KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Vincentians are being called upon to be mindful of how they speak about tourism-related issues lest they drive away potential investors.
Minister of Tourism Saboto Caesar made the point on Sunday as he said the owners of Buccama Bay Resort was investing $125 in Barbados, one of the region’s leading tourism destinations.
Caesar’s call came even as he said he hope that this country “will surpass Barbados” within his lifetime.
“But … for us to surpass our neighbours, for us to do better in tourism and in agriculture, we have to ensure that when we go to the polls, that we put the Unity Labour Party back into power,” said Caesar, 30, of the Unity Labour Party (ULP), which won the Dec. 13 election last year for a third term in office.
“So, we have to be very, very careful when we speak on issues touching and concerning tourism that we don’t seek to drive investors away,” he said in reference to the investments in Barbados.
He told a ULP rally in Biabou that the government “will continue to create the right framework for investment in the country”.
Caesar, who was in Barbados for a meeting of regional tourism officials last week, said the sector in this country is “doing far better than many of our neighbours in the Caribbean.”
According to him, in some Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States member nations, “there are taxi men who are taking their taxis to sell produce … because many of the cruise ships are repositioning themselves”.
He said cruise liners were choosing other destinations because cruise passengers’ “likings and feelings are changing”.
“But because of the astuteness of the Unity Labour Party and the fact that we are not putting all our eggs in one basket, we are able to withstand the many boisterous wind when they blow economically and financially globally.
“Whilst some persons are speaking of the death of tourism on their islands … in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, … we have great development going on in the Grenadines and in mainland as it pertains to tourism,” Caesar said.
He further spoke of tourism improvements and investments in the Grenadines islands of Petit St. Vincent, Palm Mayreau, Canouan and Bequia.
“I am telling you all these things in the middle of a global economic crisis. St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Ministry of Tourism, we are holding our own,” he said.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has said the tourism sector is expected to grow by 4 per cent this year.