Since we posted this blog awhile back it has been receiving hits galore. Believe it or not the top searches on the Internet which stumbled on Barbados Underground blog were ‘homosexuality’ and ‘nude beaches’. This little BU statistic provoked a little thinking which pushed us to ask, why not? Why can’t we have a nude beach(s) in Barbados? Our tourist product is becoming a little tired and the people who have been driving it for the past fourteen years appear to be all out of imagination. Their solution is to spend more marketing dollars. Guess what Barbados, we are starting to get stiff competition from Grenada, St, Lucia and the other neighbouring islands. They have the natural beauty which the traditional tourist yearns, and they can buy it at a significantly reduced price when compared to Barbados.
Heaven help us when the current myopic United States foreign policy removes its embargo on Cuba and it becomes an unfettered option as a world travel destination. What we can we do in Barbados to diversify our product?
We are tired about hearing about heritage tourism because that will not cut it. We simply do not have the kind of attractions that can attract droves of tourists to Barbados using the heritage tag. We would need attractions the equivalent to the Kaieteur Falls, Soufriere Volcano, Blue Mountains, Cuisine of the Caribbean (we don’t get a notable mention as a destination rich in cuisine delights of the Caribbean), the architecture, we could go on. Of course Barbados has a lot going for it, a highly developed island with high standard of living, good telecommunication infrastructure, stable political climate etc. Unfortunately the majority of tourists who we target are quite accustomed to most of the attractions we have to offer. The sea and sand sell can’t be our only drawing card because other destinations have it in great abundance at a more affordable price.
Now that the US economy seems ready to ease into a recession and even if it doesn’t air travel to Barbados from our traditional markets is increasing out of all reason, some tough decisions will have to be made on both sides. The tourist will examine travel markets where they can get more for less and Barbados must examine its tourism product to target non traditional tourists. We know that the highly religious society of Barbados will not think about the homosexual market. But there is another tourist segment which is out there which maybe beckoning the Barbados authorities. Naturalists in Europe especially are looking for more nude beaches to bare their assets.
Adrian Loveridge and the Barbados Tourism Authority over to you!