weeks and months.
Since the announcement of the programme, there have been over 2,800 applications.