Saint Vincent and the Grenadines joins the region in celebrating Caribbean Tourism Month from  1st - 30th November, with its slogan ‘Tourism is Everyone’s Business: Live it, Love it, Embrace it’.

From one the oldest Botanical Gardens in the western hemisphere, to locally produced Vincentian Chocolate, the majestic Vermont Nature Trail, to our numerous dive sites. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines offers a very rich and diverse tourism package.

Tourism Month is an opportunity to raise the level of tourism awareness and education among our students, stakeholders and general population.

The Month allows the nation to reflect on the industry that has the transformative ability to improve lives and communities and to appreciate just how important the industry is to the sustainable development of the country.
 
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, travel and tourism in the Caribbean accounted for a higher share of the gross domestic product than in any other region of the world, and contributed to about 15% of the region's total GDP in 2016.
 
"As Minister of Tourism, I wish to impress upon our students, the private sector, community groups, government departments and the general public the need for an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to tourism development," Minister Mckie said.
 
Tourism is about people meeting the needs of other people, who are away from places they normally reside and is intended to provide an environment so satisfying that the visitors would be eager to return, as well as being ambassadors for the destination.

The industry involves many key stakeholders. From tour operators, to restaurants, taxis, resorts, communities to government agencies. As Vincentians, we must take responsibility for protecting and preserving our little paradise and ensure the sustainability of the destination. As our slogan says: Tourism is Everyone’s Business. We can reflect this by continuing to improve our hospitality and by providing better products and services.

Visitors to our shores come for a variety of reasons: to escape, explore, understand our culture, and to participate. But at the core of the visitor experience is the destination.

In May, it was announced that Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was added as one of Air Canada Rouge six new routes for the airline’s winter season. The Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority also announced that from November 2017 to January 2018 charters with Sunwing Airlines would commence and recommence in April 2018 through to August 2018. It is anticipated that both carriers will continue to service the destination after summer 2018.

It is estimated that at the end of the first six months of 2017, cruise passenger arrivals to the Caribbean region had reached 15.3 million - 4% more than in the corresponding period of 2016. This performance represents the largest number of cruise passengers in the region at this time of year.

In 2017 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will welcome over 220,000 cruise ship passengers from October 2017 through to April 2018. This figure represents about three times the 2015 figure.

Since the passage of the recent hurricanes, it is expected that the destination will benefit from inquiries for additional calls. It is projected that along with the recent operationalisation of the Argyle International Airport, total visitor arrivals to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will increase by 6.5% over the 2016 figure of 227,230.
 
We have much to be thankful for as we enter the 2017 Cruise Season and Tourism Month. The Caribbean tourism industry has faced its share of challenges with the recent passage of hurricanes.
 


These storms have made significant impacts on the economies of our sister islands, many of whom are still in recovery mode and trying to get their lives and industry back to normal. Thankfully, 75% of the region escaped the storms unscathed and many tourism operations in the affected areas are reemerging.
 
This dedicated month, as a Ministry, we encourage citizens to embark on leisure activities and experience being a tourist in your own destination. There is indeed ‘No Place Like Home’.

Paradise is right on our doorsteps. Familiarise yourself with the many sites and attractions and enjoy the rich diversity of our 32 islands and cays.

As Minister of Tourism, I cannot emphasized enough that our citizens at home or in the diaspora can better sell the product if, first, they know it well. In this crucial sector, it is so important that the players understand the industry and remain closely involved with the Ministry of Tourism to improve on what we are offering.

The Ministry will host several exciting activities to celebrate Tourism Month. These include:

  • Careers in Tourism School Talks - 15th November
  • Craft Exhibition and Souvenir Showcase - 16th and 17th November
  • Know Your Country Media Tour - 21st November
  • Tourism Walk - 29th November
  • Tourism Awards – 2nd December

I would like to wish Vincentians far away and at home, every tourism agency and those engaged, either directly or indirectly, in tourism, a wonderful Tourism Month. Join us by participating in our initiatives throughout the month.

I challenge every Vincentian to tell the story of the wonderful product offerings in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and that visitors will indeed find the ‘Caribbean they’re looking for’. Happy Tourism Month!

 

SOURCE: Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture

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