TOURISM MATTERS: Deal could yield positive results
I regularly track Barbados and, especially Barbados’ tourism, through GOOGLE News Alert to try and capitalize on opportunities and highlight points of interest.
Last week, what initially looked like a slightly frivolous story leaped out of the Scottish edition of the very popular British SUN newspaper.
The headline read: Millport sets sights on old palms act with Caribbean twin.
With the help of the Barbados Tourism Authority’s London’s office, “a 20-strong business delegation is set to jet out to Bridgetown shortly in a bid to clinch the twinning deal”, according to the publication.
So, what does this tiny town, with a population of around 2 000 people, have in common with Barbados?
Well, they both have beaches and palm trees.
But it goes beyond that. The Scottish National Watersports Centre is based on this island. Imagine the allure of our warm seas after wearing a triple insulated wetsuit. And with their limited seasonality for instruction, could there be some synergies with our own wind and kitesurfing enterprises?
There is also a Marine Research Station, perhaps even having some common interest with the local Bellairs Institute.
One of the supporters of the initiative is a former two-year resident of Barbados, and since then, a frequent visitor, Victoria Lee.
This is no ordinary woman.
Not long ago, she was given less than a month to live having suffered multiple organ failure as a result of Crohns disease. Undaunted, after 11 months being bedridden, she went on to form her own company, Glitter Beach Ltd, and beat over 200 other new start-up business owners to win the Bright Business Idea Competition, claiming a prize worth nearly BDS$100 000.
Her foundation charity is raising monies to fund the construction of a respite house for ostomy, Crohns, ulcerative colitis, bowel and urinary cancer patients here.
Their Ostomy Angels are shipping out an assortment of ostomy appliances to be used by patients.
During their stay, a charity luncheon will be hosted with the profits going to help ostomy patients and train four “stoma” nurses on the island.
There are also plans to mount an annual Caribbean music festival in Millport to celebrate Scotland/Barbados links and boost tourism and trade for both countries.
The scheme is being backed by Ayrshire politicians, including Member of the Scottish Parliament, Kenneth Gibson, “who also wants to try to establish a new direct flight from Glasgow to Barbados”.
In the event that Scotland separates from the United Kingdom this brings, what may be a distant, but possible, new twist to the dreaded airport passenger duty (APD). Scottish airports could clearly have a very distinctive advantage over their southern neighbours by eliminating this burdensome tax I never ceased to be amazed how fortunate “we” are to have these incredible friends of Barbados and I hope that Victoria receives all the support she so obviously and richly deserves.
Potential corporate sponsors reading this column can reach her at [email protected]