Bridgetown Express: Colombian Emeralds spearheads group for rebranded shuttle to encourage City shopping

A train has many coaches, but one engine! The view of Lalu Vaswani, President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has described the Bridgetown Express, an initiative spearheaded by several Bridgetown businesses to get more tourist traffic coming into the City.

With a steady decline in pedestrian traffic into Bridgetown by both locals and tourists due to the economic strain which the country has been facing since the 2008 financial meltdown, several of the well known duty-free shopping locations have decided to merge together what would have formerly been individual shuttle services between hotels and the City.

These businesses would have included Little Switzerland, Diamonds International, Cave Shepherd and Colombian Emeralds International. Representatives of these firms just gathered at the Waterfront Café on the Careenage to announce that not only were they merging this service, but now coming on board would be additional retailers, including the likes of Harley-Davidson of the West Indies, JW Jewellers Warehouse and The Royal Shop.

These businesses would have included Little Switzerland, Diamonds International, Cave Shepherd and Colombian Emeralds International. Representatives of these firms just gathered at the Waterfront Café on the Careenage to announce that not only were they merging this service, but now coming on board would be additional retailers, including the likes of Harley-Davidson of the West Indies, JW Jewellers Warehouse and The Royal Shop.

Hiranand Thani, Vice Chairman of the Duty Free Committee and owner of The Royal Shop, viewed the initiative as very important for Bridgetown. “We need to bring tourists back into town… [this] initiative that will open more doors for the further development of Bridgetown. That’s what we are also hoping for,” he noted, tying the Bridgetown Express service into a wider goal of the Chamber of Commerce and the Bridgetown Revitalisation project it has been spearheading since 2008.

Christopher Burnett, Marketing and Relationship Coordinator of Colombian Emeralds International, also added that he was “very confident that the Bridgetown Express will received many positive reviews on Trip Advisor“, further advising other businesses that “we have partnered and if we as fierce competitors can do it… then [this] can be a project that can taken through Barbados“.

Burnett (speaking at Mic) maintained, "If other industries and... businesses can partner together, that's the way forward."

Burnett (speaking at Mic) maintained, “If other industries and… businesses can partner together, that’s the way forward.”

The Bridgetown Express initiative came from two months of meetings between various stakeholders  now allies, which ended in an agreement to pool their resources and manage one shuttle service to Bridgetown. A brochure of the same name (Bridgetown Express) will be produced by Miller Publishing and will feature photos of historic Bridgetown, a map and city attractions. The shuttle will service South and West coast hotels six days a week. {Courtesy: B’dos Advocate/Ruth-Moisa Alleyne}

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