Attractions droop from lack of supportAnthony Hunte says inland tourist attractions like his gardens at Castle Grant, St Joseph, need a push from tourism marketers. (Nigel Browne)
By Marlon Madden | Thu, May 26, 2011 - 12:00 AM
HUNTE’S GARDENS AND NURSERY may be in bloom but business is not – at least not full bloom.
Proprietor Anthony Hunte said he believed there was room for improvement, not only with his flower business but with attractions across the island.
The 68-year-old entrepreneur said the winter season continued to be the most important period for the flower business, and despite a paucity of road signs and “limited” advertising he was able to do reasonably well so far.
“The attractions struggle in Barbados because we need business from the hotels and if we could get more people moving around Barbados, the cottage industries would spring up; the little lady would make the fish cakes, pottery would benefit. All the various people in Barbados would benefit.
“We would have a more vibrant all-over business if tourists were put in the cars and encouraged to get out and do things and go places. The people who you meet here are the ones who have been coming to Barbados over and over,” he said.
“The attractions need more support from the entire island and if they are supported it would make a better package for the whole of Barbados. If people could get to the country and we got more people involved, the entire country would improve,” added Hunte, who has been in the plant nursery business for more than 40 years.
Hunte’s Gardens – besides being an attraction, a place for picnics, weddings and other functions – includes a nursery called Hunte’s Nursery.
Hunte has been collecting plants for over 50 years. He said despite the ongoing recession and slow business environment, the garden was “still growing”.
He posited that hotels and larger attractions were not doing enough to advertise the country as a whole since most of them “own” most of the attractions on the island.
“So the small man, the taxi men and us who are not hooked up, we cannot get the business because it is really pre-organised because they own specific attractions,” argued Hunte.
Apart from the need to attract more visitors to the Castle Grant, St Joseph facility, Hunte said it was difficult to find dedicated workers. Hunte’s Gardens currently has one employee.
“I had more workers but at the minute, while we are trying to use local workers, we are finding it extremely difficult to find qualified and willing people for gardening,” he said.
Hunte said his plan going forward was to “continue developing and gradually making Hunte’s Garden bigger”. He said he was not currently exporting any of his flowers and it was not something he was thinking about.
Maurice and Linda Storey, who were on their fourth visit to the island from England, told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY they referred to the garden as “a gem or a drop of paradise”.
Hunte’s Gardens and Nursery sits on about ten acres of land, with approximately 2.5 acres under “intense” cultivation.
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