It was a time of celebration for the Barbados delegation at last week’s World Travel Market (WTM) in London as both Kerrie Symmonds, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, and destination Barbados were recognized at the leading global event for the travel industry.
Top UK tour operator, Virgin Holidays, issued the ‘Everyone Can Take on The World’ award to Symmonds for his promotion of a policy of diversity and inclusiveness in Caribbean tourism.
The award came following a commitment the Minister made recently during his speech at the opening ceremony of a Virgin Holidays sponsored training course for hospitality workers in Barbados. There he stated that “the image of discrimination and undesirability surrounding the region’s treatment of persons with disabilities and same sex preferences respectively, has to come to an end and my policy is that Barbados must lead by example in order to ensure that the change is tangible and that the process of change is expedited.”
Destination Barbados also shone bright, celebrated as the best destination for weddings and honeymoons at the Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards, beating Mauritius to the top spot as voted for by thousands of UK travel agents.
‘Year of Wellness and Soft Adventure’ at Barbados booth
Both accolades came against the backdrop of Barbados’ stunning interactive booth at WTM, where approximately 100 meetings were held with key buyers.
Once again, the booth was designed and constructed to showcase the culture and diversity of the destination to the travel industry. During the conference, the BTMI unveiled its new marketing focus for 2019 – the ‘Year of Wellness and Soft Adventure’. The theme was brought to life through healthy juices mixed by ‘blender bicycle’ on the stand itself, and served to guests at the Wellness Bar; a daily Wellness Hour with chef Michael Harrison serving Barbadian cuisine and a range of teas; masseuses on hand to help visitors relax after a hard day’s work; video content promoting Barbados’ soft adventure highlights; and even Virtual Reality headsets to bring the Barbados experience to life.
Symmonds said he was delighted with the outcome for Barbados at his first WTM show. “Visitors from the UK are tracking to be their highest ever in 2018, so it was very important that we came to London with a strong invitation to our partners here to work even more with us next year to break that record again,” he said.
“I have also been honoured to collect two awards for Barbados while I have been here, showing once more how highly esteemed our island is in the UK. It has been impressive and encouraging to see the delegation working so hard this last three days and I think we have every reason to look forward to 2019 with optimism.” (PR)