Barbados holidays target the Heritage Tourism Markets
Looking at innovative ways in which to push up tourism figures,the Barbadian government has identified new areas to exploit the island's cultural potential for culture-thirsty travellers in search of a more enriching Barbados holiday experience.
As far as implementing creative ways to continue to attract visitors to these shores, the Ministry of Tourism is "on the ball" and the creation of the latest venture, the Barbados Slave Route Heritage Trail and Tour, "Freedom Footprints, the Barbados Story," is ample evidence of this level of commitment to attract more visitors than ever to Barbados holidays by honing in on the lucrative heritage tourism market and augment the island's cultural diversity.
It is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Tourism in association with the Barbados Museum and Historical Society (BMHS). A number of town hall meetings have been held so far to educate residents in the communities about the attraction, garner their support, and identify how they can get involved. The first ones took place on July 22 and August 9, in Sweet Vale and Newbury, St. George, respectively.
The four-hour pilot tour, which is being offered twice monthly until year-end, will start and end at the BMHS and is being developed around memorable sites on the island related to the slave trade. "Our local population [is] somewhat starved of a clear understanding of our Afrocentricity and the whole slavery experience and the significance of so much that has taken place at Bayley's Plantation. For example, the free villages and post emancipation and the whole experience of freed slaves and this project is a good opportunity to have all of that in a tidy capsule, that we can have not only for the benefit of our school children, who, of course, need to have that added experience, but certainly, adults as well, who may have lacked that clear understanding [of local history]." - he explained.
The need to diversify our product offerings is imperative against the background of the global economic situation, and, as Minister Sealy underscored, that visitors were no longer content to take in the sand, sea and sun- they want much more and they expect value for money.
This was emphasised by BMHS Curator, Miguel Pena, who pointed out that the heritage tourism market is a growing trend around the world for tourists who are interested in having a greater experience and learning more about Caribbean heritage during their Barbados holidays.
The Curator continued: "And then the tour moves on to the Gun Hill Signal Station, which was erected in 1817; this is after the 1816 slave rebellion in Barbados which shook enslavement to its very core. There were rebellions throughout St.Philip, Christ Church, St. George and other parishes in the island. The Signal Station formed part of communication that started from the east coast right down into Bridgetown, and it was built after the rebellion to inform the Garrison at if another rebellion would take place and also to inform Bridgetown of the approach of ships coming up the coast of the island."
The worldwide web will be one of the venues used to market the new attraction. Details will be posted on such social network sites as Facebook and Twitter, as well as the websites of the Ministry of Tourism, the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association and the Barbados Tourism Authority. Plans are also in place to target cruise ship passengers.
The Barbados Slave Route Project Heritage Trail and Tour has its roots in the UNESCO/ World Tourism Organisation Cultural Slave Route Signage Project.
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