Four months in office, the Government is already suggesting that investors are regaining an interest in doing business with Barbados, according to Minister of Tourism Kerrie Symmonds.
“Since we have brought some settlement to the economy and entry into the IMF arrangement, there are a number of investors lining up showing interest in Barbados,” Symmonds said just after the opening of the Society of American Travel Writers’ annual conference at the Hilton Barbados.
He reeled off a list of tourism property developments to back his claim.
He cited the Beaches all-inclusive hotel resort chain, which has taken a “considerable interest” in Barbados, promising a new 500-plus room hotel by “by the turn of next year”.
Hilton Grand Vacations, one of the major timeshare retailers in the US has just invested in the Crane Beach Resort, which is approximately 500 beds, “and in January they will start building 43 new units”.
The Sands hotel in Worthing with 153 rooms “should come on board by year-end”, Symmonds added.
“We are glad to see there are people who still feel Barbados is a destination worthy of doing business with,” he said.
The Minister of Tourism has also revealed that the Ministry of the Blue Economy has commissioned feasibility studies of the creation of two offshore islands on the west coast, a promise in the Barbados Labour Party’s 2018 general election manifesto.
“There are one or two sites earmarked for that investment, but the reclamation process will take a couple of years,” Symmonds said.
The Minister of Tourism also welcomed the increased airlift out of the United States, expressing hope that “we can develop enough interest in Barbados as a destination that these airlines would be willing to keep this service going year-round”.
American Airlines has begun a new daily service from Charlotte, North Carolina, and a third daily service out of Miami, Florida, beginning this winter season.
The Minister also spoke of getting Barbados more involved in community tourism, mentioning a project encompassing his constituency of St James Central and the neighbouring St James South riding that will celebrate prominent Barbados and West Indies cricketers who hailed from the Holders Hill area, such as Desmond Haynes and Courtney Browne.
“We are looking at a community tourism project on Barbadian sports heroes, as we want to find creative ways of bringing communities into the tourism effort, which will result in financial benefits for the people who live there.
“We want to ensure that community tourism is one of the things people will want to get involved in when they come, for example, instead of dining at a restaurant we would like visitors to dine at a Barbadian home, so they can experience genuine Barbadian cuisine in a home environment.”