SVG’s tourism product gets boost
July 31, 2018
SVG’s tourism product gets boost

Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Camillo Gonsalves has said the construction of the Commercially Important People (CIP) lounge at the Argyle International Airport (AIA) is beneficial to this country’s tourism product.

Minister Gonsalves was addressing persons who were gathered at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between AIA and Kayan Holdings, for Fixed Based Operations (FBO) and the CIP.

He said the AIA is the largest infrastructural investment in SVG, and is in many ways, one of the most important pieces of infrastructure that this government or any government has ever constructed in this country.

He added that it is integral to government’s developmental aspirations not only in the field of tourism, but in the entire ancillary spill-offs.

“Having built the airport, and as it exists now, the prime minister indicated a priority of this government is to make AIA work and make it work successfully. One of the things we have to do is attract investment and attract people who have experience in the aviation business to help us leverage the advantages and the potential of the AIA.”

Minister Gonsalves said Dr Uday Nayak of Kayan Avaiation Holdings has demonstrated in St. Kitts and Nevis that he is a good investor who knows how to make this type of operation work.

Giving an explanation as to what an FBO is, Minister Gonsalves said it is an area where an investor, and in this case Dr Nayak, offers aviation services of different types; “very important to the success of the airport.”

The lounge, he said, is also very important, particularly to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the type of tourism product that the country offers.

The minister said St. Vincent and the Grenadines has two islands (Mustique and Canouan) inhabited by CIPs, and very often people of a certain net worth expect a certain level of service when they land at airports. He noted that because this type of service was not traditionally offered in this country these people found it necessary to stop elsewhere en route Mustique and Canouan. “This lounge will provide that experience, will make people feel special from the minute they enter the borders of St.Vincent and the Grenadines, and will make their vacation begin from the minute they land.”

Minister Gonsalves said he knows that as an organization Kayan Holdings expects the CIP lounge to do excellent business in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, given the volumes of wealthy people who already travel to these shores, and also because Dr Nayak and his team will drive traffic to SVG for their FBO services for private and leased aircraft and for the wealthy.

He thanked Dr. Nayak for his investment and said he expects great things from the FBO and the Lounge, “it will enhance what the airport does and will enhance our aviation and tourism services.”

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves in his remarks said when he first met Dr Nayak, his two immediate initiatives at that time concerned the FBO and also the matter of training for people involved in the tourism sector at all levels.

He stated that every passenger passing through AIA is important, as they help to pay for staff and operations at the airport. The PM also added that while the area is for Commercially Important Persons, the governemnt sees everyone as CIPs, and he does not want anybody to feel that the governement does not see them as important.

“I just want to reaffirm that everybody who comes through here is commercially important,” said the PM.

Dr Gonsalves said the fact that a private sector entity is prepared to come and invest indicates that there is confidence in AIA, and when completed it would add prestige and increase the availability of services to Argyle.