Adrian Loveridge Column – Rediscover re-DISCOVER

Interesting to see that Jamaica recently launched another major tourism initiative branded ‘Rediscover Jamaica’.

They clearly feel, as another largely tourism dependent nation, that there still remains a significantly large enough employed or financially independent section of the population to validate such a programme.

Speaking at the official launch, Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett urged persons to take full advantage of the deals that are being provided under the campaign.

Adding, ‘This is not a knee-jerk reaction because of COVID, because we started staycation years ago. We might not have moved it with the energy that we should, but this is a moment when the psychosocial impact of COVID is taking its toll, so we need a release and the wonderful products are all there, the glories of our culture awaiting us. Let’s go out, rediscover Jamaica, enjoy the summer and be safe’ he said.

Director of Tourism, Donovan White, noted ‘that more than 100 tourism partners are offering discounts and products to Jamaicans, so they can enjoy the tourism product’.

Whatever, their justification, it makes sense by involving as many ‘locals’ as possible who will derive an overall better understanding of the industry, post Covid-19.

It must be apparently obvious by now, that our policymakers and planners have little or no control over the seemingly endless movement of the travel goal posts in our major markets.

The latest restrictive ‘adjustments’ implemented in the United Kingdom last week, expected to last for as long as six months, highlighted that fact and ‘we’ can only hope to modify our response to events plainly beyond our direct control.

While Barbados currently does not have a comparable national offering, the re-DISCOVER restaurant initiative, founded back in 2002 is again gathering momentum with new dining establishments joining or re-joining weekly.

It is also encouraging that a number of our hotels are promoting Barbadian special stays at attractive prices and that certain attractions and activities are once again beginning to address the local market that clearly are not at the mercy of the airlines to reach us.

Andromeda Botanical Gardens for instance have opened their doors to locals, completely free of charge, initially for a limited period.

I also hope that our taxi drivers will take full advantage of this generous offer to enhance their island tours when visitor arrival numbers eventually return.

This approach will take us a step closer to ensure that every resident becomes an ambassador for tourism, which until someone finds a comparable alternative, still largely pays the nation’s bills.