Watch: Bajan Tourism Minister wants iconic Rihanna attraction
Tourism Minister Kerrie Symmonds
If Kerrie Symmonds had his way, Barbados would have a major iconic Rihanna attraction.
Speaking to Loop at the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s Caribbean Week in New York, Symmonds, 'Barbados Minister of Tourism, said the Barbados-born pop star has global appeal and Barbados has to recognise her in the way Jamaica does Bob Marley.
“Her appeal is global and everyone who has heard of her has fallen in love with her and her music and therefore it is an excellent opportunity to do more with her in terms of branding of stuff in Barbados,” he said noting that they plan to work more closely with Rihanna in education and tourism.
With Barbados focused on a more global audience, Symmonds said they are focused on augmenting their product by embracing people with disabilities.
“It means that our physical built out attractions and hotels must also have part of the infrastructure must be fitted for people in a wheelchair, blind or hearing impaired,” he said.
In 2018, Barbados enjoyed a 2.7 percent increase in stay-over arrivals last year, compared to the corresponding period in 2017.
The United States registered the strongest growth with 8.4 percent, producing 204,830 visitors to the island compared to the 189,022 arrivals in 2017.
Symmonds said Barbados is now no longer tied to just one market. Traditionally Barbados’ major source market was the UK.
“Germany and Canada comprise 25 to 27 percent of the market as well so we have global appeal and because of the global appeal we have we need global standards,” Symmonds said.
Symmonds said they are actively looking at new markets.
Barbados recently signed a contract with Lufthansa Airlines which will rebrand their domestic carrier Euro wings to become a long haul carrier to provide connectivity to Barbados from every gateway in Europe.
From October 28, the airline will operate a thrice-weekly direct flight from Frankfurt, Germany to the Grantley Adams International Airport.
To continue to attract visitors, Barbados is adding to its roster of events.
Symmonds revealed that a month ago they started Festive Fridays.
“It’s not a festival per se but it the re-enactment of the festival experience. It is a craft market by night, first of all, secondly a culinary experience, all Barbadian food is on tap and Barbadian drinks as well, and then on top of that, it is a musical experience because we have our local entertainers performing.
“During Crop Over we will be bringing in regional and internationally recognised performers and also a little bit of time for a mini-Kadooment. Every Friday night around 7 pm, the highway is closed off and you have a rhythm section playing and it is jump up time so the visitors off the ship have an opportunity to taste the feel of a Crop Over Kadooment day experience,” he said.