After a dismal 2013 from a land based tourism perspective, certainly up until the end of November, it was refreshing to get some good news to end the year. After many early media releases in July, it was finally confirmed this month by the Barbados Tourism Authority that the Top Gear Festival, will make its Americas debut at the renovated Bushy Park Circuit on 17th and 18th May 2014, the first of three consecutive annual events planned for this location.
Several similar ‘festivals’ have already taken place across the world including in Australia and South Africa and according to the organisers ‘further destinations are in development and will be announced in the New Year’.
There can be no doubt that this event has the potential to attractive massive destination coverage overseas. Based on the BBC television series, the audience reach is what can only described as staggering and includes holding the Guinness Book of Records holder for ‘the most watched factual programme in the world’.
The TV episodes are sold to 214 territories across the globe, have 2 million subscribers to the Official Top Gear YouTube Channel with over 500 million video views, 19 million FaceBook fans, a magazine circulation of over 1 million and 5.7 million unique users on its website. It does not end there. A visit to the BBC Advertising online source details many other impressive statistics.
As if in harmony, both Virgin Atlantic and British Airways have launched their latest seat sales and for travel in May, fares on offer are among the lowest on scheduled services to any point in the Caribbean from Gatwick and Manchester, starting at GBPounds 520 including all the taxes, for people booking before 28th January 2014. Of course it will not just attract Brits, but could help to avoid any additional erosion of airline routes and capacity.
Tour Operators are already putting hotel/flight packages into the market and hopefully the smaller accommodation providers will put together attractive alternatives for the independent travellers.
There should also be a tremendous trickle-down effect from visitors attending for our car rental companies, restaurants, attractions, activities and taxis.
Hopefully too, the venue will make an area available where our arts and craft people can display and sell their wares to ensure the majority of visitors do not leave the island with foreign made trinkets.
And frankly, credit where due, for it to be taking place in the slower summer months especially May, is a coup and kudos to all who have made it possible.
Top Gear’s demographics are also interesting 40 per cent of the TV audience is female (often the decision makers in holiday choice), with the remainder, males 18-35 year olds passionate about cars and driving, with dads and lads who like cars and their children aged 7-11. Our current policymakers have been very vocal concerning trying to attract a much younger average visitor to Barbados, and again this may prove critical in that objective, especially during the traditionally leaner off-season periods.
As with other Top Gear Festivals, I expect a website and FaceBook page will be up-and-running shortly, showing accommodation and ticket purchasing options with detailed information about the event.
If Barbados entertains Top Gear, based on the the vulgar BBC programme, then it is the final proof that the nation is willing to sell its soul for a few bucks.
Top Gear represents everything to me that is repulsive and awful and its leads character, Jeremy Clarkson, to my mind, is straight out of hell.
What makes the Top Gear brand of PR any different to using Rihanna?
A vile being is the Clarkson character.
@ Rihanna is a native Barbadian, even if she has chosen a direction that most of us may not admire.
Top Gear gets most of its popularity from a group of young men – mainly white, urban, professional men – who I am not convinced see Black people as real humans, although I may be wrong.
To have them in a majority black country prancing around for the entertainment of their supporters back home is, to my mind, the worst form of house niggerism.
I consider Clarkson, from his publicity and writings, to be a loudmouth, thuggish lout.
But this what Bushie means when he opines that tourism can be likened to a form of prostitution. We need the dollars and this is all that matters to the advertisers and national planners.
I agree. Wes Hall years ago went for mass tourism with cheap flights coming in from Manchester. All he should have done was to go to Spain and Greece to see how Brits abroad behave.
I f we want that for Barbados, then all well and good. I suggest there are other ways of growing our economy.
This is the time for the broad masses and middle classes of this country to rid this political governmental landscape of these two stupid, ramgoat DLP and BLP.
Almost everywhere in this country there is evidence of the destruction and devastation that both these disorganizations, esp when in government, have been bringing to this country.
