Barbados promotes tourism plan, more fams

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NEW YORK -- As US Airways initated a new route to Barbados this week, tourism officials unveiled several inititatives to promote tourism there.

"It will be a tough winter from North America to Barbados," Ralph Taylor, the deputy chairman of the Barbados Tourism Authority, said at ASTA's 71st World Travel Congress here. "But we expect Barbados can weather the storm."

On Nov. 3, US Airways inaugurated flights from Philadelphia to Barbados, which operates Fridays to Mondays with connections to 35 feeder cities in the U.S.

Taylor said that Barbados has established an economic council with a $15 million budget in response to the Sept. 11 calamity. The council's focus will be a revised TV and print campaign; increased support for wholesalers, tour operators and airlines; a relief package for the hotel industry; more travel agent training and an expanded program of visits for agents and Barbados specialists, and new programs to boost service skills across the island.

An increased schedule of fam trips began in October, Taylor said. By the end of the year, there will be five trips from New York, six from Miami and two from Los Angeles.

These fam trips are an additional attempt to welcome 500 agents -- with complimentary air and accommodations -- to the country over the next year.

"Certainly, the need for a relaxing trip to welcoming shores is one that we can all help to fulfill with our nurturing of the Caribbean tourism product," Taylor said.

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