November 7, 2014
SVG celebrating November as Tourism Month

The Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture has announced that November is being celebrated as Tourism Month, with a host of activities and events taking place throughout the month.

On Friday, October 31, the Ministry hosted a media briefing at the NIS conference room, to give details of the packed schedule that will mark the occasion throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

This year’s theme is ‘Tourism is everyone’s business: live it, love it, embrace it.’

Minister of Tourism Cecil McKie said that raising tourism awareness is important because, as a Caribbean nation, SVG is heavily dependent on tourism as a source of income.

“We have to look to see how we can continue to refresh the tourism products that we have, to expand established new products and to ensure that the destination continues to be competitive and… gain advantage on others,” insisted McKie.

He pointed out that the Caribbean Tourism Organization estimates that one in every 10 jobs created within the region is tourism related, and therefore, his Ministry has been putting much effort into sensitizing members of the public about the importance of tourism.

“We urge them to see themselves as part of the development of this product, as ambassadors for the tourism sector and that they play their part,” he said.

McKie also said that in addition to SVG’s traditional tourism-related pursuits, he is “very conscious” of the various niche markets that contribute to our tourism product, which include eco-tourism, wedding/honeymoon destination and diving and sailing destination.

“We have a lot of other things to offer,” he asserted. “We have to continue to use this to our advantage… to further grow our tourism product.”

The upcoming cruise ship season is scheduled to begin with the first arrival of over 200 expected on November 15. McKie said that the number of cruise calls last year was similar to that expected this year, and described the figure as “encouraging.”

He also disclosed that in regard to yachting, SVG has been identified as second in the region to the British Virgin Islands in terms of arrivals.

“We expect that this number will increase, as we aim to be number one in the region,” he stated. “We are doing everything in our regard to make that a reality!”

Also present was Communications manager within the Ministry of Tourism Jay Belmar, who stressed the importance of members of the public getting involved in tourism.

“We continue to raise the level of tourism awareness in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and to familiarize our local population of our tourism product and the diversity that we have,” said Belmar.

She added: “Tourism is not about the policymakers; it’s about everybody. It’s everybody’s business, and it should resonate from your heart [and] from your soul.”

Also present at the briefing were Nelson Hillocks, director of Physical Education and Sports, and Rodney Small, representative from the Tourism Planning Committee.

Activities and events scheduled to take place include a media tour, radio programmes, fun/health walk, cultural/craft exhibition, lunch hour concerts, Tourism Cocktail Awards, school visits, lectures and various competitions.(JSV)