Beyond e-mails, many Barbadians not so web savvy: Tourism Ministry Gift & Craft Fair had much for sale but not e-commerce

Took a peep at the Barbados Landship during the Tourism Ministry’s Craft & Gift Show on Bay Street over the weekend. I was glad I happened to take a look, it became apparent all too soon that Bajans are not that capable in using cyberspace to promote their goods, despite having e-mail addresses!

But hey, everyone has an e-mail, whether you’re touting spices, hawking wood carvings or selling rum&raisin kebabs – but how do overseas clients know you exist or even have a way to be reached if you do not blog or network?

Salena has tasty Golden Apple chutney and is fairly reasonable in cost; Birdman has many a carving that I am sure quite a few visitors would be proud to say they got this carving in Barbados and Shaina is taking aspects of cookies and kebabs to combine by stepping outside the pot while in the kitchen – lo, rum-cookie kebabs are born!

The show ran from about 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, but really this could have been touted on the Tourism Authority’s website and other cyber-plazas. Considering the concept was promoted in print since October, there was more than adequate time to use the Internet as a means of promoting the show!

As I said, there was the Landship in full throttle; there were singers entertaining but for all too few tourists and not so many Bajans passing through either! Comedy shows and environmental causes have been placed on facebook and with rapid response! Telecommunications entities have used MySpace to flog their wares before turning sour

More booths that deserved attention at the Gift & Craft show included Maria Elias’ beachwear as well as the exhibition from the students of the Art Career Programme via the Community Development Department and co-ordinated by Suzanne Phillips.

Pencil portraits looking photographs including one of a rather youthful looking Wayne Norville from the RSPCA. The works highlight the effort behind an 8-month course where community artists are trained in not only illustrations, but drawing and computer graphics, airbrushing and animation.

If this sounds like a career option, then you should call 310-1700, and Suzanne’s contacts are either 266-9846 or 427-8771 – but no website/facebook/MySpace folks, sorry!

Many of the stall operators want to be taught how to use the cyber-networking applications, but if you tell them the same way you can get yourself an e-mail address then you can sign up on facebook or MySpace… They take up a blank stare at you, but folks if you want to get ahead? Then you have to do for yourself, and not expect spoonfeeding every step of the way, FYI: all of my Internet usage is self-taught!

The only area where I have a degree of sympathy is e-commerce, and it is oh-so true that Barbadians – and Caribbean folks too – need their own version of PayPal and not have to go through a series of convoluted steps involving a foreign credit card when they can, for instance, use RBTT’s VISA Traveller card to start an account.

3 Responses

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  1. You are SO right about the e-commerce! I keep blogging about it too –

  2. Thanks for the publicity and message about being able to open a Paypal account out of Bds. We do have some people here begging Paypal to start allowing accounts from Bds. BUT the banking system here is the problem (I think). What is this RBTT Visa travellers Card? Will research it.
    Maria E

  3. E-commerce payment systems are a massive thing for emerging Internet economies. Unfortunately none of the big players like Paypal or even Google with checkout have penetrated the markets due to the risk involved. Nobody seems to want to deal with the liability choosing to stay with virtually risk free Western world.
    But now in the crisis situation, the opinion may change and we’ll see some changes. The risk is quite high anywhere you go now.
    I’m running a service providing free software tools for download FreeDownload4me and still experience similar issues with monetization when looking at emerging economies.


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