With the winter season now practically ended, how can hoteliers and others in the tourism industry stay connected to consumers in the major source markets? There are a few ideas that immediately come to my mind.
Again, I go back to the use of the Barbadian Family and Friends programme as a source of continuous awareness. The collaboration with the planned events over the next few months is another way of maintaining contact with potential visitors — and using a credible news source would be a third strategy.
Let me look, first, to the use of the Family and Friends. There are Barbadians living and working almost everywhere. Only yesterday, I was involved in a conversation with some who spoke of a Barbadian population that migrated to countries where we currently have good airlift capacity and they have reached the age of retirement.
My colleague also spoke of Barbadians who are working and doing reasonably well in these same countries. I say that these migrant Barbadians are too important to our continuous messaging to ignore.
Barbadians living overseas are always interested in what is happening here at home, and with the series of events slated to take place in Barbados from now to September, there is certainly no shortage of information to share.
During this month, we have the Digicel Barbados Reggae Festival and from everything I have heard, the lineup of artist for this year’s festival is a very impressive one. If you are a reggae fan, this festival will most certainly peak your interest.
Following the Reggae Festival is the Barbados Gospel Festival. This festival has been running for more than years and is a very established musical event, which offers the Christian Community an opportunity to hear and see expressions of gospel as a form of entertainment while at the same time, staying in contact with their religious values. Barbadians, especially the ones of my generation and before, have been raised on a diet of Christian values and welcome this type of musical expression.
From June to August, the Crop-Over Festival with the various activities which lead up to the Grand Kadoooment celebration that takes place on the first Monday in August consumes us.
As I said earlier, there is no shortage of events to share about Barbados. Travellers today are interested in the activities that take place within destinations and in this regard, Barbados has a good story to tell.
The news media here in Barbados has gone digital and with all of the recent improvements in digital technology and social media, I struggle to understand why more use is not being made of the local media in order to reach the international community.
There was a time in our development when this type of approach did not make sense; however, technological advances and the pervasive nature of the Internet have changed this situation. I feel that with the use of these three elements together we may be on to something more powerful that we imagine.
* Tourism is our business, let’s play our Part.