Bajaness Test is a series of fun quizzes about Barbados designed to interact with ‘bajans’ in the Diaspora and share important knowledge on factual information about Barbados.
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Barbados is the eastern-most island in the Caribbean. It is a very small island covering only 166 square miles in the North Atlantic Ocean and lies northeast of Venezuela. Due to its location it showered with over 3,000 hours of sunlight each year. The average temperature remains in the mid-eighties with a cool breeze provided by the northeast trade winds. The small island country is primarily flat with elevation ranging from sea level to its highest point at Mount Hillaby reaching only up to 336 meters. The capital of Barbados is Bridgetown which was named from an old Indian Bridge built by early Indian settlers. The bridge was rebuilt around 1654 and the capital gained its name thereafter .
The island’s first settlers to claim the island were the British in 1627. The primary value for the island to the British came from the sugar plantations which were worked by slaves for just over 200 years. Even after slavery was abolished, the sugar, rum and molasses produced in Barbados continued to keep the economy going. It was not until 1966 that Barbados finally claimed its independence from the UK. Sugar remained the staple economic factor until the 1990’s when tourism and the International Business sector took its place as the new money makers for the small country
Present day the country is home to approximately 285,653 people with a life expectancy at birth of 74 years old. While Barbadian or ‘Bajan’ ethnicity is primarily blacks consisting of 93% of the total population, the customs are highly distinctive stemming from the country’s English, African and West Indian roots. Over half of the people belong to a Protestant religion most likely being Anglican, Pentecostal or Methodist. The native language of the country is English which stems from their British background and a Bajan dialect is spoken nationwide. They also have a very high literacy rate; 99.7% of 15 year olds or older have attended school
For most of Barbados’ history, sugarcane has been the primary industry, money maker and provided employment for the island’s inhabitants. In more recent years, tourism has become the leading foreign exchange earner. Each year Barbados draws in large numbers of tourists seeking fabulous beaches, weather, shopping and adventure. In fact, three-quarters of the labour force in the country is attributed to services. The tourism demand in Barbados falls most highly into visitor exports followed by capital investments. Personal travel only accounts for approximately 9.7% of the travel and tourism demand in Barbados
A handful of different historical sites are available to visit on the island. These properties reveal the charming culture and rich heritage of the country. The Barbados Museum offers the history and progression of the island since the 16th century. Another historical site is the Bridgetown Synagogue which is alleged to be the oldest temple in the Western Hemisphere. It was a Jewish synagogue that was built in 1627 and also houses a cemetery dating back to the 1630’s. Farley Hill is a former plantation overlooking the national forest as well as the coast of the Atlantic. The Barbados Wildlife Reserve recently restored Grenade Hall Signal Station which was erected in the 1800’s along with five other signal stations for the means of communication across the island. The other towers can be seen with a telescope and this tower harbors a panoramic view of the surrounding forest and wildlife.
The most popular attraction for Barbados is its beaches. While it is a very small island, its coastlines expand for 70 miles of gorgeous sunny coastlines. Barbadian locals spend a great deal of time soaking up the sun on the beach and will be the first to tell you to be sure to bring a bathing suit if visiting. Locals and tourists alike take part in beach activities such as snorkelling, surfing and swimming with sea turtles! All beaches in Barbados are open to the public and Crane Beach is known as one of the top 10 beaches in the world.
There are several options for lodging on the island which include hotels, resorts, villas, home stays or guest houses and apartments. All lodging possibilities promise a luxurious, exclusive and personal experience unlike any other. Households participating in home stays or the renting of guest houses must be approved by the Barbados Tourism Authority and is continuously monitored to ensure high quality and safety standards. There is a myriad of food and beverage choices available in Barbados offering local cuisine and international foods as well. Dinner is an occasion and a more formal dress code is enforced in comparison to a casual lunch. Locals insist that to experience all the island has to offer, tourists must do as the locals do which includes stopping at one of the many rum shops since Barbadian rum is a signature of the island.
There is only one provider of water for the island which is the Barbados Water Authority. It is a government statutory corporation and its goal is to provide the island with water services that are both reliable and safe to drink. Plug-ins fit a typical North American flat two blade plug. Hotels in Barbados will provide converters for European or Asian visitors Approximately 1.003 billion kWh of electricity were produced in the year 2007 in conjunction with 939.9 million kWh that was consumed the same year For every 100 islanders, an estimated 50 have fixed phone lines in comparison to 150 that have cellular phones. There is also a company in Barbados that provides rental cell phones to tourists which is a much cheaper alternative than accruing roaming charges. Two years ago over half of the populous were internet users with those numbers growing. Security across the island is in uniform and in general islanders are very friendly and approachable. Being as Barbados is such a small island; there is only one airport and 1,600 kilometers of paved roadway Tourists have access to public buses, taxis and car rentals. The rental cars all have an “H” plate which makes tourists easily identifiable to other cars on the road. In British fashion stemming from the country’s founders, traffic drives on the left side of the road
Compared to other countries in the Caribbean region, Barbados is privileged to be among the top per capita incomes. The country is benefitted by the fact that they are on the same time zone as financial centers in the eastern United States. Another factor affecting the high income levels is the high education level of the workforce. Along with offshore finance, information services are also a major foreign exchange earner
Travel and Tourism heavily impact this tiny country. In terms of the economic impact using a Tourism Satellite Account, we can see that The gross domestic product generated directly from tourism is roughly $528 million in American dollars. Tourism impacts the workforce positively by providing 73,000 jobs directly and indirectly During the year 2009, Barbados was also hit by the effects of the worldwide economic downturn. Tourism last year decreased to the extent that the public debt to GDP ratio climbed to 100%. The government works vigorously to ensure jobs for its people and do so by encouraging direct foreign investment and also by striving to privatize the state-owned enterprises that are lingering Despite the economic downturn, direct industry employment is still up by 2.2% and numbers are expect to continue rising over the next ten years