The Vlogfest

Barbados

Opportunity within a Slice of Paradise.

Following the November 2021 decision to finally shake off its colonial past, and transition into a republic, Barbados started a new era as a country of opportunity, sustainability and diversity. Its enviably low crime rate, its glorious beaches, its colourful chattel houses and its welcoming people have attracted the best and the brightest to the Caribbean success story that is Barbados. It’s also home to the fearsome “Scotch Bonnet” pepper, which is to be treated with both respect and caution (you have been warned…).
Known as “the Gem of the Caribbean Sea” this little island is 21 miles long and about 14 miles wide covering 432 square kilometres. Manhattan comes in at 14 miles long, so we’re talking about a tiny island but an island with so much to offer.
We spoke to the Tourism Minister, Hon. Ian Gooding-Edghill on how Barbados is emerging from its colonial past and into a country of opportunity and a must-see destination for both tourists and long-term visitors.

Hon. G.P. Ian Gooding Edghill

For the full interview with the Minister of Tourism please CLICK HERE

Sustainable Tourism: A Bajan Success Story.

The Bajan government and its partners have worked tirelessly to ensure its already vibrant tourist market can accommodate its visitors and ensure that the country remains resilient and thrives ecologically.
Minister Gooding-Edghill was keen to point out that the Prime Minister of Barbados, Hon Mia Mottley is actively working to reduce its global footprint “The Prime Minister is one of our key global champions in respect of climate change and resiliency. Therefore, we’ve undertaken key initiatives throughout the country. For example, there are incentives, if you purchase an electric vehicle.”
Another key example is that Barbados has also invested significantly in a fleet of electric vehicles to get diesel buses off the streets.
Barbados has also introduced a new initiative to incentivise businesses to adopt available smart energy options. Also, the government is encouraging homeowners to install solar voltaic panels on their roofs (Barbados is sunnier than Birmingham so that’s a lot of solar power).
Minister Gooding-Edghill went on to outline how their work with the utility company is allowing people to buy into the National Grid by having renewable energy. He explains, “This will decrease our reliance on power fields and generation plants. Given our geographic location, and the changing climate, we have to ensure as we are doing now that we build resiliency.”

Digital Nomad Visa

Technology has allowed the Digital Nomad to expand their horizons, so they now can work in sunnier climes. However, many countries have been blinkered to this opportunity.
Not Barbados though! It has risen to the occasion with its own hugely successful Digital Nomad Visa programme. The Prime Minister introduced “the Welcome Stamp”, initially launched during the Pandemic, but due to its success, the government has decided to continue the programme, so this still enables remote working professionals to come and live and work in Barbados. With its stable high-speed Internet, it’s a no-brainer.
Minister Gooding-Edghill explains further, “If you come to Barbados as a visitor, you can convert and you can stay on the welcome stamp. It’s also an opportunity for us to use solid marketing by allowing persons who’ve been here, who were here, who continue to stay here to go back to their respective islands or countries and tell people about the benefits of working on a wonderful island with sunshine and a tropical environment.”
So, Barbados is a country that is happily balancing the needs of its local economies and those of longer-term remote workers, looking to live and thrive in this tiny slice of paradise.
Then there are sports with both football and cricket, a national obsession. But, Barbados also offers horse racing and golfing, with several beautifully appointed golf courses.

Food

Barbados being the size it is and being volcanic has a diverse range of soil types but owing to its size does not have as much farmland as its neighbours in Jamaica or Grenada. But fear not! Bajan cuisine has a range of homegrown staples that are rich in flavour and bold in their very nature. For example, there is the Bajan national dish, Cou-Cou and Flying Fish. A lot of work (and love) goes into making this hugely popular dish.
Also, some of these dishes used to be steeped in their colonial British past, like Pudding and Souse, a throwback to the British-Irish past of fried pig’s blood. Today the Bajans no longer use pig’s blood and the pudding itself is made from fresh herbs, grated sweet potato, brown sugar, spices, and some colouring or molasses, then the pork is added. Delicious!
Minister Gooding-Edghill explains, “What I would say is food is one of the major attractions. We have a vast array of restaurants across the island as well as our Food and Rum festival. There we will have local chefs who prepare an eclectic mix of dishes, including meat, fish, vegan, local and international. Their expertise is truly outstanding. I would say if you came to Barbados please immerse yourself in our culinary delicacies.”

Festivals

Talking of festivals, Barbados has quite the calendar! It has cultural festivals that celebrate many different elements of Bajan culture. Bajans are proud of their culture, which infuses with their warmth, friendliness and willingness to welcome people from other countries.
One of the major festivals in Barbados is the “Crop Over Festival”, a huge festival held over a couple of months with its finale in the first week in August.
Minister Gooding-Edghill explains, “There are a vast number of activities that showcase our culture, you can go to calypso and see how it works. You can go to various “Fettes” on the island, which is good “lime” as some people might say and it’s an opportunity and time where people really enjoy themselves, including our visitors, who come out and participate in these activities.”

Culture

Heritage is important for Barbados, with Bridgetown the Bajan Capital being a UNESCO-designated area, one of the few cities in the world, which has been awarded this accolade. It hosts several buildings and historic properties and a visit to the Barbados Museum, which enables visitors to appreciate Barbados’ significant historical perspectives. Barbados also has the National Trust with a stamp visitors can see these significant buildings that appreciate Bajan heritage and history.
Visitors can also see the sugar cane plantations or go sailing and swim with the turtles in one of its many marine parks, including Folkestone Marine Park and museum in Saint James as well as Harrison’s cave which many consider being one of the few caves in the world that you can go through as a group.

Rum

Ahh Rum, the Bajan nectar. So much so, Daniel Craig’s James Bond orders a “Mount Gay with Soda” in Casino Royale. It’s one of the oldest rums in the world but Mount Gay isn’t the only contender as Minister Gooding-Edghill explains, “There’s “Plantation XO”, and then obviously there’s “Cockspur” and “St Nicholas Abbey.” You also have “Foursquare”, and we not only sell here but also export, and I would say that to see that process is fantastic and there are an array of visitor centres documenting the entire rum production process. I will always encourage them to take back some rum with them.”