A number of small business operators will soon be able to set up shop at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA).
Minister of Tourism Kerrie Symmonds said the move was designed to give entrepreneurs an opportunity to expand their revenue-earning potential.
“They have been invited to put in their proposals and the airport is going through all of that process now so that we can start for the first time ever to have Barbadians selling products – their own creations and expressing their creativity – in the airport in their country,” Symmonds told Barbados TODAY in a recent interview.
The first six small business operators have now been selected and could be setting up their operations there in a matter of weeks.
“There must be commercial shopping space in the airport so that there can be revenue opportunities not only for the big players in Barbados, but also for the ordinary people. Within a couple of weeks from now, we will launch at the airport, the introduction of six or seven new kiosks which really are for ordinary Barbadians who have a business idea,” said Symmonds.
He explained that this formed part of Government’s wider plan for the development of the airport.
Officials are currently in the process of selecting investors for a private/public sector partnership to develop and operate the facility. Under a 30-year concession plan, the investor will pump between $260-$300 million into its expansion and development.
“We all grew up in a Barbados where the airport was for big business people and the small business people just pass through, and that can’t work. So the transformation of the whole thing is what is critical,” said Symmonds.
He also promised that a wider range of dining options would be introduced, pointing out that the current options were “limited and we have to expand that”.
“In addition to that there has to be better administrative space to do the business that the airport must do, and comfortably accommodate port health and immigration and all the other people who have to be there, but are now not sufficiently well accommodated,” he said.
“It is really about bringing Grantley Adams into the 21st century,” he added.