The Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA) is set to launch its Dine With A Bajan early next year to give visitors the opportunity to build friendships with Barbadians while experiencing sumptuous locally inspired food.
Speaking during the pilot event, manager of the BTPA’s National Tourism Host Programme, Marsha Alleyne, said the contemporary traveller was seeking more opportunities for cultural immersion, and culinary experiences were an excellent medium through which to facilitate this exchange.
“Dine With A Bajan was born out of a desire to create more opportunities for our visitors to meet Barbadians other than those working directly within the tourism sector,” Alleyne explained.
The official hosts for the event were the Barbados Central Bank’s Governor Dr DeLisle Worrell and his wife Monica Drayton-Worrell, who praised the concept before an audience of locals and visitors, stating that it had the potential to enhance Barbados’ competitiveness as a destination.
“People who have been to Barbados, they love the place, the climate is wonderful and so on; but the thing that makes us special is our people. Therefore, an initiative like this, which gives us the opportunity to interact with you and gives you the opportunity get to know more of us, I think, is really wonderful.
“I’m an economist, and we talk about competitiveness, and what we’ve come to realize is the things that make you special are the things that make you most competitive. So from all aspects I’m very excited about this,” Governor Worrell remarked.
Throughout the evening the visitors were able to sample traditional Bajan food, sno-cones and local confectionary, while interacting with several notable tourism partners, including Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, BTPA chairman Cecil Miller, BTPA chief executive officer Dr Kerry Hall; Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. director of marketing Robert Chase, Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association president Sunil Chatrani, and ten-time calypso monarch Red Plastic Bag.
The BTPA’s Marsha Alleyne also revealed that evaluation forms were shared with all participants to aid in assessing the success of the pilot.
“Based on the feedback we received, we were able to ascertain from attendees their thoughts on the opportunity, what they would pay for such an experience and whether they would spread the word once they returned home. All in all, the comments were very positive; so we are eagerly pressing ahead with our plans to launch this exciting concept,” the manager stated.
Once launched, the programme will offer dinner options as diverse as roasting breadfruit by the seaside or dinner in a five-star villa or a chattel house, so as to provide a diverse range of culinary experiences from which to choose.
On each occasion a local celebrity will be invited to join in the meal and add an element of surprise to each dinner. Each listed host will be vetted through a comprehensive screening process and visitors will be encouraged to share their feedback on the official online channels.