Barbados (Barbados Today) – Government is making millions of dollars available to help build out a heritage tourism niche in the coming months.
As she made the announcement in her Budget speech on Tuesday, Prime Minister Mia Mottley urged tourism stakeholders to capitalise on the island’s rich history relating to the slave trade.
Noting that 570 slaves were buried at the Newton Slave Burial Ground heritage site in Christ Church, she expressed disappointment that Barbados has not been able to take advantage of this.
“It is ironic that this country has not made an industry out of the heritage industry, but this government is here to change that,” she declared.
The Prime Minister said her administration has already set aside $15 million at the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. (BTII) and another $15 million would follow, as digitisation of the records at the Archive Department continues.
She explained that Government has met with conservationists to see how best the records that date back as far as 1635 can be preserved and used as part of the heritage tourism push to share the story about the transatlantic slave trade.
Mottley said she has set a deadline of “under three years” for the records to be digitised, adding that she will also be looking to the global community for financial support of the conservation and heritage tourism efforts.