Barbados tourism authorities say fine dining is fast emerging as another feature that distinguishes the island from its competition as far as visitors are concerned.
According to the President of the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA), Stuart Layne, the finding came out of the latest batch of visitor surveys. He said the exit polls show visitors to Barbados are increasingly listing the local dining experience as an important point of market differentiation.
Mr. Layne spoke at the launch of the 2009 Best of Barbados edition of the Zagat Guide, a United States publication which annually features over 30,000 fine dining establishments, nightspots, hotels, and attractions – worldwide.
Said Mr. Layne: “The Zagat Guide was the first world-class standard that we implemented, covering attractions, restaurants and nightlife, and it has worked for us in an industry that is critical to our existence.”
Barbados is still the only Caribbean tourism destination that has a Zagat rating and international distribution of the 64-page guide is being used by local marketers to sharpen International awareness of the 166-dquare mile island.
The latest Zagat Barbados Guide is the culmination of surveys done during this year and covers restaurants, bars, attractions, golf courses and nightclubs.
This year the Oistins Bay Garden, an indigenous south coast Barbados night-time haunt for locals and tourists alike, won a Zagat award as the most popular night spot for visitors.
In the opinion of the 1,500 tourists surveyed in Barbados this year, the Oistins Bay Garden was considered “the most popular place where visitors go to hang out, to people-watch or dance to sweet music“. The Bay Garden is best known for its sumptuous sea food dishes.
The Jumbies night club and restaurant at St. Lawrence Gap placed second and Harbour Lights, another South coast nightclub placed third in the survey.
The Zagat survey also found that home-grown Caribbean recipes rated highly for providing the best dining experience for 22% of those surveyed, with Italian and Asian dishes placed second and third respectively.
The 30-year-old International Zagat Guide, based on the feedback of survey respondents, is considered the world authority on fine dining and the leading source of consumer survey-based information on where to “Eat, Drink, Stay and Play” in more than 100 countries.