Scores of Barbadians and visitors sampled local craft, delicacies and entertainment at the Bajan Pride expo at the Belfield Playing Field, Black Rock yesterday.
The community-based fair to mark the official start of tourism week was hosted by the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA) in association with the St Michael West constituency.
Chief Executive Officer of the BTPA Dr Kerry Hall noted that community and cultural heritage tourism were fast growing worldwide, and could help to bolster the local economy.
She told Barbados TODAY that tourism must benefit Barbadians at all levels and the island’s culture should be at the center of the visitor’s experience.
“The ultimate goal and vision is for Barbadians to see themselves reflected in our tourism” and for all to feel empowered about delivering service.
She also called for the island to keep it assets [beaches] pristine and protected to maintain its competitive edge.
The expo featured a main stage with entertainment and several stalls supplying craft, Bajan delicacies, produce and the opportunity to sign up for The National Tourism Host Programme.
Under the programme, volunteers will be trained to offer an authentic experience to tourists via personalized tours and even share a meal in their homes via the Dine With A Bajan programme slated for early 2016.
Meanwhile, the local offerings on display impressed Manager of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA) Marsha Alleyne.
She said that the BTPA working directly with communities could create opportunities for cottage industries and cultural entrepreneurs to make direct linkages to increase their economic activity.
In this regard, Alleyne revealed that the BTPA was aiming to host one community-based activity per month.
Tourism week will also feature a special Starcom Road Runner trip tomorrow and a tourism parade from the Bridgetown Port to Independence Square on Wednesday.
It concludes with Speightstown Sizzle – an evening street fair – featuring local artistes from 6:00 p.m.