The Grenada Home Stay Programme that was launched for next month’s test match between England and the West Indies at the national cricket stadium at Queen’s Park is not receiving high yielding response from the Grenadian public.
That’s the word from the Chief Executive Officer of the Grenada Tourism Association (GTA), Rudy Grant who said that the body is still hopeful of seeing a turn around.
The Barbadian-born Grant was responding to questions from reporters at a press conference on the home stay programme that was launched to provide additional accommodation for the influx of visitors expected on the island for the test match.
Most of the island’s hotels are said to be booked for the period of the match.
GTA has called on Grenadians with available rooms in their private homes to make these available to visitors for short-term rental.
According to Grant, the Home Stay Programme has not been having the level of attraction that he would like to see happening so they would have to look at it in more detail.
“The truth is and to be quite honest with you, in order to be able to facilitate the Home Stay, you do have to as a home owner meet a number of guidelines, for instance meet the standards with respect to Ministry of Health – if I’m going to be handling food, you have to have the necessary security measures”, he said.
“…We have had quite detailed dialogue with the Attorney General’s Chambers in order to see what can be relaxed. The Attorney General has indicated that those guidelines should remain in place because we do have to ensure that they’re able to provide for the safety and the security of our visitors,” he added.
This, he said is a very important element for GTA and although the authority has been getting a number of new properties and homes coming on stream with the programme, the fact remains that more public awareness has to be undertaken.
“You may have noticed recently that we engaged in Advertising and Public Relations in regards to the Home Stay programme. We set up booths (in two Malls) in order to interact with persons to encourage them to sign up for the programme”, he remarked.
Grant said after the text match ends, GTA intends to sit down and look more closely at the programme.
“We are going to be looking at the Home Stay Programme in a greater detail because we do want to ensure that the opportunity to Grenadians to be able to participate in the tourism sector is something that is recognised”, he told reporters.
“… We would (get) to work with the Attorney General’s Chambers along with the Bureau of Standards and the other entities that are involved in ensuring that the standards are high and we do not compromise in relation to safety and security and also provide the opportunity for Grenadians to get involve in the programme,” he said.
A Home Stay programme was initiated by the New National Party (NNP) government of PM Keith Mitchell for Cricket World Cup in 2007 in which locals were encouraged to extend on their private homes due to an anticipated influx of visitors.
Several home owners complained of losing heavily on the investment as they borrowed heavily from local commercial banks and did not receive any guests.