Gospel tourism plug
THE EXECUTIVE PRODUCER of Barbados Gospelfest says Barbados has much to gain from faith-based tourism. Adrian Agard made this point as he spoke during a town hall public consultation for the formulation of a white paper on tourism development in Barbados, last Monday night at St James Secondary School.
Agard shared information that was intended to help focus some of the attention on the validity of seriously engaging the faith-based travel market. He said the information was gleaned while doing research for Gospelfest 2011. He indicated that there was much scope for expanding our offerings to this market because in addition to a wealth of cultural and artistic talent and contemporary established ministries, the country had inherited a wide range of sites of faith-based significance.
“It is our contention that based on our unique history Barbados has much to offer to potential faith-based visitors. Our feedback from visitors to the Barbados Gospelfest over the past 18 years convinces us that Barbados has the capacity to offer a substantial and unique product for the faith-based experience and fellowship segment of the market.”
According to the executive producer, at the global level faith-based travel is currently estimated at US$18 billion and 300 million travellers. And a Globus survey puts the total market for faith-based travel in the US at about 16.6 million people.
“Christians account for 40 to 45 per cent of Americans; they’re rich, poor, old, young, black white, Asian . . . with an estimated combined spending power of more than US$5.1 trillion annually.
“The US Commerce Department has reported that in 2008 more than 900 000 people from the US travelled internationally for religious purposes and, according to a study by the US Travel Association, nearly one-quarter of all US travellers are currently interested in taking spiritual vacation,” he said. (AH)