by Linda Straker
- Grenada Tourism Authority established in 2014 as a statutory body under Ministry of Tourism
- Authority must take more responsibility for growth of tourism numbers and revenue
“The Authority has to take more responsibility for its own existence,” was the response from Barry Collymore, Chairman of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA), when asked to share his vision for the Authority which was established in 2014 as a statutory body under the Ministry of Tourism.
“The only reason the GTA exists is to market Grenada and to develop the product. The GTA needs to be more strategic in setting realistic growth targets for tourism and meeting those targets. We can no longer operate in an environment where it is assumed that Government funds are available regardless of how the product performs,” he said.
Elaborating further about the GTA, he said that the Authority must take more responsibility for the growth of the tourism numbers and tourism revenue. Since it became a statutory body, it had its best year in 2019 when more than 500,000 visitors entered the country.
“When compared with our competitors, we have not been nearly as successful in this regard. The GTA has to become a marketing juggernaut which flies the Grenada flag 24/7. The marketing programmes have to be results-oriented with targets and measurable returns. It makes no sense doing the same things year after year with little or no yield,” he said.
Collymore also believes that the GTA must be an advocate for the hospitality sector. “The GTA must advocate for the policies which will make tourism here more successful. Some of these issues include service quality management; responsible and sustainable tourism; and strong community linkages to tourism entrepreneurship.” Collymore is a Director and Partner of a hotel and tourism development company in Grenada, The West Indies Management Company.
“One of our key areas of advocacy will be for the lowering of electricity rates and green energy for the hospitality sector. Compared with other destinations, the cost of energy in Grenada has a disproportionately high impact on room rates. This makes Grenada less competitive and more price inelastic,” he said, sharing the view that the island cannot be promoting itself as “Pure Grenada” and continue to generate our energy through inefficient, polluting diesel engines.
Speaking about the recent agreement in which the Government of Grenada repurchased the majority shares in Grenlec from a private sector company, Collymore said that the move provides the sector with an opportunity to use much more green energy.
“The renewable sector has the potential to attract more “green tourists” who are increasingly more concerned about the carbon footprint being left by tourism. This should also enable the Government to access more green climate funding, which can lead to investment in major capital projects which impact tourism.” He pointed out that the GTA must be able to generate a portion of its own income through grants and other reward programmes.