Hopes high for new tourism body

GTA Marketing Director Sheldon Keens-Douglas

GTA Marketing Director Sheldon Keens-Douglas

Grenada would focus on adventure/eco tourism as the newly created Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) embarks on a re-branding of the product in the Spice Isle to make Grenada become a favoured tourist destination for travelers.

According to Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, Alexandra Otway-Noel, the island has secured the assistance of internationally acclaimed actor Les Stroud “Survivorman” to help promote eco-tourism in Grenada.

Otway-Noel told reporters at a press conference the reality of the situation is that tourists are no longer interested solely in sun, sand and sea.

Grenada intends to use the expertise of “Survivorman” who was recently featured in two episodes about the island’s rainforest and on one of the outer islands of the Spice Isle.

Minister Otway-Noel said that the eleven-month-old administration in St. George’s has made excellent progress with the transition from the Grenada Board of Tourism (GBT) to GTA, which officially opened on January 2.

She disclosed that within weeks, the new tourism body would be going through a re-branding process to reposition Grenada as a tourist destination.

She said that local tourism officials have been holding on-going negotiations with Cruise Lines and announced the return of Carnival Cruise Lines from 2015 with a 8-10 day cruise with one of its liners, Carnival Splendour.

The female government minister reported progress in talks with airlines such as British Airways, Air Canada, Delta, America Airlines on services to the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA).

She said that soon she hopes to confirm a flight into Grenada from out of Central Europe for 2015.

However, while the GTA will engage in rigorous marketing of the destination, Minister Otway-Noel stated that establishing new markets will not be a priority for Grenada but instead the focus will be on using scarce resources on developing existing markets.

Newly appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GTA, Rudy Grant

Newly appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GTA, Rudy Grant

President of the Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association (GHTA), Ian DaBreo who also addressed the press conference said that the establishment of GTA is a positive sign for the tourism industry for 2014 and that the re-branding of the destination is timely.

He gave assurances that GHTA would be working closely with the Authority to address the needs of hoteliers.




Newly appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GTA, Rudy Grant of Barbados told the media that Grenada is probably one of the most beautiful countries in the Caribbean but was not fully utilising its resources.

“It is probably the only country in the Caribbean where you can move from white sand beaches to a rain forest”, he said.

Grant stressed that as CEO of the new authority, it would be important for him to strengthen linkages with sub-sectors, small business, and agro processors to help transform the industry for the benefit of all.

He said that he is excited about the possibilities within the industry, and is satisfied that GTA will have greater autonomy and make use of available technology to reach people.

He pointed out that he would be meeting with staffers individually to enhance the human resource component of the Authority, which is critical.

Government employed the services of Barbados’ former Minister for Tourism and International Transport, Noel Lynch to facilitate the transition of GBT into the GTA.

Lynch who also addressed the media said that Grenada has great tourism potential in terms of its diverse product base and had “more going for you than Barbados has”.

He added that this is a new era unfolding for Grenada and was definitely impressed with what government has been doing to create a new “tourism hospitality country” but warned that the success will only come if everyone is convinced that the industry can work for them.

The new GTA Director of Marketing, Sheldon Keens-Douglas stated that this transition from GBT to GTA was needed a long time ago and the staffers will not stand idle by and wait for guests to come but instead “we will be pounding the streets bringing business home”.

Re-branding the destination is one of the key objectives of GTA and Keens-Douglas assured the media that the Authority would live and breathe the new brand with urgency.

He expressed confidence that the authority under the direction of the new CEO is more than ready for the task ahead.

“We are going to get to the point where every Grenadian will be living and breathing that new brand,” he said.

The GTA has retained 18 former employees from the disposed Board of Tourism and has employed another eight new employees.

The authority is looking at having a full staff contingent of 30 workers.

 

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