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Faith Based Tourism
Barbados needs to go after the faith-based tourism market more aggressively
and use its deep spiritual foundation to cash in on this multi-million
Acting Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Irene
Sandiford-Garner, made this observation today during a press conference
to announce the hosting of the New Testament Church of God’s Caribbean
Assembly from November 7-10.
She said faith-based tourism had “snowballed” into a multi-million
dollar industry that had transformed the moral fabric of society.
She said the concept that religious travel was centred on the notion
of taking a pilgrimage was no more and, therefore, the market was “much
larger and more segmented” with niches ranging from high-end religious
travel, volunteer-oriented religious travel to modern-day pilgrimage.
Sandiford-Garner added that Government had a “great deal”
to offer faith-based guests and pledged its support of any initiative
that would build up this tourism niche.
“We are very well suited for this type of tourism. We have the
infrastructure, the physical amenities… We have some of the most
historic churches [to be found] in the region that are located in Historic
Bridgetown; we have all denominations and we also have the oldest synagogue
in the Western Hemisphere as well as the St. Michael’s Cathedral,”
said Senator Sandiford-Garner.
She added: “More importantly, we have some of the most beautiful
beaches for baptism. So, when you think about all of these things coupled
together, I don’t think that you can have a better location for
the activity that you plan to have here.”
Meanwhile, the Caribbean Field Director for the New Testament Church
of God and the Bishop for Tortola, Ishmael Charles, said the event in
November would attract more than 3,000 believers from around the world.
He said the services would be held at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex
and were open to other Pentecostal denominations.
Charles said Barbados was chosen as the venue because it was accessible
to travellers, especially from North America and the United Kingdom,
who would not have to take multiple flights to get here