Too often, Vincentians just follow politicians blindly and take what they say as gospel truth. As a people and country, we don’t hold politicians accountable for their utterances, actions and policies pursued.
Recently, I listened to the Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves, in what appears to be an extemporaneous speech, on the potential hotel occupancy at the Sandals Resort and the Mariott to be constructed in 2025.
Anyone with intellectual acuity would seriously question what was said.
In his speech, he said Sandals is expecting 1,200 guest per week. That’s 62,000 guests for the year.
“When the Marriott comes on stream in 2025, they are projecting in the first year, 40,000. That is a 100,000 people in those two hotels. That is the population of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
In examining what the minister said, one can make a comparative analysis with Grenada, our next-door neighbour. According to the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank database, Grenada had a total of 133,131 stayover visitors in 2022.
Grenada has over 80 hotels, including Sandals Grenada, Radisson Grenada, Silversands, Royalton Grenada3, Spice Island Resort, Coyaba Beach Resort etc. Silversands is owned by Naguib Sawiris, who hails from the richest family in Egypt. Raddison and Royalton are major international hotel chains.
Undoubtedly, and by any stretch of imagination, Grenada is a far more popular tourist destination than SVG, arguably because of the 1979 revolution and the subsequent American invasion.
The St. Georges Medical School is another magnet drawing tourists to Grenada. With a student body of over 5,500, many of these students’ relatives and friends visit Grenada also.
Given the fact that Grenada has so many resorts and only attract 133,131 stayover visitors, it seems implausible that SVG with two resorts would attract over 100,000 visitors annually.
Therefore, it is incomprehensible to digest those numbers postulated by Camillo Gonsalves, which are simply unrealistic to fathom.
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