The Adrian Loveridge Column – Barbados is a Culinary Destination
Our tourism planners and policymakers have declared 2018 as ‘The Year of Culinary Experiences’ and without doubt, this presents an incredible opportunity to showcase across all markets our vast choices of eating options.
Over the next months substantial marketing and media attention will be given to promoting this concept and I urge all our range of dining establishments to wholeheartedly support these efforts, to reinforce the hard earned reputation Barbados has established, with an almost unparalleled choice of eateries, and often referred to as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean.
Hopefully too, we can involve all the suppliers, distributors and wholesalers that currently supply our hospitality sector and will largely benefit from increased volume. And perhaps the banks and financial institutions will play their part by offering enhanced benefits for those frequenting the participating restaurants and paying by the various credit and debit card options.
Maybe a weekly dinner-for-two prize on offer, for those patrons selecting a particular method of payment!
Since the launch announcement at the last World Travel Market in London, we as a destination, have already received massive overseas media coverage of the year long event, including such diverse reportage as Viestra Magazine, eTurboNews, TravelPulse, The Star, TripAdvisor, Perth Caribbean Association, Toronto Star, Caribbean 360, Frankfurt (Germany) Live, Heart, Just Travel Deals, The Telegraph (UK), Trinidad Guardian, Twitter and Enroute, the Air Canada in-flight magazine.
This promotional value cannot be understated.
If it was paid-for advertising, the entire public and private tourism sector could not justify the cost.
Last month the Minister of Tourism for Jamaica stated that ‘an entrepreneurial training and coaching programme to assist local farmers to better understand the tourism industry, will be introduced in the first quarter of this year’. Adding ‘It is really about sensitizing farmers about the demand for tourism products that they can supply and also to use the applications (apps) that we are creating to access certain information that will connect them to buyers’.
According to the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, ‘We will be using food festivals as a strategic marketing tool to tap into the lucrative gastronomic tourism market’. And ‘to ensure that more of the earnings from the tourism industry are retained locally’.
I really hope that we can follow this example and finally dispel any widespread notion that ‘we’ are not all in this together with a common purpose and objective.
Personally, after five decades in tourism, I have absolutely no doubt that our cherished visitors want to sample more locally available products and produce and frankly it’s the only scenario that makes any ultimate economic sense.
Increased shipping costs and settlement charges together with recently imposed unbudgeted higher taxes makes this an imperative to find more locally available solutions, which is now even more critical to fiscal recovery.
We have come to that stage when the talking has to stop and the implementation takes place, before any further erosion of viability and sustainability disappears from one of our last remaining foreign currency and employment contributing sectors.