Several visitors participating in Barbados’ 12-month Welcome Stamp Programme say they are happy to be here and are encouraging family and friends to join them.
They have relocated from places such as Barcelona, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States of America amid the COVID-19 pandemic and have been on island since early August.
At a welcome dinner hosted by the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) last night, Cris Torres, who is from Barcelona and was the first person to arrive in Barbados under the programme, described her experience.
“I had heard about the Welcome Stamp Programme and was very interested, but thought it would take some time to be initiated, so I went to Martinique with the intention of staying for three months until the programme got up and running. But in a week, the website was up and I was able to apply and receive my approval. I have never been to Barbados, and now I’m here, I’m glad that I chose the island to be my new home,” she said.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport Senator Lisa Cummins noted that the programme, which was launched in July, has been replicated by several countries, which she said is an indication that it is something of value.
“What tonight has indicated to us, is that there are people who are familiar with Barbados, who chose to come here and to call here home. There are people who are not familiar with Barbados who have never come to Barbados before, but heard of the Welcome Stamp Programme and brought their entire families here. I met a family who had been here working before; their daughter had been born here and they decided that in lockdown they were coming back to Barbados to live,” she said.
“I’ve met young entrepreneurs and young business people who were travelling in other parts of the world and made their way to Barbados to work from here, because of the Welcome Stamp Programme.
“So, the range of people who we see coming tells us that we have a tremendous opportunity to market Barbados as a long-stay destination for persons who want to be able to work from home,” the Minister added.
She said the programme has been “a phenomenal success so far”.
The Tourism Minister added that the initiative is seeing significant and heightened interest from people living in countries going back into COVID-19 lockdown, and the Government will be ramping up marketing of the programme in the coming weeks and months.
Since announcing the programme, the Government has received more than 2 800 applications.