Evidence of the disarrangement of many of the public affairs of this country include but is not limited to:
1) the foolishness called the Eagle Hall Market;
2) the foolishness called the Princess Alice Bus Terminal;
3) the ramshackled government run bus system;
4) the financial burden that forms part of the Dodds Prisons;
5) the ignorance called the Greenland Landfill where not a shred of garbage has up to now been collected;
6) the garbage, the corruption that was the GEMS project including the dilapidated Eastry House;
7) the yet to be completed Kensington Oval redevelopment which went on in the face of warnings by the IMF, Standard and Poor’s, that such would in the final analysis be a tremendous financial burden to the people of this country;
8) and a host of other government controlled non-revenue financially non-viable oriented capital projects (the Coast Guard Headquarters at the Bridgetown Port, the ABC expansion at some points, the Urban Development Commission and Rural Development Commission, the Ministry of Social Transformation – now Social Care) that should NEVER have come on stream at the time they did under the last Owen Arthur led BLP government;
9) the now yet to be finished St. John Polyclinic;
10) the joke useless constituency councils;
11) the stupid agenda for free bus fares for school children – without the overall rationalization restructuration of the mass public transport sector of this country;
12) the disgusting Financial Services Commission;
13) the continued use by DLP/BLP governments of the government sector as the preferred sector for the employing of partisan supporters;
14) the continued use by DLP/BLP governments of the government sector as the preferred sector for the handing out of contracts to big medium small sized businesses;
15) the vile abominable TAXATION system;
16) the wicked evil Interest Rate system;
17) the outright despicableness and wrongness of many of us making agreements between ourselves and the relevant financial institutions to later give to those financial institutions what (MONEY), or its proxies, is already ours, upon earlier getting or accessing what (MONEY) is/ has been already ours (MONEY).
18) The refusal or inability of the DLP/BLP governments over the last seven years or so to rein in the rampantly high cost of living in this country, and especially without bring further financial and other problems to various sectors in this country.
And there are so many more ills that have either been brought into existence by these disorganizations, or that have been presided over by them, that seriously afflict this country.
So, we in the PDC feel quite vindicated when we hear almost on a daily basis in this country the well rendered evidence based arguments of more and more citizens that the DLP and BLP must go.
Well, nothing short of the utter and complete removal by the broad masses and middle classes of this country of these two idiotic parties will suffice in the necessary process of the serious rebuilding and regeneration of this country.
The DLP and BLP should have long gone in the 1980s.
Today, the country is being significantly damned and doomed by the continued existence of these two malevolent curses.
What happened PDC, you forgot…?
DOWN WITH THE DAMN DLP AND THE BLASTED BLP 🙂
We keep fooling yourself about this high morality. Have you heard about the House of Spartacus. Have you ever pass Bush Hill after 7.pm.Have you not heard that when the lotto prize is high that even bread don’t sell. Take you head out of the sand. We are the biggest hypocrites in the world.
I wonder if they will get around to re-paving the road from Congor Road up to Bushy Park and onto District C before May. Right now that is a road only a dentist could love. Everytime you drive on it, you got to pay your dentist a visit to get all the fillings that have been shaken out your teets replaced.
Hal, you are a smart educated man but you have no concept of the reality of Bim. You talk of being an Ivy man, but it is more an Ivy Leagues man if you ask me.
Your racial perceptions come through loud and clear “urban white men who don’t care for blacks” that I cannot find your posts worth reading. By the way, any comments on what damage our black trash brothers at BET have done to millions of our youth by enhancing the gangster lifestyle?
Does the BMF know all of this information?
The back page of the Nation has an interesting little report, a good report. The Caves were closed on Christmas Day with cruise ship passengers with jot much to interest them. After all the Caves is the #1 tourist site to visit. And we talk about Product and the need to split away from marketing.
A work in progress???
Clone, I was born and bred in Bush Hall. So therefore, I take offense to your less than favorable characterization of the place I call Home. And for your information: there are many area in Bush Hall that are safe to travel, particularly in the area where District A police station is located. And where I had resided for twenty two years of my life Clone.
