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‘Better artistes’ key to tourism

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

‘Better artistes’ key to tourism

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Teen Talent producer Richard Stoute does not hold out very much hope for a vibrant tourism industry if the better entertainers in Barbados are not given a high profile role to play in its promotion.
“We have killed it [tourism industry],” said Stoute recently as he was giving an overview of where entertainment was headed.
He said that it was necessary for tourists visiting Barbados to see the best entertainers perform in the hotels, and referred to a recent occasion when calypso monarch Mighty Gabby and Soca Ambassador Alison Hinds were featured in a Board of Tourism promotion on the United States television network Good Morning America recently.
“When a person sees that and comes here, they are going to ask for Gabby and Alison Hinds. Where can they go to hear these people who promoted Barbados? If a visitor turns on the radio and hears the calypso king of Barbados, where can they go to hear him?     
“The same thing obtains with NIFCA: someone wins a gold medal.
“Where can you go to here him sing or see him perform?
“But yet we talk about a tourist industry. You cannot have tourism without entertainment.     
“All of these people who have accomplished victories should be [facilitated] to perform regularly in the hotels.”
Stoute said that alternatively “when you go into the hotels you see a bunch of mediocre entertainers, a guy in the corner with a steel pan playing a drum machine, so your artistic people are not given a chance to produce.
So what tourism industry do we have, [we are just waiting] for the Crop Over Festival to come and go and sing two songs in a calypso tent”.
“If you are selling your country as a tourist resort, you have to [engage] your better people. If the tourists come here every year and hear a man with a steel pan and a hi-fi [deejay] there is no reason to come back.
“People want value for money now. The one thing that is going to save this country is culture.
Treating culture badly is like having a wife and not going home to her. She is going to leave you.
“We are not giving fair opportunity to further develop our artistic people,” said Stoute a Gold Crown Of Merit and Barbados Service Star awardee for his contribution to the music industry and community. “That is why I am teaching my Teen Talent graduates to put on their own concerts.” (JS)