Barbados republic: Island plans to shake up tourism and attract visitors all year round

After rolling out the ‘Welcome Stamp’ programme to attract people working from home, Barbados has plans to lure tourists all year round.

Slow tourism Barbados

Barbados will shake up its tourism model in the wake of becoming a republic, hoping to attract travellers all year round, the tourism minister has said.

The island nation has also renewed its Welcome Stamp programme – launched amid the pandemic – which grants people visas to work remotely in Barbados for a year.

Sustainable tourism is a key issue for Barbados, Senator Lisa Cummins told i, adding that the country does not want to only welcome “snowbirds” – such as tourists from the UK – who flock to the island for some sun during the winter months at home.

“Why would we want to cram two million visitors to a country of 166 square miles over a six-month period when we can spread that out over the course of a year?

“We don’t want it to get into conversations around things like over-tourism. We don’t want to be talking globally, as our prime minister [Mia Mottley] has about climate action and net zero, when we are ourselves engaging in practices that may or may not be sustainable.

“We want to make sure that longer stays, more sustainable stays… a longer extended tourism season rather than a truncated tourism season lends itself to the question of sustainability in our industry and of course, diversification, within it,” she said.

In September and October, there were nearly 2,000 new Welcome Stamp applicants, mainly from the US, UK and Canada but also from places such as Australia, New Zealand and Africa.

The programme was born during the pandemic in response to travel quarantine restrictions, which made short holidays pointless, and work from home rules, which gave people the freedom to relocate.

This is an excerpt from an article by Serina Sandhu, originally published by iNews.co.uk.

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