GTA Performance Appraisal Led to Terminations

GTA CEO Rudi Grant speaking to the media

Rudi Grant, Chief Executive Officer of the Grenada Tourism Authority, has explained that the two persons whose services were terminated were on probation and that the decision was made following a performance appraisal of all staff.

“After our evaluation we felt that in building the type of organization we want to build, we felt it was necessary to not have a relationship with the former director of market and the senior executive,” Grant told the media on Tuesday.

As of 1 May, Sheldon Keens–Douglas who served as Director of Marketing, and Marcus Christopher who was Senior Executive, parted company with the GTA which began operations on 1 January 2014. Though he was tight-lipped about the terms and conditions of the hiring contract, Grant said that the two were on probation and were evaluated like all the staff members that began employment as of 1 January.

The marketing functions, Grant said, have been delegated to Mrs Christine Noel–Horsford who is qualified and experienced in the area of tourism management, sales and marketing. Mrs Noel–Horsford spent more than 15 years creating new avenues for the development of Grenada’s tourism industry. She is supported by 8 competent members in the marketing department.

Grant also made it clear that the adoption of Grenada’s rebranding tagline of “Pure Grenada” for its tourism product was one the things the GTA inherited and did not play any role in the fallout. “We inherited the Pure Grenada brand; it was a brand that was set up by a committee,” he said.

On 14 February 2014, the Ministry of Tourism at a cocktail reception held at the Ministerial complex, launched the rebranding tagline, slogan and logo. During the function, it was disclosed by Tourism Minister Alexandria Otway–Noel that the new brand tag-line “Pure Grenada” will form the underpinning for the island’s new marketing focus, positioning the island as “off–the–beaten path,” and a haven for the discerning travel explorer.

However, since the launch a wide cross of Grenadians including some tourism stakeholders have expressed concerns about the rebranding which has and continues to be the subject of social media discussion. Grenada is known as the “Isle of Spice in the Caribbean and some felt that Pure Grenada brand was laying the foundation to rid the island of the “Spice brand” without the wide participation and involvement of the people.

Former Tourism Minister Dr George Vincent, feels that people on ground are reacting negatively to the rebranding because they did not play significant role in its development. “These people on the ground like the vendors and taxi driver, for years were told that Grenada is the Spice Island — they are the people who meet the visitors first in most cases, and yet they cannot even explain the new brand to a visitor,” he argues.

While addressing the recent opening of Sandals LaSource hotel, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell said that his Government’s vision for economic development, especially in our tourism sector, cannot be myopic.

“It is our intention that our rebranding to “Pure Grenada” will universally capture all the elements of our tourism product. We understand clearly that the brand’s name by itself cannot alter or enhance the product. It is the collective effort and will of all involved, as well as the combination of initiatives and the communal spirit that will bring about change in our tourism industry; and change in the sector is a change in our economy,” he said.

by Linda Straker

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