Exciting times ahead for tourism in 2014
December 6, 2013
Exciting times ahead for tourism in 2014

With 2013 almost at a close, key stakeholders in the national tourism product are already looking forward to bigger, brighter things for the upcoming year.{{more}}

At the awards ceremony to mark end of Tourism Month at Paradise Beach Hotel on Saturday, Minister of Tourism Sports and Culture Cecil McKie, as well as president of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Hotel and Tourism Association (SVGHTA) Kim Halbich, and Glen Beache, chief executive officer of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA), pointed out in their speeches that exciting times are ahead for tourism.

Halbich noted that the SVGHTA continues to grow in membership, welcoming 10 new partners on board this year.

The hotelier also said that she looked forward to the new standards that are to be implemented next year, that the association will play its part to make its members grow from strength to strength.

“As we know, it’s an important year coming up because we know the standards are about to be introduced, and a lot of us would have to make small changes to bring up our products, and we at the Hotel and Tourism Association are looking forward to supporting and working with you in this new endeavour.

“We have a great year planned for next year as we continue to try to do at least 12 sessions of training, where we continue to train in customer service…. It is only through working together would the tourism business move forward,” Halbich said.

Beache, also commenting on the soon to be implemented standards regulations, said that the new policies would make St Vincent and the Grenadines more competitive in the tourism industry, and called for a closer relationship with the Hotel and Tourism Association.

“I think when you look at the relationship between the tourism authority and the Hotel and Tourism Association, while it is a decent one, there is always room for improvement.

“We are not only against our Caribbean neighbours, we are up against every other country in the world, which means we have to be better than good, we have to be excellent and I think at times we fall short on that.

“We have to be competitive… unless we start to have a better working relationship with each other, then its not going to work.”

Mckie said that in the upcoming year, efforts would be made to make St Vincent and the Grenadines the number one yachting destination in the Caribbean; presently, it is number two to the British Virgin Islands.

He also indicated that, as early as February next year, more airlines are expected to visit for talks, ahead of the opening of the Argyle international airport.

Mckie also commented on the increase in arrivals for sporting and cultural events.

“Sports and cultural tourism is also going to be important going forward. We’ve seen our various associations hosting more and more events in St Vincent and the Grenadines and again I urge the Hotel and Tourism Association to work closely with these sporting associations to get an idea of what their schedule is, and to get prepared and assist where necessary in hosting these various teams and events.

“Over 9,000 persons came home for Christmas or visited St Vincent and the Grenadines for December. This number surpasses the number that arrivals in either June or July, so it means therefore that Christmas festival is growing in terms of appeal to visitors and Vincentians returning home.”

Tourism Month was held under the theme: “Tourism is Everyone’s business, Live it, Love it, Embrace it.”