Prime Minister Freundel Stuart says Barbados’ tourism product has two sides: taking care of Barbadians and being warm hosts to visitors. However, he says paying attention to people living here comes first.
He made this point while greeting repeat visitors in the Charles Fort courtyard of Hilton Barbados yesterday afternoon.
“Since we are going to be relying on a set of core values as part of the National Tourism Host Programme –– empathy, courtesy, creativity, responsibility and passion –– unless our people are comfortable, they cannot manifest these attributes,” Stuart told reporters after interacting with guests.
“People will not be able to experience these attributes among our people if we don’t make Barbados an agreeable place for Barbadians first,” he added.
Stuart was last year named Champion Of The National Tourism Host Programme, a title that positions him to act as promoter of the positive local attitude to tourism for which Barbadians are known, while acting as a
welcoming ambassador to guests of the island.
“I came here this evening to interact with guests and kind of get a sense of how they feel about Barbados and let them know about how we feel about having them choose Barbados as a destination,” he explained. “I try to emphasize that we as a Government and people have to make sure that Barbados is agreeable for our people first.”
Stuart reported that the tourists in yesterday’s meet and greet session “have all attested to that fact they find Barbadians some of the most courteous people in the world and they enjoy coming back because they bask in the warmth of our hospitality”.
On the matter of the Barbadian welcoming spirit, he reported visitors suggesting “what we are doing, we should continue to do because Barbados is a destination of very high choice”.
The Prime Minister said the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA) was pushing the island’s tourism away from sun, sea and sand, and was seeking to “give the word ‘product’ a broader meaning, which can be found in how people who come here experience our Barbadian people, our environment”.
Noting that he would be involved in many more activities as the “Champion”, Stuart said: “I warm to the opportunity to give our tourism product any boost it can get from the involvement of the Office Of The Prime Minister.”