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Exclusive: Travel Agent Sits Down With Members of Grenada Tourism BoardJune 6, 2012 By: Joe Pike
NEW YORK CITY, New York – Travel Agent sat down Wednesday with members of the Grenada Board of Tourism and discussed everything from pushing Grenada’s cultural offerings to resuming negotiations for a Four Seasons resort on island.
We met with the Hon. George Vincent, Grenada’s new minister of tourism, civil aviation and culture, and Director of Tourism, Simon Stiell, and learned that culture is how this small island plans to compete with other Caribbean giants.
“Sure, we have the sun, sand and beach that the other islands offer if that’s what clients are looking for,” says Stiell, “but we have a culture on the island that isn’t found on most Caribbean islands.”
And with experiential travel being the latest travel trend, Grenada is in a good position to start increasing its first-time visitors. In fact, the island has already seen a seven-percent increase in overall arrivals from last year. Also, last year was the first year in which more Americans visited Grenada than Canadians, a sign perhaps that word is getting around the States that Grenada is a great place to vacation.
“We have diving and we have yachting,” says Vincent, who also noted that agricultural tourism is also booming in Grenada. “These are two areas we can compete with any destination in. These are two areas that we have become very strong in.”
“This isn’t a destination where you stay at your resort,” says Stiell. “We encourage our visitors to hang with the locals. We offer so many cultural things that allow visitors to really learn and understand the people of Grenada.”
So much so, Vincent says, that the Board is looking into ways to package a lot of its cultural promotions. Travel Agent was told, in fact, that Grenada officials have been in talks with several U.S. operators to include such cultural experiences as a rum festivals, flower festivals and even something very simple like visiting a local church during procession, in a package.
“We know what we have to offer visitors, but now we need to package it,” Vincent says. “We need to get people to understand that Grenada is so much more than your typical Caribbean vacation. “
But that’s not Vincent’s only goal since taking over as minister just two weeks ago. Besides forming an officially packaged cultural itinerary for clients, the new minister also wants to see the presence of a U.S.-branded hotel.
And he didn’t have to search too hard.
Vincent old Travel Agent that talks have recently resumed with Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts to build a property on the south side of the island. Plans were in effecta few years ago, but then stalled when the recession hit, Vincent says.
“We’ve picked up talks again,” says Vincent. “Hopefully, if all goes well, we can see groundbreaking on that proeprty probably by the end of the year.”
Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for updates on Grenada and your other favorite Caribbean islands.