Mr Mark Fenty,
When you were given liberty from your US base in the Army did you frequent any of the US night clubs and places of ill repute that your army buddies did?
It is obvious that you certainly have not done so in Bulbados or you would know the difference between Bush Hall and Bush Hill.
Bush Hall out by de Stadium side and Bush Hill out by de Garrison near de BL&P and de ladies of de night.
BTW Station Hill is not in “Bush Hall”.
Finally, try not to get confused about travelling in Bush Hall late at night in these times.
22 years in the 60’s is not the same as 2013 sorry 2014. Dem policemens does be brekking off a good sleep when de night come so peoples is well advised to stan off de road pun a night.
Have you ever seen any officers patrolling on foot, in Bush Hall, since 1973? Dem does doan even use horses out dey nuh more skippa.
De most time dat dem does use de horses is be pun Green Hill when de idjits does block up traffic from Warrens roundabout down to Codrington Hill when dem styling bout pun de main road instead uh going into the side roads and the community.
I wonder what dem does be tinking doah?
“Looka me heah pun dis horsie, blocking up traffic wid my ingrunt self”, instead uh “wunna Bajans kin be assured dat we tekking dis community beat ting seriously”
Community outreach dun, even wid de Suzuki jeeps, dem does doan even walk de street nuh more, sorry dem is only walk in Holetown and Bridgetown pun a day, up to 11 o’clock in de morning and den in St lawrence gap pun some evenings.
Clone, yes, I would agree with you that Bush Hall Yard Gap produced some of Barbados most notorious criminals.
Are people seriously against having Top Gear in Barbados?? I hope to God Clarkson decides to do one of those specials where they decide to drive around Barbados. I also hope to God that he drops his nasty comments about our poorly designed roads and how backwards the entire road infrastructure is.
This is all with the intention, that those kind of crude comments could spur the government to improve said infrastructure.
Wishful thinking, I know, but I’m absolutely fed up by the number of potholes we have to put up with.
Might also be a good venue to have a Hells Angels convention at
And we even have our own Sturges ,here.
Richard Sealy, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Barbados: commented:
“The realisation of this dream has been a long time coming. Barbados is already the base for the celebrated Sol Rally Barbados, which has seen the cream of the crop of the rally world compete on our island’s roads and hosting Top Gear Festival, now places Barbados firmly at the heart of Caribbean motorsport. We have identified events and niches that are integral to the viability of our industry and Top Gear Festival ticks these boxes. Essential plans and actions are well on track for the project with Bushy Park Circuit promising to be the perfect venue. We look forward to welcoming a wide audience to the island with fans expected to travel from the UK, North America, Europe, Caribbean and Brazil.’
Given the Minister’s record of attracting visitors over the past 20 months, DD hopes that the realization of this dream will get the industry back in GEAR.
Perhaps Pure Beach Resort can get something built at nearby Foul Bay in time to accommodate the visitors
Not when we can hire a cruise ship like we did for our last mega-event.
Also from article
James Cooke-Priest, Top Gear Live Chief Operating Officer said;
“We are delighted to be working with the Barbados Tourism Authority and the Bushy Park Circuit following their extensive efforts to secure a Top Gear Festival for 2014.”
Anyone care to venture a guess at the cost of the “incentives” given to Top Gear in their extensive to secure a Top Gear Festival for 2014.
“Barbados is expected to attract tens of thousands of petrol-heads keen to see the world famous presenters, guest drivers and celebrities in action and take part in this true celebration of all things motoring. ”
Perhaps some of the 3,000 will be able to gain employment as parking attendants and cleaners to clean up the rubbish left behind in St. Philip by tens of thousands of petrol-heads.
Assume you mean Rihanna’s Diamonds World Tour mega-non-event
Barbados.org has this pinned to the top of that event in its website “Please note that this concert has been postponed to a date in 2014 not yet announced.”
I am sure I read that it has now been cancelled
Could someone please tell them to take that page down.
