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Taking the puff out of tourism


RICKY BLACKMAN

Taking the puff out of tourism

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IS BARBADOS SERIOUS about tourism and developing Barbados as a competitive destination to which people can travel, to get away from the everyday stress and strife that often are a part of life in many of our major markets?

If that is indeed the case then key tourism stakeholders should be more vocal on the smoking ban and say that it could be a major thorn in the side of efforts to build the tourism product.

Many of the visitors to Barbados cannot enjoy a smoke in their respective countries because of similar restrictions and bans on smoking.

Why then for heaven’s sake are we moving to make Barbados as restrictive and unattractive as the First World countries that are our major sources of tourists?

Don’t get me wrong, I am a non-smoker and believe that we should be protected. However, a total ban on public smoking is in my opinion going a bit too far!

What should have been done is a partial ban on smoking with specific, clearly marked areas designated for people who want to have a puff.

The non-smokers would be able to see these areas and avoid them while the smokers would be able to have their pleasure without affecting or endangering anyone else.

Was any research done on the impact this ban would have on visitors coming to Barbados? Were any surveys done where tourists were asked specifically if this ban would deter them or encourage them to come back?

I have travelled far and wide and I think I can say without much fear of contradiction that per capita, Barbados is among the least smoking countries in the world!

Tourists have approached me at public events like cricket at the Oval and asked for the smoking section.

When told they were free to light up where they were, they were in shock as no one in the hundreds around them was smoking! We have a bad habit of taking things too far!

RICKY BLACKMAN

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