The Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) is looking to introduce a Home Stay programme to provide more accommodation for the thousands of visitors expected to flock the island in April 2015 for next year’s Test match between the West Indies and England at the national sporting stadium.
Speaking to reporters during a GTA press conference held at the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) last week Wednesday, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Richard Strachan said the shortage of hotel rooms on the island will force the authority to look increasingly at a Home Stay programme.
Strachan said that the current room stock on the island is just under 2000 and “huge volumes of tourists” are expected to flock the country for the game.
CEO of the authority, Rudy Grant said the Quality Assurance Department of GTA is presently working with a number of private properties in relation to the Home Stay Programme.
Grant spoke of 130 rooms with just over 40 properties already looked at to accommodate the expected large influx of visitors mainly from the United Kingdom for the test match.
“The Quality Assurance Department will be engaging in some Quality Assurance Department activities to make persons more aware of what is required in relation to home accommodation in the Home Stay Programme”, he remarked.
Grant said that emphasis would be placed on ensuring that the home accommodation is at a level that is acceptable to guests in terms of proper lighting, proper security among other things.
A Home Stay programme was introduced for the 2007 Cricket World Cup by the then ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
The regime encouraged private homeowners to put on additional rooms in their homes in order to accommodate thousands of cricket-loving visitors expected to flock the Caribbean for the World Cup matches.
Many persons who heeded the government call to construct additional rooms in their homes complained bitterly of not benefiting from the programme as the visitors failed to show up on the regional shores.
Grant told reporters that next year’s cricket test match involving the English team will be a test as to how the Home Stay Programme can be enhanced.
“One of the challenges we will have with the destination is that the forward bookings for the accommodation are very positive. In fact, quite a number of hotels are already indicating that they are full for that period so we have to look at how best we can enhance and to have additional rooms available and the Home Stay Programme is one of the methods that we may use in order to be able to do that,” he said.
The CEO impressed upon Grenadians and expatriates living on the island to make their homes available to the visitors for the period of the test match.
“…The Quality Assurance Department and our Corporate Communications Officer we will be seeking to encourage persons to make those homes more available and to make them aware of what is required in terms of the programme,” he said.