I hope that arrangements have been made to have the Top Gear cars and gear shipped in time for May 17-18, 2014
The management of Web content by the Barbados Government and in particular the BTA addresses an endemic problem. It is one we must cure quickly if we are to become confident in the people who are allocated 100 million per annum in budget.
If Top Gear is having a festival in Barbados, who has the lucrative television rights?
We as beggars cannot be choosers.Pure and simple. As the Bush Hill old girl said, as the smelly man came along on a bad business night, “I got to stomach and bear it, cause ah want de lil dollar.”
Marbella, Spain is a prime example of the nastiness tourism breeds…Piers Morgan did a fine doc on it that was not flattering to tourist destinations, B’dos was named also in describing how all the European trash uses these destinations as their sinful, pretentious and criminal playgrounds. Can’t the UWI, Harrison College, Queens College, Combermere etc, etc, graduates do any better as it pertains to ridding the island of dependency from the dregs of the earth?
@ Hal Austin | 30/12/2013 at 5:33 am |
Hal, don’t you think you are being a bit too hard and with a little tunnel-vision on the Top Gear visit to Barbados? Top Gear has top ratings and is followed by people with fairly large disposable incomes willing to travel for a week just to be on British TV.
This is a positive move in the right direction to stimulate and resuscitate a dying UK market. Although this project has been long in coming through the pipeline having its genesis many years ago, the BTA must be commended for seeing it come to this stage and hopefully to a successful fruition.
Right now the country could do with any publicity that would allow it to get visitors to the island to spend foreign money especially those from the UK where numbers have not been growing as the government would wish for.
Even Bushie would give this move to earn some money a passing grade and look the other way as the tourism hooker parades her goods on sale.
What we should be calling for is the government to get its dirty act together and make a concerted effort to clean up the place and ‘de-bush’ the country side.
It would not cost much or significantly impact on the fiscal deficit if gangs of workers were pressed into service to clean up the place.
If Prince William was a top Gear fanatic and was planning to visit maybe the Officials would see fit to put on a show for Royalty and definitely clean up and spruce up to impress.
When you read the kind of comments here don’t you want to give up? Gee. Thanks for the post.
I live in Toronto. I watch Top Gear often including reruns. I am interested in the cars and the test drives not the presenters.
This is an excellent show/festival for Barbados.
Until Barbados finds a replacement industry for Tourism we need events that will bring tourist to Barbados.
I ent nuh Tourist but hope to be there May 14th to ???
Hants……….it really would make sense to get an additional generator of cash for the island, they will see why very shortly, no one is saying do away with tourism entirely, although they do need to start screening and eliminating the garbage, but never put your eggs in one basket is getting kinda stale since it is happening all the time.
@ Hal Austin
Questions: If we were bringing in NASCAR would you say that we are importing the Red Neck culture? When prostitutes enter as tourists are we supporting prostitution? What is the problem with Top Gear ? Do you think the maids and gardeners in our struggling hotels have time to intellectualise on such matters? Are those of us who live well in Europe and North America supporting the ill gotten wealth and means that created such countries ? Just asking.
@Barbados in General.
Is there a criminal charge for F*ing a huge amount of people,indiscriminately.
If so; should not this charge be laid on Fumble our Freindly Evaporating PM.
He has FKed an ENTIRE COUNTRY.
Second thoughts ;maybe I write Guiness book of Records
Was it the PM who arranged the visit of the “Vile” mr Clarkson?
Maybe he can be persuaded to join the DLP,he will fit in nicely.
What is it that makes Clarkson so vile again?
Sometimes David[BU] the messenger qualifies the message and we frail beings cant get past the issue because of the party delivering it.
It is a frailty of all of us humans and i am no less among the apostles in this regard (Walter Blackman and Henderson Bovell does do dis for me – charlatans bringing messages of redemption)
I dont know what makes Clarkson “vile” I guess it is one’s sense of “delicacy” refined over the years of being in Englant and taking insult over four letter words on the “telly” ent-it?.
