April 22, 2005

Baptiste: Be careful what you say

Tourism Minister Rene` Baptiste is warning Vincentians to be more careful about what is said about tourism in this country.

She warned that rumours that the Bequia airport would soon be closed had sparked concerns that could affect a visitor’s decision to come to these islands. She said such rumours also affect investors coming to the Grenadine islands to do business, which would in turn affect potential employees and government revenue. {{more}}

She advised Vincentians to adopt a new attitude towards the tourism industry and urged them to nurture the very fragile industry. This she noted against the background of the changes in the banana industry, which has made it not so profitable. In this light she opined that Vincentians need to be more creative to be competitive.

The Tourism Minister said people ought to take the tourism industry more seriously since it contributes hundreds of millions of dollars to the economy. Baptiste stated that government has been investing a lot of money to market and promote this country and that many other countries are following suit in the marketing strategies being taken. She referred to a message sent to her from a top executive of Caribbean Star congratulating her for “taking the country out of the doldrums.” This comes as Caribbean Sun Airlines proclaimed St.Vincent would be the Southern hub for Caribbean Sun.

This means increased traffic since flights from Caribbean Star, from Barbados, Grenada and St.Lucia will meet Caribbean Sun at the E.T.Joshua Airport. She invited the hoteliers and restauranters to exploit the opportunities that would come with this new venture. The Tourism Minister also noted this country willcompete alongside Cuba at the Travel andLeisure Trade Show in presentation and will be having 12 panists from National Lotteries Sion Hill Euphonium Steel Orchestra play at the event. She noted that calypsonian Grantly “Ipa” Constance will perform at the show in Canada on April 23-24 while the panists will also be playing at the Niagra Falls in an attempt at penetrating the Canadian Market.