A large percentage of the 30+ million visitors to the Caribbean region each year are members of the diaspora living all across the globe. They return to soak up the sunshine and experience a wide range of tourist attractions while reconnecting with family and friends. Many also invest back into the region, building vacation/retirement homes and/or contributing to schools, churches, and various charities. Recognizing the importance of the diaspora for tourism and economic growth, more Caribbean countries like Barbados are launching marketing campaigns to appeal directly to these visitors.
Barbados Diaspora Invited for We Gatherin’ Barbados 2020
Last year, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. relaunched the Barbados Family & Friends Club. The objective of the club is to encourage and incentivize the Barbados diaspora to invite more of their family and friends to Barbados for vacation. Now, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., as part of the Vision 2020 initiative announced by Prime Minister Mia Mottley, has launched the We Gatherin’ Barbados 2020 campaign.
Taking place throughout 2020, each of the eleven Barbados parishes will put on a range of unique events to highlight their heritage, culture, and traditions. The We Gatherin’ Barbados 2020 celebrations will start in January, with the Parish of St Lucy in the far north continuing to the Parish of St Michael in the far south in November. The year-long We Gatherin’ campaign will then culminate in December with Our Nation, a cross-island celebration.
- January: The Parish of St. Lucy
- February: The Parish of St. Peter
- March: The Parish of St. Thomas
- April: The Parish of St. Joseph
- May: The Parish of St. John
- June: The Parish of St. George
- July: The Parish of St. Philip
- August: The Parish of St. Andrew
- September: The Parish of St. James
- October: The Parish of Christ Church
- November: The Parish of St. Michael
- December: NATION-WIDE
According to Barbados Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Hon. Kerrie Symmonds, who I met at World Travel Market in London, the We Gatherin’ Barbados 2020 campaign is part of a renewed focus to improve visitor spend, visitor participation, and investment by targeting Barbadians overseas who wish to invest back into the economy. Simmonds states, “is an opportunity for the diaspora, repeat visitors and friends of Barbados to come back home and reengage with family and friends on the island, also make key charitable contributions towards critical institutions for development including hospitals and schools.”
Minister Symmonds also indicated that the annual Barbados festivals, including Cropover, will also get additional marketing push as part of this year-long We Gatherin’ Barbados 2020 campaign with the ultimate aim of stimulating more economic activity. Barbados, with a population of approximately 277,821 people, attracted 678.5K stay-over tourists and 675.8K cruise passengers in 2018. Stay-over tourism figures for 2019 are up 4.2%.
Below is an overview of the eleven Barbados parishes that will play host to this year-long celebration.
11 Parishes of Barbados
The Caribbean island of Barbados, with 169 square miles (439 km), is divided into eleven regions known as parishes, which were laid out in the 1640s with precise boundary marks established in 1721. Connected with Barbados’ Anglican history under the Church of England, the first six Barbados parishes were named after the six churches that existed at that time. The first six parishes in Barbados included the Parish of Christ Church, St Michael, St James, St Peter, St Lucy, and St Thomas. Later, the Parish of St George, St John, St Joseph, St Andrew, and St Philip was established in Barbados. Each of the parishes in Barbados has its distinct character with a range of tourist attractions, many historical.
St. Lucy Parish Barbados
Known for its beautiful rugged coastline with bays, the Parish of St Lucy is located in the northernmost point of Barbados and is the only one named after a woman, Saint Lucy of Syracuse. St Lucy is the smallest parish in Barbados.
Fun Fact: Errol Barrow, the first Prime Minister of Barbados, was born in the Parish of Saint Lucy.
Popular Tourist Attractions: Animal Flower Cave, Harrison’s Point Lighthouse, North Point Lighthouse
Beaches: Maycocks Bay, Cove Bay, Little Bay, River Bay
Where to Stay: Little Good Harbour and Sea Symphony Villa
St. Peter Parish Barbados
Located in the north of Barbados, the Parish of St Peter, home to several historic sites, is named after the Christian Apostle and patron saint, Saint Peter.
Fun Fact: The Parish of St Peter is the only one in Barbados besides Saint Lucy that extends from the East Coast to the West Coast.
Popular Tourist Attractions: Historic town of Speightstown, St. Nicholas Abbey, Arlington House Museum, Barbados Wildlife Reserve, Grenade Hall Forest & Signal Station, Morgan Lewis Sugar Mill
Beaches: Heywood’s, Mullins
Where to Stay: Cobblers Cove Barbados, Port St Charles, and Sugar Cane Club Hotel And Spa
St. Thomas Parish Barbados
Located in the center of Barbados, the Parish of St Thomas, along with the Parish of Saint George, are the only two that are landlocked. Around 13 square miles, the Parish of St Thomas in Barbados is surrounded by caves, cane fields, gullies, and woods.
Fun Fact: If you visit Barbados from January through April, you’ll be able to watch world-class polo matches at Lions Castle (in the Parish of St Thomas) or Apes Hill Polo Club (in the Parish of St James).
Popular Tourist Attractions: Harrison’s Cave, Welchman Hall Gully, Highland Adventure Centre, Lions Castle (for polo matches), HP Batik studio, Earthworks Pottery
Where to Stay: no major hotels
St. Joseph Parish Barbados
The Parish of St Joseph in Barbados is located on the eastern side, and Chimborazo, another of the high points on the island, is located in the parish.
