Our Readers' Opinions
June 29, 2010
SVG has so much for the tourist to enjoy

Tue, Jun 29, 2010

Editor: According to stats, St Vincent and the Grenadines is composed of some of the most beautiful and unspoiled islands in the world, ideal for ecotourism. Moreover, with more than thirty two islands and cays, St Vincent and the Grenadines offers many unique features to the visitor.{{more}} Mainland St Vincent is best suited for ecotourism, while the sister islands are best known for their white sand and pristine water-the traditional tourist getaway.

With the opening of the Buccament Bay resort next month, St Vincent and the Grenadines must develop and promote its local product so as to attract more visitors to our shores.

One thing I would like to see done on mainland is the introduction of cable cars for the purpose of transporting local people from the Windward to the Leeward side of the islands and vice versa, and to give tourists a better view of our mountainous landscapes-ideally, the La Soufriere volcano, which is one of our potential tourist attractions. If the government does not have enough money to invest in this form of transportation, they should seek foreign investments. This is a project that is important to the Travel Industry in St Vincent and the Grenadines. In this sense, the government must encourage investors in this aspect of development. There are many cable car companies around the world – Europe and the USA.

Promote tourism more

Personally, I believe that tourism in St Vincent and the Grenadines should have escalated beyond where it is today. The Ministry of Tourism is obligated to develop programmes, which would reach a wider global audience through increased marketing strategies. The ministry must use popular media, such as CNN, MSNBC, A& E and the Discovery channel to highlight all aspects of the islands. These television stations attract millions of viewers in a given day.

It is also necessary to send ambassadors to various parts of the globe in an effort to sell our culture. Cultural groups across St Vincent and the Grenadines should be given the opportunity to travel around the world and display the cultural aspects of our nation. Additionally, the ministry has to develop more interactive Internet website and blogs that will share information about us to the world.

Ideally, the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines should encourage foreign investors to invest into a “St Vincent and the Grenadines cruise.” Let me explain this phenomenon. One or a combination of cruise companies could facilitate cruises around St Vincent and the Grenadines. The mainland should be the home base where tourists will board their cruise liners. The cruise will depart the Kingstown harbour and travel on the eastern side of the mainland, while the tourists enjoy the beauty of the spectacular hills and valleys on the mainland. Once the cruise reaches the western side of the island, a few stops should be made to enjoy the many ecotourism sites; nature trails, bird watching, cultural displays, waterfalls and the many other serenities, which exist on the Leeward side of the island. Once the cruise ends its tour around the mainland, it should head toward the Grenadines, with stops in Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, Union Island and the Tobago Keys to enjoy our lovely beaches, shopping and culture. Thereafter, when the cruise reaches the most southern Grenadine Island, it would head back to Kingstown where it starts the same route all over again.

It is obvious that reaching this goal requires some investment into building jetties throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines to accommodate these stops. Furthermore, there is the need to develop ecotourism sites especially on the mainland.

The government must also upgrade the present health facilities of our nation. St Vincent and the Grenadines needs better emergency equipment and upgraded hospital facilities.

Use media to educate people

Additionally, citizens of our nation need to be educated about the importance of tourism to the country’s overall economic stability. St Vincent and the Grenadines posseses many radio stations, a television station and many newspaper companies, which can be use to reach wide demographics.

The government must use these media to educate our people. Coupled with this, I believe that tourism and hospitality should be thought of from an academic standpoint. As we speak, even when tourism declines, it still exists and always contributes to the economic development of any nation.

Ideally, there is the need for increased security of our tourists as they stop at the various locations around the nation. With our high unemployment rate and increased crimes, St Vincent and the Grenadines has to step-up its security especially in areas where tourists are frequent and are vulnerable.

Sports also play an important role in our economic development; therefore, we should strive to develop and encourage sports in our nation. CARIFTA is an annual athletic competition amongst Caribbean nations, which started in 1972. To date these games have been hosted by many Caribbean Islands, with the exception of St Vincent and the Grenadines. We do not have to ask why! St Vincent and the Grenadines has to improve its transportation, health services, accommodation and a state-of-the-art national stadium if it is to attract sports tourism – not withstanding enhancing our competitiveness at the regional level.

We need a proper airport

Lastly, without proper airport facilities, this idea would be impossible to reach. We must possess an airport which will accommodate huge jet liners. The time has come when we can no longer depend upon Barbados as a transit point to bring visitors to our shores, and moreso, the many returning citizens who from time to time become tourists to our nation.

In my opinion, the leaders in St Vincent and the Grenadines have lost focus and lack vision.

As a young and energetic citizen of that nation, I am forced to get heavily involved in politics where I can make my dreams, vision and ideologies for St Vincent and the Grenadines a reality.

D. Markie Spring, Turks and Caicos Islands