International travel writers were this week recognized for their promotion of Barbados as a premier tourist destination.
Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy told the inaugural Tourism Media Awards hosted by the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) that they have contributed to the strong performance of the industry.
“The word of mouth works well for destinations like Barbados, but word of mouth alone could never have done it,” Sealy said.
He added that thanks to such writers and many before them, Barbados’ 50-plus years in tourism has come to a point where “we are in the middle of a record year in terms of long stay arrivals, expecting over 600,000 for the first time, which of course would beat last year’s record of 592,000″.
“If the airlift projections, and the room stock projections, and the good stories from people (writers) in this room continue, 2017 will probably break 2016’s record, and then of course in 2018 we should be in good shape for any events that might be planned.”
The evening’s MC, Belle Holder, complemented the Minister’s kudos to the media persons when she said, “stories on a country’s tourism experiences can be the deciding factor for any would-be traveller”.
She said the event recognised consumers and trade writers, radio and television broadcasters, photographers and professional bloggers, “who have captured the true essence of Destination Barbados in word, pictures, video and sound”.
Chief Judge, the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Communications Specialist Johnson Johnrose, lamented the absence of contributions from local and regional media.
“There were no Caribbean entries, although we did have a category for Caribbean entries, we did have category for Barbadian entries. There were no Barbadian entries, there were no Caribbean entries,” Johnrose said.