During her first official visit to Carriacou, new Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister, Hon. Yolande Bain-Horsford, along with members of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA), visited key tourism sites on the sister isle.
Minister Bain-Horsford, who spoke highly in her budget presentation about product development told the GIS on Thursday that a great amount of emphasis will be placed on that area this year. She said the process of planning for product development would be incomplete if Carriacou and Petite Martinique were left out of the equation.
The meeting with the Minister and Permanent Secretary for Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs was the first item on her itinerary.
“For Carriacou, we will be looking at enhancing the product. Carriacou is very famous for its boat building, oyster bed and mangroves… and so we want to highlight that,” Minister said. “Petite Martinique complements Carriacou and therefore, we cannot leave it out either.”
Although there are other historical landmarks identified for development on the sister isle, the Minister said special plans are in place for its Botanical Gardens. “People would always want to go to the Botanical Gardens, so we will be meeting with the forestry officials and the tourism officials there to discuss how we can improve on that product.”
Minister Bain-Horsford said she expects the general awareness of Carriacou’s tourism product to increase when the new airport comes on stream. “That would make a significant dent in the development of Carriacou, in terms of increased airlift and number of persons visiting the island,” she said.
Speaking broadly on the concept of product development, the Tourism Minister said Grenada must find a way to make the country’s product stand out from the rest. “When we bring tourists to our shores there must be things for them to see. There must be a reason for them to come back,” she said.
According to Hon. Bain-Horsford, one of the strategies would be to decentralise the tourism focus by moving the attention into the “outer villages and communities; looking at the natural resources that exist there and developing the ecosystem concept in small communities.”
The Minister pointed out that larger projects would take time to materialise, however, she said in the meanwhile the Ministry, in collaboration with the GTA, will start gathering information in order to get some small projects on stream this year.
“We will be looking at community projects that need enhancing and fine tuning… we don’t want to kill the ambiance. We want to keep it pure, but it has to be done right.”