The new Minister of Tourism for Grenada, Lennox Andrews, has a mission—for his country and its people to truly understand tourism’s impact on the economy and how it can lead to economic and social transformation.
Speaking to a group of journalists during IATA Caribbean Aviation Day in the Cayman Islands, the minister noted that it’s his goal to make sure that his government and that the people of Grenada understand that all sectors are linked to tourism, whether it be the creative sector, the transportation sector, the financial sector, to name a few. “We have to find a way to bring the good news as far as tourism is concerned to the common man. So, the man who sells the beads or the bangles by the roadside, he must understand that that too is tourism; the man that is in his farm and grows tomatoes and pumpkins, he must understand that that too is tourism; the taxi driver that is on the road, he must understand that that too is tourism. Once we can establish that linkage and bring that knowledge to our population, then the value of the industry can be seen.”
Grenada’s newly elected government, the minister noted, has a long-term vision of having “a well-educated, empowered population, and an educational system that allows for our people to develop and enhance whatever natural talent and ability they have, which they can use to earn a decent living.” With that in mind, he sees tourism as one of the sectors that can assist in that goal, in that vision.
Following the CTO Business Meetings, which preceded the IATA Caribbean Aviation Day and during which ministers from various Caribbean destinations met to discuss the region’s tourism recovery and growth, the minister plans to go back to Grenada and relate to the government officials how serious the world takes tourism and about the many advantages and possibilities that the industry provides to all people. “I would implore to our ministers and cabinets to make more resources available to the tourism industry, provide the necessary incentive for businesses to grow and to develop, and to expand not just room inventory, but also allow our people to have a better sense of the importance of the industry.”
In fact, the minister made it very clear that it’s a lot more than just adding hotel inventory, noting that “the research has shown that the total visitor arrivals and room numbers do not have a very strong correlation. What moves people to go to a particular island is not so much the room as it is the other activities that take place in the country. It’s amazing what people will pay to see. They come not so much because they want to see that nice hotel or stay in a nice room, they come because there’s a new experience that they’ve never seen before. That’s what excites them; the driving force is that different experience. That’s the strength of the industry.”
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