During the last week, the staff of the Barbados Tourism Authority was busy moving to their new location in Warrens, St. Michael. This move was long overdue and I believe will be much appreciated. Over the last ten years, there were several complaints from the staff there about the condition of the building in which they worked.
Previous attempts were made to address the issues of the building but these attempts have not proven to be successful and hence the issue resurfaced and had to be dealt with all over again.
The question which may be on the minds of many reading of this move is: What does this move from Bridgetown to Warrens really mean? I would like to start addressing this question by suggesting that the staff of the BTA perform a very important task for all Barbadians to benefit from and hence every attempt ought to be made to ensuring that they are working in as comfortable an environment as possible.
Moving to Warrens means that the physical condition of the building should be much better, access to the office made easy and parking for the staff and visitors alike, improved.
There are issues which will always arise from change and one of the things which I see that may become a challenge as a result of no longer being located in Bridgetown is the fact that visitors arriving by cruise ship can no longer easily walk into the BTA’s office and seek information.
This should not be an overwhelming challenge, however. If we are all playing our part in what is happening with our tourism product, we should step up our communication about this move at the Bridgetown Port and taxi drivers should make this a priority in their communication to visitors.
With the move of the BTA to the Warrens area, visitors to the office will be forced to take a trip outside of Bridgetown. This could influence additional work for taxi drivers to develop an argument for a shuttle service from the Bridgetown Port to the Warrens area.
During the last ten years, I have seen Warrens developing at a tremendous pace and quickly becoming the business centre of the island. With this quick development and expansion come business opportunities as well. There are already some restaurants and bars that have been established in the Warrens area, but this may be examined for adequacy.
Community tourism is another element of our tourism product which is being touted as part of the way forward. I believe that moving the BTA to Warrens can be used to push this aspect of tourism. After all, Warrens is in the heart of a vibrant community and out of this, community-minded efforts can be developed.
* Tourism is our business, let’s play our part.