Public pressure has forced tourism officials in Grenada to relook the controversial “Pure Grenada” Brand marketing tool and to include the popular tagline “Isle of Spice” as it seeks to sell the island internationally.
According to Chief Executive Officer of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA), Rudi Grant the body has heeded the concerns expressed by many Grenadians on the issue and was taking a second look on the “Pure Grenada” concept that is already in use.
Grant also said that GTA would soon embark on a campaign to educate the public about the “Pure Grenada” brand.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference, the Barbadian-born CEO of the local tourism authority said that the brand “Pure Grenada” must not be misinterpreted as “perfect Grenada.”
The “Pure Grenada” Logo was launched in February during a cocktail reception in which many media houses on the island were not invited.
During the reception, Tourism Minister Alexandra Otway-Noel showcased the new face for Grenadian products to promote the destination.
The senior government minister told the specially invited guests that the new Logo “Pure Grenada” will form the underpinning for the island’s new marketing focus, and to position the destination as “off the beaten path” and a heaven for the discerning travel explorer.
The new “brand” has attracted a barrage of criticisms from all sectors of the population especially on call-in radio programmes.
The single most issue raised is about the logo, which many felt does not identify with anything of Grenada and its traditional spices.
Grant admitted that after listening the concerns of Grenadian and calls for the removal of the “Pure Grenada” brand as the new face for the island especially on social networks such as Facebook and other mediums, the authority was compelled to adjust the logo.
The former Barbados Government official who is spearheading the GTA transformation from the Grenada Board of Tourism, which ceased operation in January, was asked about the creation of the new brand/logo and the cost of creating the new face for marketing Grenada’s tourism.
Grant said the new Logo/Brand was “inherited” by GTA based on the selection of a committee that was set up by Parliament.
The CEO was also asked to comment on the recent dismissal of two staffers within the GTA Marketing Department including the head, Sheldon Keens-Douglas and Marketing Executive, Marcus Christopher.
According to Grant, there is no relationship between the decision to end the GTA relationship with the two individuals and the “Pure Grenada” Logo/Brand controversy as alluded to in many quarters in the country.
Some persons on the social network media have claimed that Keens-Douglas and Christopher were axed as the fall guys for the GTA bungling on the rebranding issue.
Grant said the two, who were on probation, lost their jobs after an evaluation and performance appraisal was done of all employees by the authority.
“After our assessment and overall evaluation we felt that in building the type of organisation we need to build, we felt it was necessary for us at this stage to not have a relationship with the former Marketing Director and the Marketing Executive,” he remarked.
Grant said the decision to part ways with Keens-Douglas and Christopher was done primarily with the objective to build a strong organisation in order to strengthen and build relationships with stakeholder partners, niche market activities and focusing on engaging smart partnerships.
He told reporters that despite the recent issues that surfaced, the local tourism body remains strong and the moral within the organisation is very good.
He disclosed that the GTA marketing functions have since been delegated to Christine Noel-Horsford who is qualified and experienced in the area of tourism management, sales and marketing and a team of eight employees.
THE NEW TODAY contacted Keens-Douglas for comment on his dismissal but although he confirmed the reports, he said he preferred Grant to do the explaining.