Travel Agent recently invited Caribbean tourism delegates to a roundtable discussion in New York to get firsthand status updates from both the islands that were devastated by last year’s hurricane season and the ones that escaped major damage.
Included in the discussion were Kim Jack Riley, Antigua and Barbuda’s director of tourism for the USA; Cardigan Connor, parliamentary secretary for Anguilla's tourism sector; Petra Roach, U.S. director of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.; Celia Ross-Latham, director of sales for the St. Vincent and The Grenadines Tourism Office; Victoria Isley, chief sales and marketing officer at the Bermuda Tourism Authority; Perla George, business development director for North America at the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board; Mikala Moss, area manager for New York for the Bahamas Tourist Office; Christine Noel-Horsford, director of sales and marketing for the Grenada Tourism Authority; and Sylma Brown, director for the U.S. for the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).
Ruthanne Terrero and Joe Pike of Travel Agent magazine and Travel Agent Central moderated the conversation.
In this piece, we focus on the latest hotel news coming out Grenada, as provided to us by Christine Noel-Horsford, director of sales and marketing for the Grenada Tourism Authority.
And we also find out the island's biggest challenge. Read on to see what it is.
Grenada's Luxury Hotel Happenings
Grenada was also one of the islands that escaped any damage from last year’s hurricane season and is, in fact, thriving amongst Millennial travelers as the destinations continues to roll out new hotels and refresh existing ones.
“For Grenada specifically, 2017 has been an amazing year for us,” says Noel-Horsford. “We finished with an overall increase of eight percent in visitor arrivals, and the U.S. recorded the highest growth within the Caribbean region.
“We had a 16 percent growth in visitor arrivals, so that was just amazing for us. Also, the Canadian market has been doing very well for us. We had a six percent increase there, and the Caribbean in general, where we get a large percentage of our business as well, had an eight percent increase. So, overall, the destination is really pacing well and based on the discussions we've had with the tour operators and airlines, during [the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace], 2018 is going to be a really good year for us. So, it seems as if Grenada is a hot spot.”
Carlson-Rezidor Hotel Group, parent company of the Radisson Hotel Corporation, announced that it is granting Issa Nicholas Limited the opportunity to be the first hotelier in the Caribbean to launch Radisson’s five-star brand, Radisson Blu, in Grenada.
The project will include the construction of multi-story residences, an additional swimming pool, spa facilities and family-friendly facilities, as well as a full refurbishment and expansion of all existing facilities. The launch is anticipated in about 10 months, with the introduction of the residences and new spa facilities in 2020. The project is budgeted to cost roughly $50 million.
The all-inclusive Spice Island Beach Resort welcomed the new year with redesigned Anthurium Pool Suites, upgraded kitchen facilities and the addition of an open-air Yoga Pavilion overlooking Grand Anse Beach. Three certified yoga instructors, each trained in a different discipline, now offer private sessions in addition to scheduled classes focusing on Yin Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, Gentle Flow, Restorative Styles, Therapeutic and Hatha Yoga.
True Blue Bay Boutique Resort has added a modern conference facility equipped to accommodate up to 150 guests with catering facilities, conference equipment and connectivity. Corporate retreats, conferences and other groups can be booked starting in May.
With a newly-built Yoga Pavilion by the beach, Green Roof Inn is ready to host yoga retreats for groups between six and 15 people. The property has also implemented a plan of action for sustainable tourism by supporting the local market, seeking out equipment and maintenance products regionally, recycling food from the kitchen to feed local animals and heating water with solar energy. The focus is to provide sustainable tourism options for travelers visiting the island of Carriacou.
Also, Silversands Grenada is slated to have a soft opening this summer. The resort will have 43 suites and penthouse are housed in an low linear three-storey building overlooking the beach, along with nine luxury villas.
The Island’s Biggest Challenge
Like most of the Caribbean representatives involved in our roundtable also mentioned, Noel-Horsford tells Travel Agent airlift continues to be the destination’s biggest challenge.
“I think the common issue for everybody in the room, I’m sure, is air lift, more air lift. For us, right now we’re grateful for the airlines that come to Grenada,” she says. “We have JetBlue daily from JFK, and also American Airlines from Miami daily as well, and then we have Delta [Air Lines] seasonal from Atlanta and the Caribbean islands.
“But as some of my other colleagues,” she continues, “we want to definitely focus on some other secondary markets like Atlanta, for instance. That’s a really good market for the Caribbean in general. For Grenada, in particular, Boston is a really good market. I think the clientele, the profile of the clientele is a good fit for Grenada, but we find it a challenge for us going there, doing a [trade] show and then they cannot get to the destination.”