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Master plan for tourism

by Gercine Carter

Master plan for tourism

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Barbados is to get a Tourism Master Plan to chart the direction of the industry for the next decade, and Barbadian input at all levels is being sought.
At yesterday’s launch of the White Paper on tourism development, which will inform the Tourism Master Plan, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy said Barbados’ $1.2 billion-dollar tourism industry was too important to continue to be operated in an “ad hoc, loose manner”.
Addressing tourism stakeholders at the LLoyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Sealy said the White Paper would set out the national tourism policy for Barbados,
Government’s vision, and an overall framework for tourism development for the future.
And he specifically credited late Prime Minister David Thompson with the idea of a tourism master plan, saying it was part of Thompson’s vision for the development of Barbados, while he was Leader of the Opposition.
According to Sealy, there was “an absence of an appropriate policy framework for the tourism industry” at that time and he said Thompson had made a commitment to embark on such a plan whenever he took over the reins of Government.
The recently reactivated Tourism Advisory Council headed by Dr Sherma Roberts has been charged with leading the process for the development of the White Paper.
Roberts told yesterday’s meeting: “The ultimate goal is that we have an end product in the White Paper and in the Master Plan that will represent the people of Barbados and how they see tourism impacting their lives.”
She added that the document would provide the strategic direction for the development of tourism in Barbados over the next ten years.
There will be public consultations at town hall meetings across the island, while an online forum is being provided for people in the diaspora and others unable to attend the public meetings to make their contribution.
Roberts anticipated a discussion document formulated by the Tourism Advisory Council would be widely distributed and would provide “a basis to kick-start the conversation about the White Paper”.
Town hall meetings are expected to begin within the next three weeks at Alexandra School in St Peter, Princess Margaret School in St Philip and Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St Michael.