Barbadian sporting great Brian Talma described 2016 as the best year ever for the Bajan Beach Culture movement.
Over the weekend Talma, known as De Action Man, showed his appreciation to those who supported him throughout the year. Specially mentioning the media and their support of his brainchild, the Organic Tourism Project.
The Project was conceptualized by Talma to use beach sports and sporting events as a way to elevate Barbados, its people and business communities.
Speaking to local media, Talma said in the presence of Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA), Dr Kerry Hall, that he was pleased with last weekend’s turn out at Silver Sands, where the community and surrounding business came out to a day of fun involving surfing, beach cricket, kite boarding, paddle boarding and windsurfing clinics.
The internationally acclaimed surfer has flown the Ultra-Marine, Gold and Black with pride across the world for many years including the 1988 and 1992 Summer Olympics. He was also instrumental in bringing to life freestyle windsurfing and paddle broading to Barbados and the region.
Hall stressed that community tourism is the purist and most sustainable form of tourism. Using Silver Sands as a perfect example, she said it’s a community often plagued by crime. However, thanks to the incredible work done by Talma, the area is now more welcoming to tourists and Barbadians alike who can now indulge in meaningful beach activities.
“It is an industry created by the Barbados public, where once they take ownership, are engaged and involved they will benefit directly from it, and should nurture and protect it.
“If the Barbadian people are the true reason our visitors keep coming back, that true Barbadian experience, we have to find more effective ways to help the public see themselves reflected in the Barbados tourism mirror.
“That will then transform the industry into what it is really supposed to be. It is a concept that truly needs to be grasped by all Barbadians where, yes it is about the tourists but also about direct benefits to the people and in turn the nation. The tourism dollar must trickle from the top down through avenues and pathways to achieve the goal of a product that is of, for and by the people,” Hall said.
Seven persons were awarded including, Omar Forde for his first position in the Conch Shell Blowing competition while former Olympian O’Neal Marshall took top spot in Windsurfing. David Bourne grabbed the most wickets in the Beach Cricket competition. Ria Goodman of the Nation Publishing Company and Corey Greaves of the Barbados Advocate were also awarded for excellent media coverage of the events throughout this year.