Fun Fact: The International Reef Surfing Competition known to surfers at Soup Bowl is held each year in the Parish of St Joseph at Bathsheba.
Popular Tourist Attractions: Andromeda Botanical Gardens, Coco Hill Forest, Huntes Gardens Barbados, Flower Forest Botanical Gardens, Joe’s River, and the Tropical Rain Forest
Beaches: Barclays Park, Bathsheba, Cattlewash
Where to Stay: The Atlantis Historic Inn and Eco-Lifestyle & Lodge
St. John Parish Barbados
With scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Parish of St John is located on the Eastern side of Barbados.
Fun Fact: Built over one hundred years ago by Codrington College, Society Primary, located in the Parish of St John, is the oldest primary school in Barbados.
Popular Tourist Attractions: Codrington College
Beaches: Bath Beach, Congor Bay, Consett Bay, Martin’s Bay
Where to Stay: no major hotels
St. George Parish Barbados
With no coastline, the Parish of St George is the second landlocked parish and is located in the interior of Barbados.
Fun Fact: The Parish of St George borders six of the eleven parishes in Barbados.
Popular Tourist Attractions: Orchid World & Tropical Flower Garden, Gun Hill Signal Station, Drax Hall, Francia Plantation House
Where to Stay: no major hotels
St. Philip Parish Barbados
Located on the southeast coast of Barbados, the Parish of St Philip is the largest of the eleven parishes.
Fun Fact: Known locally as “the country,” the Parish of St Phillip in Barbados has the largest areas of crop cultivation.
Popular Tourist Attractions: Four Square Rum Distillery & Heritage Park, Sunbury Plantation House, Ragged Point Lighthouse, Bushy Park Barbados
Beaches: Bottom Bay, Crane Beach, Foul Bay, Harrismith, Sam Lord’s Beach
Where to Stay: The Crane Resort
St. Andrew Parish Barbados
One of the more unspoiled parts of the island, the Parish of St. Andrew, is located in the north of Barbados. Its know as the Scotland District as it reminded many of the early settlers of Scotland.
Fun Fact: The highest point in Barbados, Mount Hillaby, at 1,102 ft (336 m) above sea level, is located in the Parish of St Thomas.
Popular Tourist Attractions: Barbados Wildlife Reserve, Chalky Mount Potteries, Farley Hill National Park, Grenade Hill Forest & Signal Station, Mount Hilaby
Beaches: Lakes, Morgan Lewis Beach, Walkers
Where to Stay: Santosha Barbados
St. James Parish Barbados
Located on the eastern side of Barbados, the Parish of St Jams is known as the platinum coast or gold coast. It’s where you will find many of the luxury hotels in Barbados, along with historical sites like the first Anglican Church (St. James Parish Church) built on the island.
Fun Fact: The first area in Barbados where the British settled in Holetown, now a historic district and the central town in the Parish of St James.
Popular Tourist Attractions: St James Parish Church, Folkestone Marine Park, Royal Westmoreland Golf Course, Sandy Lane Golf Course
Duty-Free Shopping: Sunset Crest, Chattel House Village, West Coast Mall
Beaches: Batts Rock, Folkestone Marine Park, Payne’s Bay, Prospect, Sandy Lane Bay
Where to Stay: Fairmont Royal Pavilion Barbados, Smugglers Cove Barbados, Tamarind by Elegant Hotels
Christ Church Parish Barbados
The Parish of Christ Church in Barbados is located at the southern end of the island. One of the largest in Barbados, it has a land area of 57 square miles.
Fun Fact: The Parish of Christ Church is home to the Sir Grantley Adams International Airport, the arrival port for most visitors to the island.
Popular Tourist Attractions: Barbados Concorde Experience, Barbados Golf Club, Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, Oistins Fish Fry, Rockley Golf Club, South Point Lighthouse, Saint Lawrence Gap
Beaches: Accra Beach, Dover Beach, Miami Beach, Freights Bay, Long Beach, Silver Rock, Silver Sands, Sandy Beach
Where to Stay: Bougainvillea Barbados, Ocean Two Resort Barbados, Sandals Barbados, Turtle Beach by Elegant Hotels
St. Michael Parish Barbados
Situated on the southwest coast of Barbados is the Parish of Saint Michael, which is home to a large number of tourist attractions on the island. The capital of Barbados, Bridgetown, is also located in the parish of Saint Michael. The parish is the most populous in Barbados, with a population of over 130,000 people.Situated on the southwest coast of Barbados is the Parish of St Michael, which is home to a large number of tourist attractions on the island. The capital of Barbados, Bridgetown, is also located in the parish of St Michael.
Fun Fact: Barbadian singer and fashion/beauty entrepreneur Rihanna (Robyn Rihanna Fenty) was born in the Parish of St Michael.
Popular Tourist Attractions: Agapey Chocolate Factory, Cricket Legends Museum, Garrison Historic Area (National Armoury & Cannon Museum, The Barbados Museum & Historical Society, George Washington Attraction & Museum, The Garrison Savannah), Exchange Museum, Mallalieu Motor Museum, Museum of Parliament, Mount Gay Rum Visitor Centre, Nidhe Israel Synagogue & Museum
Beaches: Brandon’s Beach, Brighton Beach, Carlisle Bay, Hilton Hotel Beach
Where to Stay: Hilton Barbados Resort, Radisson Aquatica Resort Barbados, Sugar Bay Barbados, Savannah Beach Hotel & Spa