We Talk To Hon. Kerrie Symmonds, Barbados’ Minister of Tourism & International Transport

Bottom Bay Barbados
Bottom Bay Barbados.

LM: Travellers are very conscious of being environmentally friendly nowadays. What is Barbados doing to make sure it is an ethical place to visit?
KS: There are lots of new initiatives on the island, including banning single-use plastic from April this year. The importation, retail, sale and use of petro-based single-use plastic (plastic made from petroleum) will no longer be allowed in Barbados. The island attracted 623,293 visitors in 2018 and is committed to the fight against pollution and joins the growing list of countries attempting to halt the use of plastic.

Plastic contributes to the contamination of our marine species, and the water surrounding our beautiful island. Banning single-use plastics goes some way to ensuring the protection of our pristine beaches and crystal clear waters that we are famous for. Continuing to attract guests is our priority as we seek to enhance our sustainable credentials and continue to be an environmentally friendly destination.

We Talk To Hon. Kerrie Symmonds, Barbados’ Minister of Tourism & International Transport 4

Wildlife conservation is another priority for the island. The Barbados Sea Turtle Project has been involved in the conservation of the endangered marine turtle species for more than 25 years. Their long-term vision is to restore the local marine turtle population through research, education and public outreach. Barbados is currently home to the second -largest hawksbill turtle nesting population in the Caribbean, with up to 500 nesting females per year. Carlisle Bay in the south west of Barbados has recently become a designated marine protected area, popular with divers, swimmers and snorkelers. Preserving Barbados’ coastline, the marine environment, the health of its reefs and habitats of the marine plants and animals is an ongoing focus.

St. Nicholas Abbey
St. Nicholas Abbey.

LM: What are some of the must-see sites in Barbados?
KS: Even though the island is only 21 miles long, there is an incredible amount to see. We’ve already mentioned Harrison’s Cave where travellers can explore the heart of the island as they disappear underground. But there are so many other ways to see the island in all its glory.

We Talk To Hon. Kerrie Symmonds, Barbados’ Minister of Tourism & International Transport 5

Rum lovers love the St. Nicholas Abbey: Heritage Railway. The famous St. Nicholas Abbey rum distillery celebrated the opening of its new and exciting Heritage Railway in January 2019. The train itself was originally built in 1914 for a sugar plantation in Java. Visitors are taken three kilometres across open fields, through woodland and by the rock faces of the disused quarry.

We Talk To Hon. Kerrie Symmonds, Barbados’ Minister of Tourism & International Transport 6

Island safaris are a different way to see the island, and are a perfect group activity for families. The tours begin and end at wherever the passengers are staying and are around five and a half hours long. From Little Bay St Lucy, to Sandy’s Chattel Bar, there is something for everyone.

We love the water and seeing the island from the sea allows visitors to appreciate it on a different level. The catamaran cruises are relaxing and a great opportunity for a picnic offshore. Horse riding is another way to explore the island. There are plenty of trails for all abilities. You can either meander along the tracks or trailblaze through the undergrowth as you please.

Image of the 2019 Wave Awards courtesy of www.thewaveawards.com.

LM: And finally, we believe it is apt to say congratulations after Barbados won the WAVE Awards 2019. Do tell us a little more about that.
KS: Thank you. Yes, we are very pleased with this award. Barbados has been crowned ‘Favourite Cruise Destination’ as voted by the public, at this year’s WAVE Awards 2019, the most prestigious accolade in the UK cruising industry. The glamorous black-tie event took place last in March at London’s De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms. Barbados faced some stiff competition on the night from Jamaica, Croatia, Greece, Iceland and St. Petersburg, but the judging panel believed Barbados had the edge. The Wave Awards celebrate the very best of the UK’s cruise industry. They recognise and reward excellence and innovation in a business that is continuously evolving to deliver an exceptional experience, both onboard and ashore.

Barbados – Where and How?

To find out more about Barbados, and all it has to offer, take a look at www.visitbarbados.org.

Interview with Barbados Minister of Tourism The Hon. Kerrie Symmonds by Sabi Phagura

Editorial Team

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