Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley during is budget reply.
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Disney World Caribbean, a monorail, zip lines, revamping Farley Hill and Graeme Hall and a greater focus on cruise tourism are all a part of the Opposition Leader’s suggestions for improving Barbados’ tourism offering.
In his reply to the 2019 Financial Statement And Budgetary Proposals, Leader of the Opposition Bishop Joseph Atherley said it was not outside the realm of possibility for Barbados to one day host a Disney theme park.
“Government can identify several hundred acres of public land that can be used to build a huge theme park, such as a Disney World Caribbean resort. It would employ hundreds of Barbadians and Government could offer special land arrangements to the Disney Corporation as an incentive to get the property started,” he said.
Atherley said additional duty free concessions for construction imports could further sweeten the deal while it could be powered by solar energy. He said such an endeavour would be perfect here due to our climate.
“Barbados has summer all year long and when other Disney resorts are experiencing winter months, Disney marketing can promote travel to the resort here. This would provide a reason for long-stay tourism as well as additional cruise tourism,” he said.
Speaking of cruise tourism, the Opposition Leader questioned whether Barbados was pursuing the right tourism model and suggested it was time to focus more on the cruise sector than the traditional model. He said the cruise industry was responsible for millions of jobs and billions of dollars globally but Barbados was not capitalising on it as it should.
“We need to see how we can perhaps reorient the tilt of our tourism sector slightly more in the area of cruise tourism as opposed to the historical model which majors more so in hotel stays et cetera. Barbados must expand the variety and number of tours available to cruise travellers. Trends show today’s cruisers want transformational experiences that go far beyond the coach and walking tours. Cruisers today, particularly young adults and millennials, want cultural experiences and adventurous experiences such as zip lining,” he said.
Atherley said this would require incentivising companies to establish such tours, which would include food, music and events between the hours the cruisers would be on shore, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. He said it could include overhead tours of some East Coast areas using a monorail system, with stops at Farley Hill, Harrison Cave and the hot springs.
His other suggestions included restoring old aircraft and displaying them as models, with the Concorde as a centrepiece; restoring Farley Hill Great House into a restaurant; widening the runway at the Grantley Adams International Airport; a zip line from Farley Hill to Cattlewash and expanding the Graeme Hall swamp and the Wildlife Reserve. (CA)