The state-run Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA) has launched a new tourism initiative to enhance Barbados’ cultural heritage and culinary tourism product offering.
The initiative, themed the Barbados Sugar and Rum Season, will seek to tell an authentic Barbadian story on rum and sugar like only Barbados can.
The season was launched last night at the historic Sunbury Plantation and was attended by top tourism officials including Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy and CEO of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., Billy Griffith.
Addressing the launch, CEO of the BTPA, Dr Kerry Hall, said she was excited about the prospects of an event of this nature.
“The Barbados Sugar and Rum Season will play an integral role in differentiating Barbados from its competitors, by focusing on several unique selling points of the island, especially the fact that Barbados is the birthplace of rum,” she said.
“The production of sugar and its many by-products led to the development of Barbados as the jewel of the British Empire in the 17th and 18th centuries. As a result, sugar and rum are deeply knitted into the economic, historical and socio-cultural fabric of the Barbados people.”
“We owe it to our ancestors to tell this story,” Dr Hall said.
She added that Barbados had to look at its own tourism product and come up with ways to keep it relevant.
“Sugar and rum was a no-brainer since the story of sugar and rum is unique to Barbados. This year is a pilot and we want to see how well it does so, next year, we would know exactly what needs to be done. We want to bring this country to life,” the BTPA CEO added.
The season aims to sensitize owners of restaurants, bars and nightclubs about the story of rum and its value to the economy, encourage wider use and consumption of Barbadian rum among locals and visitors, demonstrate the versatility of rum in culinary use, educate locals and visitors about Barbados’ rich rum and sugar heritage and enhance the tourism product offering.
Dr Hall sought to clarify that the new initiative was not like the already running Barbados Food and Rum Festival. “The season is more nationalistic and broad-based and runs for a longer period of time,” she said.
Manager of Innovation and Strategy at the BTPA, Terry Vanterpool-Fox, reiterated that the season should not be confused with the Food and Rum Festival.
“The Barbados Sugar and Rum Season is not a festival. While this year the BTPA is running the pilot, we will be looking to host the season throughout the winter period in the future. The Food and Rum Festival is organized by the BTMI….,” Vanterpool-Fox said.
“The season being launched today will build on what the BTMI is currently promoting, by adding to the culinary tourism niche and enhancing the cultural heritage tourism product offering.”
Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, endorsed the event, calling it a very significant occasion. He encouraged all Barbadians to get on board.