Why Grenada’s Future Depends on Tourism

[dropcap style=”inverted”]G[/dropcap]renada, “The Isle of Spice” earned its name because of its impressive spice production, captivating visitors with the scents of nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, and ginger. However, spice is not the only thing Grenada has to offer. The country is also celebrated for its beautiful waterfalls, mountains and rainforests, and its beaches are also renowned for snorkelling, boating, and diving.

As such, tourism is extremely important to Grenada. The country’s economy is services-dominant, with tourism serving as the leading foreign currency earning sector. Proper management and development of the sector is therefore vitally important.

Current State of Affairs

Grenada is still suffering from the enormous public debt it acquired due to adverse shocks to the economy caused by spending on the reconstruction efforts after major hurricanes in 2004 and 2005; and of course, the stifling global recession. The country is still facing the mammoth task of reconstruction and recovery, while public debt remains unsustainable and the government faces large financing deficits.

To make matters worse, being a tourism-based economy, Grenada has been negatively affected by a downward trend in tourist stopover arrivals. With no other major options for recovery, the country is making strides – improving its tourism offering both in terms of speciality and general competitiveness. 

The National tourism strategy

In 2011, the Grenadian Board of Tourism (GBT) drafted it’s new, comprehensive agenda for the further development of its tourism industry. The document, the “National Tourism Strategic Plan” is being implemented over a 5-year period between 2012 and 2017. This mid-term duration was chosen to ensure that the goals for tourism were clear and realistic in an aim to steer the industry through its current challenges.

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Image Credit: http://www.tripadvisor.com

The Way Forward

When posed the question “Where would you like to see Grenada’s tourism sector in five or 10 years?”  Minister of Tourism Dr. George Vincent noted, “We are hoping to continue on the same path. To add an additional 500 rooms, so the airlift would be much easier. To train our people to deliver better experiences, because we think we have it. It’s just that we need to work with all of Grenada — to make everybody a stakeholder as we go forward.”

Wedding and Honeymoon Industry on the Rise

Grenada’s USP is that the country is working to set itself apart as the premiere destination for romantic vacations.  St. George’s, the capital, is known as one of the most picturesque harbour settings in the Caribbean. The idea is to market the island as a dreamy, romantic destination for couples. As you can imagine the result is a clear wedding and honeymoon industry on the horizon.

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Image Credit: http://www.grenadaexplorer.com

As a demonstration of its support, the State facilitates marriage license procedures as well as provides special funding for the development of hotels, spas, car rentals agencies and parks. This enables the offering of a variety of options that range from simple weddings on the beach, to hiring a wedding planner to make the proper arrangements for a perfect ceremony.

Community Tourism

Grenada is also taking another unique approach, looking at “community tourism,” in which the government aims to foster local development while improving interaction between guests and locals. It is hoped that this will foster greater economic opportunities for the people of Grenada while allowing visitors to feel more comfortable and welcomed.

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Image Credit: http://www.reachgrenada.org

All this, is not to say Grenada is not looking to feature its sun sand and sea.  The island still strikes an excellent balance in comfort and price, and offers a great getaway for travellers who want to experience more than just sun and surf on their Caribbean vacation.

Do you long for the rush of pristine waters? Or, do you simply want a vacation jam-packed with, energizing and quietly exciting activities? Or, maybe, you’re a helpless romantic longing for an authentic destination?  See and enjoy a place where all of nature’s best gifts can be found. It will surely put you in tune with the ‘Rhythms of Spice’ for a lifetime!

By: Norvan Martin

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Suggested Reading

Grenada at 39
Where is the Island of Grenada?
Grenada Coat of Arms
Tallest Waterfall in Grenada
Grenadian Song and Dance
Grenada’s National Dish – Oildown
Grenada Golden Boy – Kirani James
Mighty Sparrow
Spice Mas Carnival
Grenadian Singing Sensation – Sonika McKie
Grenada a must see – National Geographic

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