Minister of Tourism, Carlos James says he is willing to have “a very frank discussion” about the fact that St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) did not market itself during last week’s regional tourism conference in the Cayman Islands.
When contacted on Wednesday about the absence of a presentation by SVG, James told iWitness News that he was out of state but would be willing to comment on his return.
“I could probably have a chat with you about that,” the tourism minister told iWitness News. “I wouldn’t want to discuss that right now at this moment. We can have a very frank discussion about it, as a matter of fact.”
SVG was among members of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) that did not make a presentation during the “Destination Media Briefings” that formed part of the CTO Business Meetings and Caribbean Aviation Day, held in George Town, from Sept. 12 to 15.
It was the first time that the events were being held face-to-face since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
There was no presentation by SVG although Glen Beache, chief executive officer of the SVG Tourism Authority, was at the venue during the days when the briefings took place.
The briefings were conducted by ministers of tourism, tourism secretaries, or executives of the destinations’ tourism marketing agencies.
In some instances, was the case of Barbados, the presentation was made by its minister of tourism, but its panel included the permanent secretary in the ministry, the chairman, as well as the chief executive of Barbados Marketing Inc., the country’s “premier destination management entity”.
The “Destination Media Briefings” were opportunities for Caribbean destinations to market themselves to regional and international media, many of which are focused on travel and tourism.
At the event, some multi-island destinations had briefings focused on particular islands, as was the case for St. Kitts and Nevis, while there was a presentation on Tobago but none for Trinidad.
What is more, there was no briefing for SVG, even as Jamaica, whose delegation, because of “logistical reasons”, arrived a day after the briefings were held, was accommodated in making a full-length presentation to the media.
iWitness News was reliably informed that SVG, like all CTO member destinations, were invited to brief the media on developments in its tourism sector.
During the briefings, the destinations updated the media on the performance of their travel and tourism sector, including visitor arrival figures — especially since the resumption of travel since the pandemic — as well as projections for the future.
The briefings also reported on new hotel developments and festivals and gave the media an opportunity to question the representatives on their destination’s stance on a wide range of issues, such as cruise tourism and their preferred hotel size.
However, there was no presentation from SVG despite the government’s boast, locally, about investments in the tourism sector, including the state-owned Holiday Inn and private sector investments such as Sandals’ Beaches Resort, which are expected to open over the next two years.
Further, SVG did not showcase itself despite the announcement by American Airlines that it will commence daily flights to St. Vincent from Miami next year and the return of Air Canada to the destination.
Like most delegates, Beache arrived in Cayman Island on Sunday, Sept. 11, and was at the conference up to the final day, when Vincentian Marika Baptiste, placed second in the CTO’s Regional Tourism Youth Congress, held as part of the events.
And some are still wondering why the tourism sector is underperforming!! Some workers just want to travel here, there and everywhere on tax payers dime.
This brother never cease to amazed me. I sorry for the poor people them is country whose tax they are using to pay people like him look at a waste of a man nothing about him his head is so empty I just can’t see why they man have this position tourism is our main source of income and look at who they have at the fore front just look. And you know they are going find a way to cover hush people vincentians are just to gulable. It is evident that guy cannot handle this job and a result of that the country is at ransom I am sick of this crop this government failed so bad its not funny how do these people wanna be remembered in the minds of vincentians. I tell you all this is not a fight of flesh and blood is prayers and fasting we have to depend for a turn around in this country st vincent gone to the dogs watch ah time
Ello! Ah wha dem ah get big salary and travel allowance? Laziness should be a crime. Dem need fi get kick off dis gravy train!!
Will be very nice to hear the reasons for SVG not making a full presentation or will the country be greeted with another dignified silence
Why is this a big surprise? For yearS SVG has not been represented at any of major tourism marketing events. Lets see if there will be proper representation at the next CHTA Marketplace in October 2-6 in San Juan. The question one must ask is there a strategic sale and marketing plan for the destination. I don’t know why on God’s Earth that they keep referring to Holiday Inn as a luxury brand. Holiday Inn is not a luxury brand!
