Grenada continues to underperform in tourism industry
Despite Grenada´s efforts to push forward tourism by implementing its National Tourism Strategic Plan 2012-2017 total arrivals to the islands showed negative growth in 2012 and 2013. When compared to the rest of the Caribbean countries, Grenada’s performance was nearly ten percent points under the region’s average in 2012, according to official sources. Since Grenada is mainly reliant on UK and American tourists, repercussions of the European economic setback and US financial struggles have a direct impact on the island´s tourism. Grenada also continues to suffer from the profound public debt caused by the reconstruction efforts after hurricanes in 2004 and 2005.
Arrivals decreased by 4% in 2012 and 1% in 2013. In fact, a downward trend over the review period shows a negative CAGR of -4% as the only years that showed positive growth over the same period were 2008 and 2011.
National Tourism Strategy
Grenada´s National Tourism Strategic Plan 2012-2017 considers 16 major tourism categories, including hotels, restaurants, attractions, yachting, diving, cruises, tour operators, ground handlers, community/culture, heritage, sports, health and medical, taxi drivers, vendors, water taxi operators and water sports. It also addresses the specific tourism needs for Carriacou and Petite Martinique. Expectations over the plan period include an additional 500 rooms and training people to deliver better experiences. Actually Grenada is taking innovative approaches such as Community Tourism, which is defined by the government as improving the interaction between guests and locals, in an attempt to foster local development.
In terms of leading structure, Grenada is upgrading its Board of Tourism to a Tourism Authority. This measure was announced in September 2013 and expected to take form during 2014. This transition is expected to lead to better marketing opportunities and better potential to partner with airlines and cruise ships, amongst other benefits. In fact, this upgrade is part of the National Tourism Strategic Plan. In the meantime, the Grenada Board of Tourism announced that it had a new head of marketing in an effort to execute more innovative marketing strategies, particularly e-marketing and better tactical promotions.
Wedding and yachting services a viable way out for tourism
Grenada is marketing the island as a dream and romantic destination for couples. A wedding and honey moon industry trend is clear. The government facilitates marriage license procedures and many tourism actors are involved in wedding packages, from hotels, spas, car rentals and tour operators. A variety of options are available that range from a simple wedding on the beach for two, to hiring a wedding planner to make the proper arrangements for a perfect ceremony.
Although the yachting sector currently makes a small contribution to the tourism industry as a whole, it has potential to increase in size. The development of Camper & Nicholson´s Port Louis and additional marine support services has pushed forward the yachting traffic in Grenada. This subsector has been growing with few government incentives, and has been increasing by actions such as regattas and fishing tournaments.
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