Some of Barbados’ longstanding visitors were feted last night during a reception at Ilaro Court.
Welcomed to the official residence of the Prime Minister by Acting Prime Minister Richard Sealy, they were told they were now honorary Barbadians.
The substantive Minister of Tourism and International Transport told the visitors that his job was made easier because they determined “to have Barbados simply not as a vacation spot but as a home away from home”.
“We talk about our visitors being our guests, but the truth is we would have to look at you not being our guests but simply being honorary Barbadians…
“You are part of our community, you have become more to us than simply an arrival, someone who has earned money outside of the jurisdiction and spending it here within our jurisdiction.
“You are part of our family, part of our community, many of you have been involved in organisations doing charitable work and make philanthropic contributions and the like and we appreciate that and therefore we pause on an occasion like this to thank you for that support and to let you know that we think that you’re special and in that regard I’m very happy to have you,” he said.
The reception, which was hosted by the Barbados Tourism Authority, saw the visitors mingling with Government officials, students and other people in the industry, including “front line” employees whom Sealy saluted for their contribution to the sector.
The Acting Prime Minister told his guests that this country was one of the few destinations in the world where “almost half” of the long stay visitors” had been here before. He pointed out that in some instances the tourists were third generation family members.
In addition to the students of Bay Primary who performed, there was a Mother Sally and stiltwalkers as well as students of Ellerslie Secondary School and Graydon Sealy Secondary School who welcomed guests, Government officials and members of the BTA board. (DS)