Next month’s Beach Culture World Championships is expected to open brand new doors for Silver Sands and communities like it around Barbados. So says organiser, Brian ‘de Action Man’ Talma.
With this year’s championship and Waterman Festival slated for May 31st to June 5th, and expected to attract competition form all across the globe in windsurfing, kitesurfing, stand up paddle and surfing, the Silver Sands area, headed by Talma, is banking heavily on organic tourism in a bid to promote the community, as they seek to make it a more safe and healthy place to live and visit for locals and tourists alike.
Speaking during this past week’s media launch for the championships, Talma explained that it was his aim to create the most prosperous sports and culture-oriented community on the island using organic tourism, a concept he had created and was bearing fruit at home and abroad.
Noting that he hoped to spread to similar communities such as Sandy Beach and Bathsheba, Talma said that the idea was to create a strong beach culture across the island and involve young persons to be a part of economic process that should follow the model.
“Twenty years ago ,I said that beach culture would be the number-one when it comes to image base and sport, and I believe we are going in that direction. The only part I am disappointed about is the local communities in these surf-breaks are not part of the equation,” he said.
Drawing reference to seven-time windsurfing champion, Carlito Spunti, who hails from a small fishing village in Italy, Talma said that the children from local communities could also go all the way, as they were the driving force behind community tourism.
“I want to show the kids from the Silver Sands community and the broader communities like Sandy Beach and Bathsheba that there is prosperity and job opportunities for all people of Barbados,” he said.
Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority, Dr. Kerry Hall, was also present at the launch, and said that initiative was one that resonated with the mandate of her organisation.
“This falls clearly in line with our vision as an organisation, as we seek to create a more sustainable tourism industry. And we know a sustainable tourism industry is one that speaks to the involvement and the engagement of the Barbadian people, and we really admire Brian’s vision, in terms of what he has done here in Silver Sands, how he has involved and engaged the people, and we know that once we do that, the Barbadian people and the community will protect and nurture the tourism industry,” she said.
Going on to stress the importance of reciprocity between the island and its visitors, Dr. Hall said that this model lent to a natural balance of give and take.
“It is not a matter of just holding an event in a community where people come in, they take advantage of the natural assets of that event and then they leave. It is about ensuring that the community is involved, that the community benefits, that our visitors and the members of our community can interact.
“We talk about tourism mostly in economic terms, in terms of foreign exchange and, yes, that is very important. But also, a very important component of tourism is the social aspect of tourism, which promotes friendships, bonding, understanding, learning amongst the citizens of the world, and that’s what happens up here every single day,” she said.̇