Government has again promised that the long-awaited opening of the Wyndham Grand Hotel, at the site of the historic Sam Lord’s Castle Hotel, will finally take place “by the year-end”.
Additionally, Minister of Tourism Senator Lisa Cummins said that when the St. Philip facility does open, it will be a personification of what was presently being done in tourism. That is, incorporating a little bit of the old and a whole lot of the new, to take the sector forward.
Speaking at a service of thanksgiving at the Sanctuary Empowerment Centre, Country Road, St. Michael on Sunday to launch the Tourism Week of activities, Cummins also said that the 450-room hotel will be a major site for the meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) market. At the same time, making up the seating capacity lost at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre with the emergence and expansion of Ross University at the Two Mile Hill, St. Michael facility.
“With 700 seating capacity at the Wyndham on the east coast and investment attraction for the development of a brand-new convention facility also in the centre of the island, we expect that Barbados is going to be in a position to attract more meetings, more international conferences and more conventions. One of the key things I do want to say here is for us in tourism ‘Spiritual tourism’ is also a big push and we’ve got many people who are coming for conventions and coming for conferences,” she said.
This is but one of the government’s initiatives as it seeks to recover from the considerable impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the sector. Others include incorporating the youth more and youth innovations, boosting entrepreneurship as well as seeking out investment attractions and bringing new products to the country.
With regard to “Rethinking Tourism” as this year’s theme suggests, the minister also indicated the need for some changes in the way things have always been done in tourism if it is to progress.
“There is so much that we have done historically, there is so much institutional knowledge in our sector and that is important. But some of that stuff now needs to change and certainly what we have all seen, the way we do church isn’t the same as it always was before. The way we do tourism is certainly not the way we do tourism anymore and the way we approach every single sector and the way we engage with each other has also transformed. What that means for all of us is that over the course of the coming week and the weeks ahead, you are going to see some newness and some traditional stuff, we are bringing that balance,” Cummins said.
Tourism Week continues with the public being encouraged to wear yellow in celebration of World Tourism Day on Tuesday, this followed the Tourism Future Leaders forum and a special Bus Yuh Brain tourism forward edition today. An exciting T15 celebrity cricket match is scheduled at the 3Ws Oval and a career showcase is planned at the Grantley Adams International Airport, both on Wednesday. The week concludes with a rural community shout-out, ending at the food truck mash-up.