A Government Senator is calling on his administration to do more to tap into the niche market of disabled tourists.
According to Senator Dr Rommel Springer, while there continues to be cursory mention of catering to the disabled travelling public, there needs to be more meaningful steps towards making this a reality.
During debate on the final report of the National Cruise Development Commission, Senator Springer contended that heritage tourism can be the catalyst for building out this niche market.
He argued that heritage tourism can allow for the use of all sensory perceptions in the telling of the story and this could be especially appealing to those who do not have the benefit of sight.
Speaking as a “student of heritage studies”, the senator suggested that Barbados could offer much to a visitor who is visually impaired.
Senator Springer said: “There are a number of monuments in The City, where guided tours for these persons can be conducted and they can touch, they can feel and they can hear the history of these monuments.”
He noted his experience of seeing people being inspired by touching names inscribed on war monuments.
He added: “It is true that these persons may not have the power of sight but they still can create a picture in their mind, especially if the guide is talented enough to explain what is happening around you.
“Even in terms of the Parliament building we could have miniatures of the structure built so that persons can have a feel of the overall architecture.”
Without going into detail, Senator Springer contended that even some of the unpleasant odours of the historic capital could be integrated into telling a story.
He said: “Sometimes it does not have to be the most pleasant smells because sometimes the unpleasant ones tell a story as well.
“So, you can go into parts of Bridgetown and you can tell a story and you can have the evidence of the various odours be it the smell of flowers or the smell of something else but that will give a meaningful experience to that person who is visually impaired to get a sense of what life in Barbados might have been 100 years ago.”
He pointed out that even the graveyards in The City could form part of this experience.
The Senator further argued that Barbados could tap into the international trend of tracking down ancestral roots through genealogical research, noting that this could help visitors form a connection with the island.