Tourism Minister Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen has appealed to Grenadians to play their part in maintaining a clean, hygienic, eco and visitor friendly environment.
According to the female government minister, who is just back from the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Conference in Puerto Rico, this was one of the concerns raised in discussions with various cruise executives.
“If we just look at The Carenage, bottles (and) all sorts of things are dumped in the water. It really sends a bad message for our country and it is not good for our citizens…”, she told reporters.
“We have laws (but) we do not observe the laws and they are not enforced (and) I believe that really and truly, our conscience and awareness should be enough to tell us don’t throw something out of a vehicle or by the side of the road,” she said.
The female government minister reminded locals that this is “unsightly, and very importantly, it is unhealthy …there is nothing to gain by indiscriminate dumping”.
Minister Modeste-Curwen noted that “over the years we have become a bit negligent,” stating that “we have a beautiful country that is still environmentally friendly but a lot of the times our activities are not environmentally friendly.”
The Tourism Minister said another concern coming out of the conference where Grenada is concerned is the need for “better vehicular access for physically challenged” visitors to the island and a more diversified product offering.
“They are saying that we need some more adventures and other things to attract the tourist because we want the tourist to come repeatedly…so if we don’t up the offerings in terms of our products after a while they get tired and they would start going to other places”, she said.
The minister announced that discussions are ongoing between GTA and the various stakeholders on the way forward in this regard and “over the next few weeks and months you will see some of our plans unfolding in terms of how we can improve.”
Minister Modeste-Curwen stated that “compared to some other islands, our safety and security is pretty good”.
“We still feel comfortable walking around in the nights and so on without being troubled but I know sometimes our tourists are harassed, their bags are stolen and these are thing s that we have to deal with in an effective manner”, she remarked.
According to the tourism Minister, there were overwhelming reviews as it relates to “our tour operators, guides and taxi owners (are that they) were all very friendly and helpful and most of them knew their jobs very well”.
“They also spoke of our road conditions which are good…there might be some pot holes here and there but they did say that generally our road conditions are good compared to other places,” she said.
Chief Executive Officer of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) Rudy Grant who also addressed reporters said the cruise industry has between January and August experienced growth of about almost 35%.”
Grant said it is expected that “this (growth) will carry through to the end of the year.”
However, he said that “in order to continue to see this level of growth, one of the things we are doing is to engage more with our cruise executive partners from the various cruise lines and to engage more with those executives that are responsible for the planning of itineraries.”
Grant disclosed that discussions are ongoing surrounding Grenada becoming “platinum members of the FCCA, (which will) allow for greater access to cruise executives (and) those who are critically involved in planning the itineraries, to hear from them what are the concerns, dialogue with them in relation to the issues that we have to look at and it (would) also give us the opportunity to persuade them to bring more cruise ships to Grenada and Carriacou.”
He said discussions also took place during the recently held State of the Industry Conference in Barbados with the Southern Caribbean Cruise Alliance, an initiative geared at increasing cruise business to the southern Caribbean particularly during the summer months and embraced by many countries in the region.
According to the GTA CEO, further discussions about the initiative are carded for the upcoming Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Travel Market Place in Bahamas in January 2017.
“We are all very aware that Grenada is located in the south and therefore when cruise ships leave Miami, unless you are talking about the longer days cruise itinerary, Grenada is far south…through the Southern Caribbean Cruise Alliance (we are seeking to) ensure that we are bringing more cruise ships to the region.
“Our desire is that we will be able in 2017, to start to have critical discussions with Cruise executives to ensure that the summer programme can become a reality. It requires that there is strong collaboration with our partners (and) a summer incentive, but it is critical that we seek to eliminate the seasonality of the cruise sector and create a more even cruise development whereby we see cruise ships coming year round.