Tourism ‘here to stay’
Tourism researcher and consultant Dr Kerry Hall has suggested that Barbadians need to understand the history of tourism and give it the recognition, appreciation and respect it deserves.
The industry has had a critical role in the socioeconomic development of the country for more than 250 years.
Hall and architectural historian Professor Henry Fraser have co-authored Island In The Sun: The Story Of Tourism In Barbados which chronicles the development of the industry from its earliest days in pictorial and narrative form.
Speaking during the launch of the book recently at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel, Hall noted that “tourism has been around for a very long time and it is not going anywhere”.
She pointed out that tourism was cyclical.
“We’re going through severe economic times here in 2013 and we’re looking at tourism to save us. Back in the 1880s when sugar failed . . . tourism buffered this economy and kept Barbados afloat during those very trying times,” she said.
As tourism officials seek to attract more Brazilian visitors, Hall said Hastings and Worthing were once known as the Spanish quarter and the Brazilian village “because we had so many Brazilians”.
“We used to speak Portuguese and serve Portuguese food in Bridgetown back in the 1890s and the early 1900s,” she said.
Hall also pointed out that Barbados was a health and wellness destination in the early days and visitors came to “recuperate and rehabilitate”.
“In those days it was the medicinal properties of the salt water, it was the healthy ozone of the trade winds and it was the salubrious environment in Barbados.
“That is why tourism started on the East Coast. The West Coast was a mosquito infested swamp,” she said.
The historian added that good food, clean accommodation and personalized service were what made the tourism industry successful back then and today’s tourists were asking for the same things. (NB)