Minister of Tourism
The Hon. Richard L. Sealy, M.P.
I believe it would be an absolute tragedy if we allow Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary to close with the loss of a quoted 85 jobs.
I also believe that we are in a defining moment in our tourism development.
We have witnessed the West Coast being turned into a seamless ribbon of concrete condominiums with only rare glimpses of our pristine coastline and sea.
The loss of 29 hotels over the last 15 years has already and will continue to have a profound detrimental effect and consequence on employment in the sector, and its long term sustainability.
As the going gets tougher (and it will) in a global financial meltdown, we as a largely tourism dependent country have to fiercely safeguard the areas of destination attractiveness that are less likely to suffer in a highly price sensitive marketplace.
Eco tourism is one of those niche areas, where cost is not the paramount decision making factor in choosing (or returning) to a destination.
Once popular walks and hikes along the east coast have now become also impossible due to lack of any planned maintenance or frequent de-bushing. Even the bridge over Joe’s River close to the Edgewater Hotel has been left unrepaired for months.
Barbados has demonstrated that it can compete globally in eco-tourism, becoming the second most popular destination for the world’s largest walking specialist tour operator, with only New Zealand attracting more clients.
I appeal to our new Government, to sit down with the founder of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary and find some solution that will allow the facility to remain open.
Not just for the sake of overseas visitors, but for the generations of young Barbadians to come that Graeme Hall will inspire to adopt more a sustainable tourism development policy.
Written in my capacity as a private, concerned citizen!
Nation: Trail Ends