Sealy: Food Fest a plus
?THE?INAUGURAL BARBADOS Food, Wine and Rum Festival has been a huge benefit for agro-tourism.
In the House of Assembly yesterday, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy said there were spin-offs for agriculture and tourism from the festival, which started last November.
“The first edition of the festival was a success,” he reported. “We had about 1 000 visitors and that is nothing to do with the local participation.
“It was a chance for the local chefs to stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the best chefs in the world.”
Sealy gave the assurance that future editions of the festival would have more of a community thrust.
He spoke about the benefits of the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) project and its agro-tourism link.
It’s a collaboration between the Ministry of Tourism and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) aimed at generating employment opportunities for the growth of mini and small businesses.
Sealy said one of the specific clusters from the MIF project is agro-processing.
“We have specific projects and we have an overall policy that is aimed at developing the agro-tourism link. This is an exciting time to take advantage of that link.”
The tourism minister said he was pleased that there were Barbadian companies supplying dairy and poultry products to cruise liners and he would like to see more businesses involved.
Sealy spoke about heavy tourist spending on food items. He told the House that after accommodation the largest chunk of visitor expenditure related to food and beverages.
Of the $1.2 billion spent on tourism last year, $160 million was on food and beverages, he noted. (MK)