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From left: Member of Parliament for St. Lucy, the Hon. Peter Phillips; Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports, the Hon. John King; and Minister of Tourism and International Transport, the Hon. Kerrie Symmonds having a light moment during the launch of We Gatherin’ Barbados 2020 Heritage Connection Centres and Genealogy Marketplace at St. Lucy Parish Church, yesterday.

New Tourism Buzz

Barbados is on the road to successfully positioning itself as a year-round destination, and not just a sun, sea and sand winter get-away.

Having just been named the Caribbean’s Top Wellness Destination at the Caribbean Travel Marketplace, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Kerrie Symmonds is ready to push other travel experiences, one being Genealogy Tourism.

“It was a year and a half ago that we sat down in a strategic session and looked at how we can find new ways of trying to bring visitors across this island and get them from simply being on the beaches. And the concept of Health Tourism is one of those things that we looked at. I am happy therefore that it has paid great dividends and we moved from getting on board to being on top.”

“But, I am equally happy about the opportunities that are presented by Genealogy Tourism, which is really a critical component of what we are going to need to be doing in order to transform Barbados’ tourism experience for the future,” he pointed out during the official launch of the We Gatherin’ Barbados 2020 Heritage Connection Centres and Genealogy Marketplace at St. Lucy Parish Church, yesterday.

According to the Tourism Minister, “There is no part of the world that you can find the major economic provider being the fuel of the economy for only seven to nine months of the year.”

He therefore stressed the need to realistically assess “what we are doing, and how we have been doing it", and make a conscientious effort to remove the trough period from tourism.

“So, that we can have a relatively stable and level playing field for all participants in every aspect of Barbados’ tourism year-round… And that allows therefore for our visitors to be encouraged to come here not just because they see Barbados as a warm weather getaway, but come to Barbados to experience the magic and intrigue and the opportunities of this island on a year-round basis. And to get them to do that therefore we have to be offering them a menu of new options, and Genealogy Tourism is one of those new options,” Symmonds said.

The Genealogy Marketplace was conceptualised in 2015 by the Archives Department as a part of the celebrations of the Fiftieth Anniversary of Barbados’ Independence. Shortly thereafter, the then Barbados Tourism Product Authority came on board using this platform to develop a new niche market of Genealogy Tourism.

Subsequently, five Genealogy Marketplaces have been held with great success. Eleven Genealogy Marketplaces will now take place as part of the ‘We Gatherin’ initiative starting in St. Lucy and continuing in each parish, with the final one to be held in November within the parish of St. Michael.
Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports, John King urged patrons to take advantage of these free opportunities to trace their roots.

He said that from the Babbs in St. Lucy to the Haynes in St. John, each and every last name reveals a little piece of the puzzle that is your life.

“For many years our ancestors have been travelling across the world and usually the piece left behind is the name, whether imported or exported,” he indicated.

“Names tell the story of Barbadians journeying to Panama to seek out a better life and starting families. They tell the stories of persons travelling to Brazil. The stories of the British coming to Barbados and having families; persons from neighbouring Caribbean Islands settling right here on these shores; Persons from North America who were so captivated by our 166 square miles that they decided to make it their permanent home or even second home.”

“Barbados has a long and a strong connection with those in the Carolinas linked directly to our bustling sugar cane trade back in the day and we all know that often when there is emigration or immigration, there is usually procreation,” King said.

Member of Parliament for St. Lucy, Peter Phillips commended the marketplace held in association with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. and Barbados Archives Department.

“This event gives opportunity to our small business persons, entrepreneurs, agencies to show off and show Barbados and the rest of the world what we have to offer... I trust that the experience here in St. Lucy today, will be beneficial to those participating as this is a grand opportunity,” he expressed. (TL)

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