Hail our her­itage!

UK Barbados Nation - - NEWS -

Sir Henry Fraser said tourism of­fi­cials should be mar­ket­ing the des­ig­na­tion in­stead of re­ly­ing on the sun, sea and sand im­age to woo tourists.

It was in June 2011 that His­toric Bridgetown and its Gar­ri­son was listed as a World Her­itage Site for its out­stand­ing univer­sal value af­ter re­tain­ing the orig­i­nal foot­print, lay­out and even some build­ings from 1628.

Sir Henry told Heather-lynn’s Habi­tat that Un­esco-in­scribed prop­er­ties all over the world had wit­nessed an in­crease in vis­i­tor ar­rivals as the new global trav­eller sought new ex­pe­ri­ences and dif­fer­ent cul­tures.

“Be­cause of the recog­ni­tion that the sun, sand, sea and sex on the side – what I call the five Ss – are not good for your health, more and more peo­ple, as they are get­ting older, are not in­ter­ested in the beaches,” he said.

“They [vis­i­tors] are in­ter­ested in the his­tory, the cul­ture and the com­mu­ni­ties. We have to un­der­stand that and we have to change our ap­proach.”

Un­for­tu­nately, the is­land was still re­ly­ing on its im­age of sunny skies and golden beaches, said Sir Henry, who was also the first chair­man of the Na­tional Task Force on Bar­ba­dos’ Built Her­itage.

The jewel

“If we could ap­pre­ci­ate that ev­ery UN­ESCO World Her­itage Site dra­mat­i­cally in­creases by 50 per cent, of­ten 100 per cent, of­ten sev­eral-fold, the tourist ap­peal and the num­bers of vis­i­tors, then we would max­imise the Gar­ri­son.”

He said the Gar­ri­son, with its stone bar­racks, sa­van­nah, tun­nels and am­bi­ence, was the jewel in the World Her­itage

Site and should be mar­keted as such.

“It’s a com­bi­na­tion of his­tory, na­ture and the en­vi­ron­ment which is ab­so­lutely un­beat­able,” he de­clared.

He, how­ever, de­scribed the cap­i­tal city as hav­ing po­ten­tial, but need­ing work and money to make it into a vi­brant tourist at­trac­tion.

His­toric build­ings which were in ru­ins must be re­stored and side­walks, as well as sig­nage im­proved.

“There are not enough cafe­te­rias, not enough nightlife. Bridgetown could be a re­ally at­trac­tive city be­cause un­like down­town Kingston [Ja­maica] and down­town Port of Spain [Trinidad], Bridgetown still has the po­ten­tial to pro­vide nightlife, to pro­vide en­ter­tain­ment, to be a re­ally lively, at­trac­tive city,”

Sir Henry said.

But there were pluses.

“Parts of it down at the back where the old Da­costa Mall was, to­wards the car park, that lit­tle area has been done. The Wick­ham/lewis Board­walk is a nice fea­ture in Bridgetown; the Water­front Café re­mains a model that every­body ad­mires and en­vies.”


SIR HENRY FRASER said he be­lievedBar­ba­dos has not taken ad­van­tage of its UN­ESCOWorld Her­itage Site des­ig­na­tion. SEVEN YEARS AF­TER Bridgetown and its Gar­ri­son was des­ig­nated as a World Her­itage Site, a for­mer Na­tional Trust pres­i­dent be­lieves Bar­ba­dos has not taken ad­van­tage of its UN­ESCO in­scrip­tion.

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