It is sad that SVG has one of the most diverse tourism product offering in term of its natural beauty etc yet it is one of the most poorly managed tourism destination in the Caribbean. The radio commercial painting a picture of this well managed tourism product is far from reality . Let’s get some visionaries, leadership, hospitality training centers and a proper strategic plan that will deal with our product and sales and marketing.
Glen and Carlos with the two of you at the helm is like riding a bus with no real destination. I will ask that both of you read the book from Good to Great and get some insight into what it take to make a difference . I would not ask world …… to read that book because….. if you truly want to see SVG move to be the great country I can be start leading with the people in mind.
Can someone share the development agreement with these hotels with the tax payers? TBH was also partly owned by the Government and it was a disaster! To my knowledge there no government own hotels that have been a success story. I am begging the government of SVG to stay out of state own hotels concept. Signing a management agreement with Holiday inn is a total waste! Take a look at the location of the proposed hotel site totally laughable.
Iwnsvg.com, like they [Ralph] silence you. Now serious people don’t know how other people feel about widespread Gov’t mismanagement. Just like in Venezuela.
Put people who know how to manage our tourism. Not these fly by night dudes who only know how to fill their pockets. Employ architects and city planners, get competent people to manage the tourism industry not people who just like to talk and no action.
IN DEFENSE OF IWN. I recently read somewhere on social media the comments of one Pete Knight whether that be a real name or a nom-de-plume, in which case the writer may lack the testicular fortitude to use his/her true name. The article attempted to berate the IWN journalist who exposed the fact that our SVG CEO of Tourism attended the 11-15th September 2022 Regional Tourism Conference in the Cayman Islands and failed to promote our product as would have been expected at such an important venue. The IWN post highlighted in its exposé that SVG delegate(s) made NO presentation in promoting our tourism product! The news item evoked much bewilderment and dismay among many concerned citizens here at home as well as in the diaspora.
Pete Knight intimated that it was known beforehand by the journalist that the SVG delegate had NOT planned to make a presentation at the conference; inferring that the exposé was a veiled attempt to ‘make a mountain out of a mould-hill’. (This is my interpretation of his diatribe.) However, the questions I would now ask of the authorities is, “Why was there NO presentation done?” And,if so what was the rationale for the CEO’s trip? One can only surmise that this was a ‘junket’ and therefore someone must be held accountable for this faux-pas! The monies expended ought to be volinutarity re-paid into the public treasury, coupled with a public apology from the Minister. That he was ‘out of State’ is an overused excuse often proffered by his boss when those left in-charge screw up.
I recall decades ago being disappointed by an article I read in a very worldwide Tourism magazine (I believe it was the Condé Nast Magazine), The entire article lamented about the “new” SVG tourism logo depicting a seagull in flight, purportedly to ‘brand’ our tourism product. Contrastingly, the magazine focused on the “Wow Factor” that leaves a unique and indelible memory a tourist may experience whilst on vacation. More importantly, it noted the financial and long term benefits of word-of-mouth promotion we gain from the tourist relating their stories when that tourist returns home. After reading the article I pondered on the question, “What is our ‘wow factor’ that impresses our tourists in SVG? Does the Tourism do a survey of the tourists’ experience and opinion of our country? If so, do we use the surveys to improve our product?
Given the criticism recently emanated from within that ministry I have my doubts whether they carry out any such meaningful survey. As observed in the Conde Nast magazine, our competitive Caribbean neighbours promoted their eco-tourism products, whilst we promoted a sketch of a bird logo! Back then, I wondered about the state of our industry and now, … over a decade later in 2022, we seem to be still asleep at the wheel whilst our neighbour islands have advanced by leaps and bounds. St.Lucia, Grenada, Dominica and other Caribbean destinations used the opportunity in Cayman to promote their interest and products. What did we do? The answer: “We Taking Junkets” .
Our Tourism Ministry is very important to the economy and livelihood of ALL our people. Its achievements and deficiencies MUST be held under close public scrutiny and critique, with the primary objective to enrich the lives of ALL our people!
So, Pete Knight, please remove your obvious ‘blinders’. Analyze and sensibly listen to the message, but DO NOT attempt to ‘diss’ the messenger!
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