Businesses operating in historic Holetown, many which are heavily dependent on the tourist dollar, are not placing all of their hopes exclusively on this year’s or any future winter tourist season.
Though acknowledging that earnings from the industry’s traditionally strong December to April period was especially “critical” on this occasion, Holetown Chamber of Trade Inc. President, Mark Simmons, said his organisation’s 28 members were collectively taking action to ensure their survival, while seeking prosperity.
Starting with a weekly craft and farmer’s market from December 8, their plan to attract additional visitors to the St. James town annually will also include three new festivals focusing on music, Crop-Over, and art.
Simmons and chamber floor member Richard Barrow made the announcements this morning during a Press conference at The Beach House.
The president said the objective of the market venture, which organisers hoped would attract 30 vendors, was to transform Holetown into a cultural centre, nurture the creative process inherent in the development of a vibrant cultural industry, stimulate higher consumption levels of local goods, to promote entrepreneurship and employment, and to foster a market for export and the earning of foreign exchange.
“We are doing this for a number of reasons, we have a number of primary objectives in Holetown, one of which is to drive 10,000 more people into Holetown annually,” Simmons stated.
“These people we expect to be locals as well as visitors. So to do that we intend to turn Holetown into a hive of activity, primarily to turn Holetown into a cultural centre where you will see lots of activities like this.
“We are busy planning three additional festivals throughout the year. We have a music festival, which is being planned for April, we intend to bring Crop-Over into Holetown in July and August and we intend to have an art festival the first week of December,” he added.
Simmons said the aim was to diversify Holetown away from its almost exclusive focus on tourism “because we really want to promote the creative processes that go behind developing a cultural industry”.
“We know that cultural industries are very important to developing Barbados’ self esteem, our self image, cultural industries also go hand in hand with the promotion of foreign exchange so naturally what we are dealing with here also is the promotion and the fostering … of an export market and a way to develop foreign exchange,” he noted.
Another aim of the upcoming market day, which will run from seven in the morning until 1 p.m. each Saturday, was to improve the consumption of locally products goods, and therefore vendors will not be allowed to sell imported items.
Simmons anticipated that Holetown businesses would benefit from the increased pedestrian traffic expected.
“It behooves you to do whatever you can to drive business into Holetown as opposed to just trying to drive business to your particular establishment. The more people that come to Holetown the more people will come and visit individual businesses,” he said.
“I think that businesses in Holetown are pretty much faring as all the other business in Barbados. Every one has to look at becoming more efficient, becoming more productive, increasing performance, cutting out waste and I think those are the things that we really have to look at. (SC)