Published on May 31, 2017

The Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) and the Barbados Dive Operators Association, in partnership with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) and the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) this month launched the island’s first ever Dive Fest Barbados.

The festival runs from Wednesday, July 5 to Sunday, July 9, 2017 and during the launch held at Sugar Bay Barbados, BHTA’s Environmental Committee Chairman Andre Miller, representing the Barbados Dive Operators Association, outlined the festival schedule including details on the Water Awareness Programme for 100 children, Snorkel Day, Conversation Day and Beach Clean-up.

“We want to declare to the rest of the world that Barbados is open for diving. We are a coral island and we offer 365 days of diving, something a lot of other destinations cannot offer. We also have over 35 dive-sites of which 13 are now first class ship-wrecks. We sunk the Trident a year ago, which is an additional ship-wreck and we even have a submarine under water.

“Added to this, we need to get more Barbadians in the water. Ninety-nine percent of Barbadians have never seen a coral reef or a ship-wreck through a diving mask and we need to change that. So one of the biggest highlights of the Dive Festival is that we will teach 100 local children to swim. We want all of Barbados to come out to enjoy this festival, which also has a huge conservation element to it, as we declare Barbados Open for Diving - which we plan to do every year in July going forward,” Miller said.

Chairman of the BHTA, Roseanne Myers, in giving full support to the festival, stated: “I do believe that the BHTA has a responsibility to help itself. We cannot sit and wait on anyone to do the marketing of Barbados for us. We have always encouraged our members, through our own Marketing Committee, to come to us with initiatives that will help us to propel Barbados’ tourism beyond the basic elements we usually promote.

“Product differentiation, which is what this Dive Fest presents, is our way of bringing more people to Barbados. As mature a destination as we are, we have to keep reinventing ourselves and we have to keep providing opportunities for a wider sphere of people to come to our shores. What we have lacked in Barbados is implementers. We have lots of meetings and a lot of talk and ideas, but they never actually materialize. Today I want to say Andre has delivered and I want to express our thanks.”

TDC’s Chairman, Martin  Ince, explained that his organization was pleased to be involved with the Festival: “When Andre and his team came to us a number of months ago to discuss the festival he certainly had our interest. We have a tremendous world-class legacy in the many events we host here in Barbados and we are very pleased that the Association has got together and seen it fit to start the Dive Festival.

“We are a private-sector fund and we contribute and work very closely with the BHTA and BTMI to fund events with the objective of making them world-class. The timing of Dive Fest is also very important to us as well since June/July is invariably a quiet period for the island. So we are committed to working along with Andre and his team, as well as the other organisations involved, to make this a success. We look forward to an amazing event.”

BTMI’s Manager – Sports Tourism, Devon Chase, also thanked Miller having the vision and working to bring Dive Fest to fruition. He said: “It is something that we have needed for a long time. It certainly adds another element of diversity to our offering. Diving is nothing new to the destination, we have been doing it for a number of years, but certainly this will help us to create that splash in the market place that we need. The BTMI is certainly looking forward to promoting it and working with the team to ensure that the Barbados Dive Festival is one of the best, if not the best, in the Caribbean region.”

For more information on Barbados’ first ever Dive Festival, visit the website at