Travel in Barbados: Words on the Future of Caribbean Travel

Coat of arms of Barbados

Image via Wikipedia

Bonnie Leonce has published a warm article on my Barbados trip here on page 8: Inclusive Tourism

The Barbados Council or the Disabled also published this story today. It is quite clear from my conversations with Minister Sealy and his competent staff that Barbados really "gets" this issue:

’Inclusive’ tourism a welcome addition

The Barbados Tourism Industry welcomes inclusive tourism to the product mix says Mr. Richard Sealy, Minister of Tourism.

 

“Even

 though we have achieved a significant level of success, much more is needed to make Barbados a fully accessiblemarket for locals and visitors alike. The destination must cater to all types of disabilities,” explained Minister Sealy at the Ministry of Tourism  Inclusive Tourism Symposium entitled “Working towards a Fully Accessible Barbados” (FAB) on Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

 

The Minister launched an appeal to encourage businesses to retrofit their facilities to accommodate the disabled members in our community and suggested to new businesses to ensure that their architectural designs are functional to ensure the comfort of all guests.

 

He pointed out, “In Barbados we have continuously carved out niches within the industry such as sports, health, heritage, etc., we now welcome Inclusive Tourism to the product mix.”

 

The Minister explained the economic value to including disabled visitors. He reported, “According to the United Nations, 650 million people or ten percent of the world’s population is disabled. A portion of that ten percent lives in or wants to travel to the Caribbean. Interestingly, Barbados’ number one source market, the United Kingdom has approximately ten million persons living with disabilities and in England alone, 2.7 million that travel annually.

 

Similarly, in our second largest market (The USA), there are twenty-two million disabled persons who have travelled at least once in recent times. In Canada, our fourth largest source market, disabilities account for twenty-five billion in consumer spending. Implicit in these figures are the likelihood that Barbados receives a number of disabled guest on a yearly basis.”

 

He said based on these figures, “We would like to know that our guest are able to freely enjoy all that we have to offer without the constraints of inaccessibility. This demands that we upgrade with haste. This is particularly evident in some of the most recently refurbished hotels which have incorporated into their designs wheelchair ramps, handrails, specially equipped bathroom and accessible parking. The Ministry will pursue the goals of a Fully Accessible Barbados with vigour as we do other aspects of our tourism products.”

 

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