‘This budget provides for EC$12.2 million for airlift, an increase of EC$4.2 million over previous years. Of this sum, EC$5 million is expected in private sector contribution,” was among announcements from Finance Minister Dr Keith Mitchell when he presented the 2013 budget on Tuesday.
The Tourism Sector is an important sector to the economic development of the country, but in recent years it has experienced continuous decline in activity, which has mainly being blamed on the global economic downturn. Among the major impact is the pull out of two airlines and reduction in flight from other carriers.
However, Dr Mitchell said that since taking up office on 20 February 2013 after winning the General Elections, his Government has reviewed all the existing airlift agreements and is actively engaging the major airlines to finalise more cost effective arrangement.
“A central issue in these discussions is finding ways to use more of these airlift subsides for direct marketing of Grenada. In the meantime, we are pleased to note that American Airlines will commence a five time weekly service in July and August of this year,” he said.
He gave the assurance that Government is also actively looking for direct airlift arrangement to continental Europe. The Finance Minister said that unshackling of Grenada’s tourism demands institutional transformation and his Government will be aiming to convert the Grenada Board of Tourism to the Grenada Tourism Authority.
“The sum of EC$3.5 million has been allocated to facilitate the establishment of the Tourism Authority. We anticipate the creation of the Authority will lead to a modern and more effective approach to the management of the Grenada’s tourism business,” he said.
He further disclosed that since coming into office many investors have approached with various initiatives, and one of the many that will be realized is the establishment of a 70 room five star property on the famous Grand Anse beach.
He did not disclose the investor behind the project. By December, two international branded name properties are expected to be managing properties in Grenada. Sandals and Radisson are set to commence operations for the 2013 winter season.
By Linda Straker