As the current Minister of Tourism so rightly, when recently reminding us that Niche Markets play an absolutely critical role in our overall tourism industry. And protecting these special interest areas is fundamental to the sector’s long term survival and development.
Just about ten years ago, a prominent local businessman, persuaded Britain’s largest tour operator specialising in walking tours to consider including Barbados in their programme. A week or so later, the chief executive officer and his wife were on a plane and we had the pleasure to host them and personally escort the couple on a number of island walks. Frankly at that stage, I had neither the confidence or knowledge to even consider acting as a walk leader, and I will be eternally grateful to the late Dr. Colin Hudson for his invaluable assistance in ensuring that the itinerary was attractive from a clients point of view and practically operational.
Next year, multi award winning HF Holidays will celebrate a century in business and still operate to Barbados, which became one of its best selling worldwide destinations. During our decade, while accommodating their customers, some returned up to seven times. Quite a remarkable accolade, especially when you view the choice of destinations they offer. That success led to the company’s biggest competitor, Ramblers, also including Barbados in their offerings together with a number of walking clubs in North America.