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St. Vincent attends World Travel Market 2004

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Tourism Minister Rene Baptiste has said that SVG was able to receive a significant amount of media coverage by international media houses from this country’s participation at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London.

As a result the minister said, articles on SVG appeared in a number of well-read tourism publications including “Selling Long Haul”, “Travel Week -Travel Agents Manual”, “Travel Bulletin” and “Travel Weekly”. She said that she was also interviewed by a number of media outlets. {{more}}

Minister Baptiste, who held a media briefing Tuesday, also revealed that SVG collected the award for Best Sailing and Yachting Island of the Year. The award was given at the opening of the WTM by the world recognised magazine “Caribbean World”.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines took a record amount of persons, including entertainers to the four-day event, described as the world’s leading business-to-business travel and tourism event.

The forum held in England, London Docklands ExCeL from November 8, 2004, was described as biggest in the WTM’s 25-year history had over 26,122 persons from 194 countries attending and 42,289 visitors. More than 5,000 exhibitors displayed their various countries’ products with Jamaica making a huge impact with a record number of stalls.

The local delegation was headed by Minister of Tourism and Culture Rene Baptiste who described going to the event as more like, “going on a mission on behalf of the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.

The other members of the local entourage included Director of Tourism Vida Bernard, chairman of Carnival Development Corporation Dennis Ambrose, president of the SVG Hotel and Tourism Association Leroy Lewis, the 2003 and 2004 double national calypso winner Princess Monique Hector and a 12-member section of the 2004 senior national panorama champions Starlift Steel Orchestra.

Rachel Charles, sales representative at the London office of the Ministry of Tourism along with others staff members joined the delegation in England.

Minister Baptiste said that she was fortunate to rub shoulders with Simon Cooper, president and key operating officer of the Ritz Carlton Hotel chain, with whom she had a very fruitful meeting to discuss a 300-room hotel on the mainland. Cooper, who is described as a mover and shaker in the hotel industry, is, according to the minister, looking forward to visiting St. Vincent soon with interest in Mt. Wynne. A number of other high profile hotel based meetings were also held and the Minister says that the public will soon be informed about the outcome of these functions.

The Starlift Steel Orchestra performed on the last day of the WTM, a performance described by Baptiste as a “roadblock” as some persons were hearing steel pan music for the first time. Princess Monique also performed her winning numbers, “15 Talking Heads” and “Political Commentary Unwanted”.

The Culture Minister said this country’s display, “sold what we have” as samples of potato pudding and banana bread were given away. She said she also had the good fortune to visit booths from countries such as Rwanda, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Other Caribbean countries represented included Barbados, Antigua and Grenada among others.