The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA) has given 2021 “Tourism Approved” licenses to 148 tourist accommodations in across the country.
Of the 148 approved accommodations, 55 are new registrants, 45 on Bequia, seven on St. Vincent and thee on Union Island.
There is an overall increase of 59 new tourist accommodation licenses for 2021, up from 89 licensed properties in 2020. These properties will be licensed for the period Dec. 1, 2020 – Oct. 31, 2021 in keeping with the requirements of the SVGTA Act and SVGTA Regulations.
The SVGTA’s Quality Assurance Unit is issuing reports, licenses and complimentary thermometers to all tourist accommodations that have met the minimum standards.
These standards now include the protocols from the Ministry of Health in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for the Hospitality Industry.
Over the last three months, the Tourism Audit Team conducted the annual inspections of tourism accommodations throughout the destination, with emphasis on safety for staff and guests.
The team is comprised of representatives from the Ministry of Health, the Physical Planning Department, RSVG Police Force-Fire and Traffic Branches, the SVG Bureau of Standards and the SVG Hotel and Tourism Association along with the Quality Assurance Unit of the SVGTA.
They were joined by the Quality Development Unit of the SVGTA, which spearheads stakeholder training for tourism standards.
Tourism Approved licenses are issued in keeping with the Tourism Authority Act No. 30 of 2013 Section 30 which states that “No person shall, on or after the commencement of this section, provide a tourism service or tourism establishment otherwise than under and in accordance with the terms of a licence granted under the regulations made under this Act.”
The act further states in section 39B (1) that “A person who provides a tourism service or tourism establishment in contravention of Section 30 commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of ten thousand dollars or to imprisonment for two years or to both and, where the offence is continued after conviction, that person commits a continuing offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of five hundred dollars for each day during which the offence is continued.”
In addition to tourist accommodations, licenses are issued to taxi operators, tour operators, tour guides and short-term vehicle rentals (STVR); 280 taxis operators, 91 tour guides, 34 tour operators and 11 STVR received tourism approved licenses for 2020 and will be relicensed for 2021 in keeping with the requisite standards and codes of practice.