After two and a half Tourism Development Plans, a Pure Grenada Branding, a new Grenada Tourism Authority with its massively over-paid CEO, the Minister for Tourism recently disclosed that our ‘Tourism Product’ is stale!
Strangely, those who, a year ago, were on the forefront of the Pure Grenada brand campaign have simply kept quiet. So too has GTA which has failed to publicise its thinking, if any, on new product development opportunities for Grenada.
So what is wrong? Why are we dragging when we should be soaring? Why have we allowed ourselves to be eclipsed by two ‘Bajan Suns’? Why have we not seen the roll-out of a dedicated communications strategy in support of the Pure Grenada branding aimed at putting the host population at the cutting-edge to effectively promote our destination and to treat our guests properly?
Why have we not been presented with an indicative suite of new products to justify the new branding and to cause our destination to be more attractive in the marketplace? Much of the hotel plant is perhaps approaching its physical best, but the same is not true of the rest of our product offerings.
The natural attractions and the vendors’ markets are crying out for modernisation by which to offer visitors uniquely Grenadian experiences. In summary, Grenada is very far from the top of its tourism game. The test of this requirement is where we offer visitors something exciting to do; something of value to buy and something interesting to see! Altogether, we need to offer a bundle of worthy experiences to take home and to talk about.
Actually, it is not only our product that is stale or that signals poor and inappropriate management by the public sector. Go take a read of ‘the invitation’ (Welcome) to potential visitors on the GTA’s website. You will be appalled at the clumsy cut and paste text, brand strength ignorance, poor English and utter confusion regarding lifestyle issues and their cultural roots which are non-transferable.
Yet someone who evidently does not know better has approved that text!
Alternatively, that person simply could not care less! Grenada blindly pays the high price!
No wonder that official approval or acquiescence could be given to the placement of Chinese pagodas at Grand Etang. Clearly, the people who are paid to mind our business in Tourism do not themselves understand what Grenada is offering at Grand Etang! If they did, then perhaps an authentic interpretation of the ‘joopa’ would now be on show at that natural habitat.
Grand Etang is geographically and symbolically at the very centre of our country and may be conceived of as the heart of our destination, just as the people represent the soul of our destination. As such, it is to be highly prized, protected and preserved. The standard of authenticity must apply to everything at that attraction.
If we are showing appreciation to those who have helped us during our prolonged and continuing years of need, then where is the bust of Fidel Castro? And if we decide to so honour a major contributor to Grenada’s development, might it be wise to erect a Castro bust on Church Street in the city? Would that be an appropriate place? Hell no! One thinks that the most fitting place would be at the Maurice Bishop International Airport. Not so?
The point is simple, really. Grand Etang is not an international cultural park. If it were, then foreign pagodas would be welcomed.
Because it is not, then please erect two ‘joopas’ so that we can all feel at home and share that home space with our visitors in our uniquely Grenadian way.