The Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture along with the SVG Tourism
Authority and other tourism stakeholders are proud to be celebrating another tourism month in November.
The Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture has put together a diverse program of activities that would span November and draw attention to our tourism product, its importance, key stakeholders and our collective responsibility to the tourism industry.
We have once again opted for the
theme: “Tourism is everyone’s business. Live it! Love it! Embrace it!”
This is the third year that we are using this theme and it is not because of a shortage of ideas. Rather, it is about us seeing profit in repeating the premium message that tourism is an industry that cannot thrive without a collective, people-centred approach. Hence, our theme challenges every
Vincentian to take ownership
of the industry and to express that ownership in a personal, caring and responsible way. St Vincent and the Grenadines is a tourist destination but it is firstly, our home.
We therefore, have a responsibility to be the primary caretakers of ourtourism product. We have to ensure that our home is in pristine shape and that we offer impeccable service to visitors when they come.
It is for that reason that we continue to enforce through the SVG Tourism Authority, the tourism service standards that aim for quality development and quality assurance of tourism services.
For the upcoming tourism season the SVG Tourism Authority has licensed two hundred(200) taxi operators, forty two(42) tour guides, sixteen (16) tour operators, forty four(44)accommodation/properties and four(4) short term vehicle rental operators.
This complements the training that has been done for waterfront operators and back-of-house staff like house-keepers.
This is all part of ensuring that we are ready for the commencement of the new tourism season.
The season officially starts October 31st with the arrival of the Azura cruise ship at Port Kingstown.
Tourism Month is celebratory as it is educational and there are new developments within the industry that warrant celebration.
For instance, the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and representatives of Marriott International have already signed an agreement for the construction of a two hundred and fifty(250) room hotel at Mt. Wynne. This would be the first luxury brand hotel on mainland St Vincent.
Another luxury brand would also be debuting in the destination soon. This world renowned luxury brand would arrive in Canouan to take over the Tamarind Beach Hotel that is currently under renovation.
These new luxury brands would add more glamour to SVG’s expanding image as an emerging luxury destination. They would complement existing marque luxury brands like Mandarin Oriental and Sandy Lane on Canouan.
We must also consider the on-going construction of Black Sands Resort at Peter’s Hope and the government’s plan to construct a one hundred and ninety five(195) room Holiday Inn hotel at Diamond. These projects would add much needed rooms to our destination and would help to sharpen our competitive edge.
We must also celebrate Saint Vincent and the Grenadine’s success at hosting its first Caribbean Tourism Organization(CTO) Sustainable Tourism Conference in August this year. The positive reviews have been encouraging and we look forward to hosting similar events in the future. Speaking of being proud, one of the new initiatives on this year’s calendar of activities is Vincy Tourism Day to be observed on Friday, November 8th .
On this day we are encouraging schools, business places and government offices to create or decorate a physical space to depict local elements of eco-tourism or festival tourism. Eco-tourism is one of our niche markets and Caribbean Tourism Organization(CTO) has declared 2019 as the Year of Festivals, hence our decision to highlight both on Vincy Tourism Day.
Vincy Tourism Day is an opportunity for us to demonstrate our Vincy tourism pride and we are hoping that this new initiative would be well supported.
Festival tourism is a popular means of cultural consumption and St Vincent and the Grenadines has a delectable menu of festivals of various tastes and proportions.
Vincy Mas continues to be one of the hottest items on the Caribbean summer calendar. Nine Mornings is a Christmas experience like no other. Bequia Music Festival and Mustique Blues fest are intimate and charming. Bequia Easter Regatta and Easterval on Union Island are balancing revered traditions with “hip” innovation.
The breadfruit festival is still in its fledgling stage but is promising. The Garifuna Heritage and Culinary festival at Fancy and Greiggs is a socio- cultural treat that gets better each year.
And the plethora of structured sporting, cultural and commercial activities at Independence may soon be harmonized into a festival of sorts. I cannot conclude this address without referencing the Renewal at 40 campaign which has been an effort to elicit and showcase the best of us as a nation. As we go into Tourism month 2019 and the new tourism season let us summon the spirit of that campaign.
Let us renew our focus and efforts to improve and protect this industry that is so integral to the life of the Vincentian economy. Our tourism product is an object of national pride. Let us demonstrate that pride in thought, conversation and action throughout November and beyond. Tourism is everyone’s business. Let us live it,love it, embrace it!