The Economic Importance of the Food and Rum and Wine and Rum Festival

Food and drink are now among the things that give Barbados the edge over the competition. The Food and Wine and Rum Festival is one of the ways in which we make that evident. The fact that we can highlight an event which showcases Barbadian culinary talent alongside celebrity chefs and mixmasters with an international reputation is something that makes Barbados special. It adds to the allure of Barbados as a very special resort, along with our fine dining restaurants, Oistins, our rum shops, the inventive cuisine of our own chefs, the creative delights from our mixmasters, the rums for which we are deservedly famous, the roadside grillers springing up all around the island, and our very own take on the international food van phenomenon.

The Food and Wine and Rum Festival says that Barbados now plays in the big leagues when it comes to food and drink. Our chefs and mixmasters include seasoned campaigners and winners of international competitions, and the festival provides them the opportunity to showcase their talent, alongside prominent chefs who are celebrated in international media.

One thing Barbadian chefs and mixmasters do very well is to bring new interpretations to our traditional cuisine, and to use local produce in novel ways. Fresh new taste experiences are part of the appeal and excitement of the festival. The culinary arts are a wonderful new outlet for Barbadian creativity, and Barbados' growing reputation in this field offers rewarding careers to young Barbadians, and attracts talented young men and women to the field. We should all celebrate the success of the Barbados Community College and Hotel Pommarine in building our pool of talent, and acknowledge our national indebtedness to Chef Peter Edey for his singular enterprise in the promotion of the culinary arts in Barbados.

Barbados' competitive strategy for future tourism growth is based, in large part, on creating unique experiences. The Food and Wine and Rum Festival is uniquely Barbadian, and an element of what makes us special, along with our friendly people, St Nicholas Abbey, Harrison Cave, our Garrison, Morgan Lewis Mill, our safe streets, good infrastructure, reliable utilities, stable democracy, courteous culture and good communications. The festival is nicely timed, a herald of the upcoming winter tourist season, and it enhances the Barbados brand. It creates income earning opportunities for all the services that go into the planning and execution of the festival. No doubt there are possibilities for attracting more visitors to take an early winter holiday so they can take in the festival, but already the prime movers and organisers of the festival are to be celebrated and congratulated for an event that is immensely enjoyable, and that has contributed to taking our tourism product to a new level, from good to great.

DeLisle Worrell
Central Bank of Barbados