ST. GEORGE’S: Grenada’s Tourism Minister, Alexandria Otway-Noel, has announced that her administration has recorded significant growth in the tourism industry this year, despite an inherited depressed economy.
Otway-Noel was the keynote speaker at the opening of the first Caribbean Symposium for Innovators in Coastal Tourism last week.
“We may have a country that we met when we came into office with soaring unemployment and we may have been forced to raise some taxes…but that hasn’t stopped our tourism sector,” Otway-Noel told a group of regional and international tourism officials.
“We have had a 12 per cent increase in cruise ship arrivals in 2014; we have seen a 37 per cent increase in our Canadian market; 18.51 per cent increase in our European market and a 20.5 per cent increase in our U.S. market.”
Otway-Noel said she was confident that the country’s tourism sector was on the right tract to seeing improvements across the industry.
Recently, changes were made to the tourism sector, which included the renaming and the restructuring of the Tourism Board to the Grenada Tourism Authority and the rebranding the tourism product from “Grenada the Isle of Spice” to “Pure Grenada, The Spice of the Caribbean”.
“I am pleased to assure you that without a shadow of a doubt that we are on the right track,” said Otway-Noel. “I believe in the power of what we have done and if we apply what we’ve learned here, we will achieve even more. Through strategic partnerships targeted investments and a commitment shared by the private and public sector alike, we could be remarkable.”
She urged local stakeholders to use the symposium to learn of the eco-tourism best practices of their bigger international counterparts with a view to adopting and implementing on a modified scale.
“Now is the time for us to apply ourselves to learn about eco-certifications and about how big hotel chains have done it right,” said Otway-Noel. “We will benefit from learning how linkages are formed between tourism and agriculture and how communities have benefited in ways we haven’t imagine.”
During the two-day symposium, over 40 regional and international tourism officials made presentations to a 150-strong delegation coastal tourism issues including climate change and coastal tourism, responsible coastal and marine recreation, linking sustainable tourism to local industries and the impacts and innovations surrounding cruise tourism.