St. Michael School student Makeda Bradshaw (left) shares a light moment with some of the repeat visitors.
Keeping it fresh
PRIME Minister the Rt Hon Freundel Stuart has given the assurance that Barbados will continue to diversify the island’s tourism product to ensure that it does not become monotonous for those who visit our shores.
His comments came during a repeat visitor reception – the second in a series of four – held at his official residence at Ilaro Court on Wednesday night, where he stated that the island cannot afford to rest on its laurels.
“We have to be constantly working on those delights and those attractions which we make available for your enjoyment, and therefore the tourism product of Barbados is under continuous review and development because we don’t want monotony to set in and when you come to Barbados you are bored unnecessarily,” Stuart said.
While thanking the visitors for making Barbados their home away from home, the prime minister highlighted the importance of tourism to the Barbados economy.
“The foreign exchange we earn is primarily earned from the tourist sector, and unless we have that foreign exchange we cannot support the quality of life and standard of living which we want for our people.
“Our economy imports much of what we need for our daily sustenance and our daily enjoyment and we really cannot take up Barbados dollars to go and shop in New York, Toronto, Ottawa and London. We need foreign currency to do that and that is the importance of visitors coming here and spending time and spending money with us,” he said.
The Prime Minister added that while many are drawn to the island for its beauty and good weather, he is often told by visitors that they are drawn to the warmth and hospitality of Barbadians.
Thanking the repeat visitors for their loyalty and their heavy investment into the society, he assured that efforts will be made to ensure that Barbados continues to be a congenial place for visitors, but stressed this will not be done to the detriment of Barbadians.
“Of course I am not to be understood to be suggesting that when we do that we are only for you. In fact, the primary duty of any government is to make the society congenial for its people. If it does not do that, of course it faces the threat of a very short life.
“So we try to make Barbados as congenial as possible, as comfortable a place for our citizens and of course once our citizens are comfortable, they are able to exude that warmth that you enjoy when you come to visit our shores and when you interact with our people. We live in a very turbulent world nowadays; wherever one can find an oasis of peace and tranquillity it has to be grabbed with both hands and fully enjoyed.”
It is against this backdrop that he offered his sympathy to the people of Canada after what was described by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a terrorist attack to that country, following an attack on a mosque in Quebec.
“We live in very turbulent times and we just have to thank God that it wasn’t worse... it could’ve been so much worse and we hope that of course justice will be served in that very unfortunate incident,” he said.