Education and promotion of the island’s blue economy from an early age will be the driving force towards advancing environmental tourism, says a top local tourism official.
CEO of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), Senator Rudy Grant, was speaking at the launch of the Barbados Divefest Kids Awareness Programme today, where he pointed out that teaching children about conservation of the marine environment and instilling them with skills such as swimming can reap benefits for the island’s tourism sector.
“It is very important that we start from a tender age to teach the children about the marine environment, to teach them the need to keep the environment clean and to provide them to opportunity to be able to swim as well,” said Grant.
“The experience which our visitors have relates to that authentic interaction with Barbadians and if more Barbadians could swim, if more Barbadians are participating in activities utilizing the marine environment then there is the opportunity for more interaction with visitors,” he added.
The four-week Kids Awareness programme hosted by Barbados Divefest at Aquarius Watersports will accommodate 100 children.
They will be taught swimming and diving, and will also be educated on pollution, the conservation and protection of the oceans.
The BHTA CEO also affirmed his organisation’s support for government’s plans to assign protected marine areas.
“We believe that is very important because that allows for the conservation and sustainability efforts to be undertaken to ensure that the marine resources which we have are available not only to this generation but to future generations as well,” he said.
Touching on the promotion of Divefest, Senator Grant said that the festival which attracted local and international divers, has “significant room for growth”.
Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) Manager of Sports Devon Chase called for involvement in water sports and noted that the island’s marine tourism product was undeniable.
“I think Barbados is just as beautiful under the water as we are above it and certainly it add to the diversity of the product offering… We are open for diving all year round!” Chase said. (KK)