EDITORIAL - Do not miss the opportunity
Thu, 07/28/2016 - 12:00am
The sweetest summer festival is under way, but you couldn’t tell by looking – there are few signposts and decorations up across the length and breadth of the country to remind Barbadians and visitors alike that the Crop Over Festival is taking place.
We thought that given the fact that the country is celebrating its 50th anniversary of Independence, that greater effort would have been made on the part of the relevant authorities and even the private sector to promote the festival, building up hype among the public. It has also been a missed opportunity at this time as it relates to our 50th anniversary of independent nationhood, as one would have thought that with thousands of visitors both from the Barbadian Diaspora and otherwise descending upon these shores, that Crop Over would have been the perfect backdrop to entice persons to come back to the island in November to join with Barbadians to celebrate our golden jubilee.
The country should have been illuminated in the national colours, even if not on the scale done during the month of November. From the time visitors leave the Grantley Adams International Airport or the Bridgetown Port en route to their hotel, guest house or wherever, there should be visible, in-your-face signage which tells all those persons that November and in particular November 30 is a momentous time for the country and that Barbados is the place to be then.
November 30, 2016 is an important milestone and it should feel as such. And even if those who see the signs do not come back, they could tell friends and family who may be inclined to take the trip themselves.
Now, there are some who will argue that this type of marketing and promotion is not necessary, but tourism remains this country’s main economic earner, and every effort should be made to attract visitors to this nation. Their visits are key to acquiring valuable foreign exchange and keeping thousands of Barbadians employed.
Come next week, just days after the Kadooment jump up, the Barbados Network Consultation 2016 – otherwise known as the 4th Diaspora Conference – will take place at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, attracting hundreds of Barbadians, Barbadian descendants and their friends. There are people who may not have travelled here for any of the Crop Over activities who will attend that conference, and so that conference too should be used to appeal to them to return to the island in a few short months to celebrate the 50th anniversary. We certainly hope that the organisers of the conference have taken this into consideration and will go the extra mile to put excitement in the air.
Indeed, one cannot ignore that there was criticism levelled at Government regarding the price tag for the launch of the Independence celebrations, and that to do this type of advertising could also be costly. But the private sector can be approached to offer sponsorship, thereby cutting the cost to taxpayers.
They should be reminded of the benefits to the business community and the island in general should we have record arrivals prior to the start of the winter tourist season.
So while there are only a few days to go before the Crop Over climax, and the start of the Conference, we do not believe it is too late to push the envelope in order to truly help make Independence Day 2016 the very best it can be.