Indian action movie icon Akshay Kumar took his friends to Barbados on a chartered bizjet
I confess that I’d never heard of Akshay Kumar when a Google-alert for “barbados” landed in our inbox and said the Bollywood star had left a movie set in Vancouver Canada because he wanted to see some Twenty/20 cricket in Barbados. Kumar chartered a large jet and took a dozen or so friends with him – paying the whole shot. (Where do I sign on to be his friend? 🙂 )
The stuntman turned movie star can do that because a billion people in India love the guy and he’s made almost 100 Hindi films. From what I read online he still does his own stunts and we’re not talking wimpy fights and falls. In one recent film Kumar jumped from one external elevator to another 125 feet in the air without the benefit of safety ropes etc. Not bad for an old man over 40!
Small world syndrome: Indian papers still cover Barbados & Barbados Free Press articles
Along with the Google Alert about Akshay Kumar, we started to receive all kinds of links to Indian newspapers and media featuring stories about Barbados. These stories were a result of the Twenty20 event and, unlike the disastrous coverage of the disastrous 2007 Cricket World Cup, the stories about Barbados were 100% positive. That went for the rest of the world too.
There’s something to be learned there, friends.
In both events Barbados welcomed the world’s cricket fans – but with Twenty20 we kept it real. Visitors experienced real Barbados and Bajan cricket and all that means. We didn’t spend a fortune on non-essentials and we didn’t phony up the place by painting houses or adopting European standards for events. (Which, judging by their football hooligans, aren’t so great anyway!)
BLP supporters will point out that Cricket World Cup was on an entirely different scale, that India fared badly and that we learned much from the mistakes at CWC that we corrected this time. All that is true.
But it’s also true that the BLP overspent at CWC like the world was ending tomorrow and much of the style and cost of CWC was reflective of the pretentiousness and elitism of the BLP government at the time. They believed their own hype! Not to forget that the outrageous overspending and mistakes by Owen Arthur, Mia Mottley and Noel Lynch left the cupboard bare so this time around we had to make do… and making do was just what led to the success of Twenty20.
Oh… and we had lights at the oval too!
This time Indian cricket fans and their press came and liked what they saw of the real Barbados. Here we are weeks later and the Indian media outlets are still running positive stories about our little rock, our people and our tourist attractions. Unbelievably the India Times website is still linking to new Barbados Free Press stories and that’s rather special.
Unlike Noel Lynch and his gang, I’m not stupid enough to believe that Air India will be running direct flights into Grantley Adams anytime soon – and I’m also not stupid enough to pay for them like the BLP paid for Air India’s abortive CWC venture. But…
The recent Twenty20 experience has shown that, when done correctly and kept real, sports tourism is cost-effective and generates worldwide positive press for Barbados long after an event.
So kudos to the DLP government and all the folks who made Twenty20 a success by keeping our costs down and welcoming cricket fans with real Bajan hospitality.
As to Noel Lynch preparing for his 1000 yachts anchored offshore and people sleeping in the streets during Cricket World Cup…
What a moron!