Head of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority, Glen Beache, has complained about the size of the nation’s tourism budget, relative to that of other destinations in the region.
Addressing a town hall meeting in Montreal, Canada on Friday, Beache told the gathering of mostly Vincentians, that tourism marketers in SVG have to be “so much more creative than our neighbours”.
He said what makes it much more difficult for St. Vincent and the Grenadines is that it is a multi-island destination — “31 islands and cays; Barbados is one, St. Lucia is one; well, Grenada is three, but still not 32.
“And this will put things more into perspective for you. The budget of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority is EC$13 million. The budget of the Barbados Tourism Board is Bds$99 million, which comes to about US$50 million. The budget of Bahamas is US$89 million. The budget of St. Lucia is EC$30 million,” said Beache, a former Minister of Tourism.
“So, I give you that to understand, yes, I know you might see some of the other destinations, I don’t want you to think we are not out there.
“We are out there, but if you are not reading certain publications, looking at certain shows, you are not going to see us. We have to be more focused, we know where our bread and butter is, we know where our strengths are. When they increase our budget a bit more, I will put something out there so you can see and show off to your friends and say, you see, here is St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I wasn’t lying to you.”
While the budget of the Tourism Authority is EC$13 million, opposition lawmakers have further complained that the full amount is never disbursed to the Tourism Authority, even as tourism remains the mainstay of the Vincentian economy.