Government now has 30 ‘new friends’ following a decision to abolished visa restrictions on those countries.
This was revealed Friday afternoon by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Dr Jerome Walcott during a post-Cabinet press conference at Government headquarters, Bay Street, St Michael.
The minister said the decision to remove the visa restrictions was made during a Cabinet meeting.
He said the move was made with globalization in mind and recognising the need to expand the tourism and trade sectors and to foster new relationships.
Additionally, he explained that the visa restrictions had made it difficult for persons to visit the island.
“Three weeks ago, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs brought to Cabinet and was approved a paper for Barbados to establish relationships with 30 countries which we didn’t have relationships with before.
“We recognize that it is important for us to strengthen the relationships with the present countries with which we have been doing business for several years and indeed to make new friends in the global world and to seek new opportunities,” Dr Walcott said.
“And in terms of Barbados, we depend on tourism returns, we depend on investments and opportunities for business and in this regard we recognize that in terms of travel, that the stipulations of having visas act sometimes as a deterrent for tourists and indeed persons who are seeking to establish business and interact with the country.”
The minister said it meant that several African and Asian states would now be allowed to enter the country without a visa.
“We recognize and hope that the removal of these visa requirements would encourage a number of persons from these countries, not only in terms of tourism but also in terms of the possibility for investment and business,” Dr Walcott said.
Among some of the countries named were Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Morocco, Senegal, Rwanda, Bahrain, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Monaco and India.