Monday, April 22, 2024

Small business won’t be left out


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ORDINARY BARBADIAN CRAFTSPEOPLE and others engaged in indigenous businesses will be given accommodation in an expanded departure section of the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA).

Minister of Tourism Kerrie Symmonds gave notice of this yesterday when he opened the $1.2 million lounge to accommodate departing passengers from the home-porting cruise tourism sector.

“The economic democratising of commercial opportunity is an idea whose time has also come, and this departure area must reflect in large measure the traditional Barbados businessman and businesswoman,” Symmonds said in his address to an audience that included stakeholders from the commercial section of the island’s tourism businesses.

“This departure area in large measure must reflect the craft, the culture, the innovation of the Barbadian who is trying to make a little dollar, but who hitherto has been excluded from this airport in the land of his birth because an established commercial interest and an established private sector has tended to be omnipresent at the airport.”

The planned walk-through mall, he added, “will be a mall that is populated by the people of this country; selling in large measure the produce and the productivity of the country and therefore giving the visitors an opportunity to experience something indigenous . . .”.

Chief executive officer of GAIA, Neville Boxill, disclosed the proposals included the first walk-through store for the airport, a common international concept that would allow travellers to browse the available merchandise as they walked to the seating area.

Special seating

The lounge has specially marked seating areas for passengers with disabilities, a feature Symmonds announced had now been replicated throughout the airport.

The air-conditioned facility, which leads to Gates 14 and 16, should ease congestion at the airport on those days when the island’s lone air gateway is teeming with passengers departing after ending a cruise in Barbados.

Symmonds said action had to be taken since the airport was now “bursting at the seams” as a result of the successful home-porting programme which had become the envy of competing destinations in the region.

Boxill announced the airport was pushing ahead with expansion of its facilities “in order to continue to fulfil our role as the primary port of entry of visitors and locals into the country, while we also prepare to hand over a profitable, vibrant and growing operation to our future private/public partnership to take on into the future”.

He added though the new lounge area was initially conceptualised to provide expanded seating for air-to-sea transfer guests, it was “a fully functional part of the departures area of the airport”. (GC)

MINISTER OF TOURISM and International Transport Kerrie Symmonds speaking with Linda Field ( left), a consultant to GAIA for hospitality services, and hospitality hostess Kelly John after the opening of the new departure lounge yesterday evening.

(Picture by Reco Moore.)


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