The BTA is to be congratulated for orchestrating this, the second event that they have done in 8 years, seriously, don’t mind their slothfulness, it, barring Top Gear pulling out before then, due to some idiocy like that in the Ri-Ri issue, it is a step in the right direction.
As long as they dont go left side and bring in the “Coven of Wizards and Witches” or the “Klu Klux Klan and Skinhead Convention”, more power to them, slow pokes as they are.
How come there is no mention of Barbados on the Top Gear website?
Gentle Jim, in the BTA Media Release it mentions that a website will be launched in mid January.
@ Adrian Loveridge
After all of these years in Tourism, why hasn’t our Ministry of Tourism and/or the BTA invested in a national competition where (i) IT students from UWI and BCC or (ii) just any Bajan could created an indigenous Website to pro-actively manage and market our country?
I am sure that if the 150? local hotels were asked to submit what they wanted from that site and a TOR was created based on their recommendation for a national marketing site,. many of the hotels would be prepared to put say $500 towards what would be tailormade for them.
$75,000 for a fee for the winning submission, with an ongoing revenue stream of 0.5% of revenues from the site to the winners would secure the best in class of our islands IT programmers for what is a critical industry and the lifeblood of many of these hotels.
Yes, the programmers would have to make sure that there are safeguards that the BTA and the MoT dont teif their ideas but surely we could do alot better than the visitbarbados.org website with a blue background and indescernible black font on its home page!!
Who does be advising these clowns about “fonts: colours and contrasting?
Man dem is some ingrunt swine doah
Black font on a background blue that approached black makes the text congeal idjits
But then again wid a man like Richard Sealy who does see spirits in the corners, i would expect that this website and de one fuh he ministry gots to look ingrunt
piece,, don’t forget that a local company managed the national website (barbados.org) for many years. The BTA wanted ownership but were not willing to pay what Axses considered a fair price. The BTA then appointed a Kansas based Advertisng Agency in January 2009 with a US$8 million 3 year contract. They then agreed to build a new website (visitbarbados.org) at a cost unknown to the taxpaper. When I asked the CEO of the ad agency how many of his staff worked on the BTA account, he told me eight. It now takes ages to get it updated, when in the old daya a simple local call got the job done. I totally agree with you that the site should be locally managed.
$8 million !!
You musee lying man, eight million smackeroos!!
No man, not to do that jobby man, dat is impossible.
I got to see dat check man, man you family to Chris Sinckliar or sumting??
Only he does tell so many lies man, only he and AC (de real one not Alvin Cumming doah recently …)
I tink dat dere is a movie called “Sleeping wid de Enemy”
While de picture bout sumting else completely i tink dat you should tek a look at http://www.bookings barbados.com de BHTA site.
Now de first ting dat you does notice is de layout uh de site and how, whaplax, de first hotel listed is US$631 a night!!
Now doan get me wrong, i is not putting nuh price pun luxury but follw me wid dis one.
You site gine get all sorta peoples dem rich ones en poor rakey ones who coming heah pun credit.
Tell me why you would not put you cheapest hotels first pun de site, or de deals ones to get de peoples dem looking and den left de rich folk to go fuh de mosest expensive accomodation???
Den dere is an infantile slider to decide de price you looking fuh, immature design and poor advertising experience.
This site is made by a coder, NOT A TRAVELLER.
Dat is why i calls dis a case of Sleeping Wid De Enemy” causing it cant be dat de BHTA is a friend of the peoples of Bulbados.
On de udder hand given the state of this site, it can be said dat dem is bull*ng de people of Bulbados in keeping wid our cuntry name
Ever hear about the annual National Innovation Competition. Any prospective people to do what you envision could enter. Check it out.
How would that competition satisfy what Piece is put on the table? The competition is open and to satisfy what Piece has suggested requires a more direct arrangement based on a statement of work etc.
Whats the followup plan to Top Gear ? I tired of these one off plans though I support this even if it can help the economy.