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Welcome to Barbados and the Grenadines?

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Notwithstanding anyone’s persuasion, there is something fundamentally wrong with the marketing of some place known as “Barbados and the Grenadines”. This does not only surpass misrepresentation, but it resides in the highest orders of deception, and has become quite popular in numerous magazines regionally and internationally, and is plastered on various websites.

In life, we are confronted with many issues, and many times though we may spot certain negative trends at an early stage, we still choose to ignore by failing to solicit our attention.{{more}} Sadly however, on many occasions, these unmanaged buds turn out to be the very architects of our downfall. Our national economy has taken a certain marked course from the mid-1990’s, and in recent times a more intent pursuit towards building a comprehensive tourism industry. As a result, we are not isolated in the regard that we are deepening our reliance on the tourism industry on par with current regional trends. However, if we are to make substantial progress, and particularly so, at this comparatively youthful stage of the industry’s development, it is important that we maintain an extremely keen and watchful eye.

During the course of last week, I received an extremely disturbing call from a European gentleman who sought to explain his disgust with the confusion created by the marketing of “Barbados and the Grenadines”. In all politeness to its unscrupulous inventors, like most readers, my eyebrows were raised at the mentioning of what can be considered a most disgusting hybrid term.

In short, the caller noted that he has visited the Caribbean on numerous occasions, but this year he had a particular interest in reaching the Grenadines since he was told of its beauty and tranquility. On his research of the Grenadines he came upon numerous websites advertising “Welcome to Barbados and the Grenadines”. What was even more disturbing was that the visitor noted that at all material times he was under the impression that the Grenadines were a group of islands belonging to the state of Barbados. Thoughts of a new acquisition were not too remote or farfetched. The story however gets more interesting when the visitor would have flown to Barbados last month, and was told that “at this time of the year there aren’t much activities taking place in the Grenadines, we will offer you a better package if you stay here.” “Here” of course being Barbados. The visitor who had visited Barbados on a previous occasion and who had absolutely nothing bad to say about his previous visit however vehemently objected, and was finally told that he could go to the Grenadines but he had to make alternative arrangements. The visitor returned to Europe in utter frustration never reaching the Grenadines. To compound the puzzle and confusion, it was only on his return that he found that there is no such state known as “Barbados and the Grenadines”, but that it was just a mere misrepresentation rather in the genre of false advertising. It was only after clarification that he was convinced that the Grenadines were a part of a totally different state – Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

It is in the same spirit of deception that I may begin to advertise on the Internet, “Welcome to the Piton”, once I am selling lands on the coast line north of the Dry River where you may be able to see the Piton of St Lucia on a clear day.

On conducting a research into the matter, it was brought to my attention that there is a great degree of false and potentially negative advertising in numerous magazines and on the Internet of “Barbados and the Grenadines”. One such advertisement that I saw on the Internet was:

“Welcome to Barbados and the Grenadines, fourteen nights in Barbados and Palm Island starting from one thousand two hundred pounds per person including flights and transfers (room only on Barbados).”

What do you make of such? Now if a visitor is coming to “Barbados and the Grenadines” for fourteen nights to be spent in Barbados and Palm Island, “but room only on Barbados”, although advertisements are not meant to be riddles, it is clear that there would not be any rooming on Palm Island. So the mentioning of Palm Island or the entire Grenadines is just used to make the advertisement look really good. What was also interesting in one advertisement was that despite less than one percent of the vacation time was to be spent in the Grenadines over eighty percent of the pictures were depicting sites of various Grenadine islands.

I wonder what our marketers in the Ministry of Tourism will make of such? Marketing of any aspect of one’s nation must be spirited with a high level of nationalistic fervor. Nothing less will suffice. We must be highly vigilant if we are to succeed. What implications would this have on our attempts to increase stay-over visitors in the Grenadines, and the many benefits to be derived? What if the worst is to happen and a travel advisory is to be issued against Barbados, what would be the implications for the Grenadines since it is already in the public’s domain as “Barbados and the Grenadines?” We must be proactive in our attempts to guard such an important industry.

The Grenadines is a perfect honeymoon destination from what I have heard, but why go to the Grenadines if I can go to “Barbados and the Grenadines” for my honeymoon and spend only a few hours on Palm Island on an all inclusive chartered yacht?

What use is it to an investor who spends one hundred thousand dollars to bring two foreign artists for a stage show, he collects nothing substantial at the door, and intends to recoup his investment from bar sales only, yet he invites all the ice box vendors to come at no cost.

If you see nothing fundamentally wrong with the marketing of “Barbados and the Grenadines” only thirty- five minutes flight away from the marketing centre for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, then probably we owe a handful of thanks to those who have been doing such over the years.

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