by Linda Straker
- Over 2,000 workers are directly affected by temporary closures
- Covid-19 has levelled the tourism playing field
- Grenada has opportunity to command more global tourism market share
- Tourism opportunity key is citizens becoming vaccinated and reaching herd immunity
Barry Collymore, chairman of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) believes that Covid-19 has provided a unique opportunity for tourism in Grenada and the rest of the Caribbean. The key to capitalising on that opportunity is citizens becoming vaccinated and reaching herd immunity in the quickest possible time.
“We have a solution; vaccine is the solution,” he said. Collymore admits that measures such as lockdowns and restricting the movement of citizens taken by Governments around in the world in 2020 had to be done because there was no other solution.
“We now have a tremendous opportunity in that every single tourism destination has been impacted and what that has done is that it has levelled the playing field. Whereas, before you had many countries that were far ahead of Grenada, far ahead of the Caribbean, we now have the opportunity to bounce back and command more,” Collymore said during a news conference on Wednesday, 7 April 2021.
Collymore, who was appointed in November 2020 as chairman of the board of the Grenada Tourism Authority, said that the opportunity is not just to increase tourism numbers for Grenada and the Caribbean, but to compete for more share space on the global market.
“We have an opportunity to command more of the global tourism market share and the reason why we have that opportunity is because we have done so well in the management or relatively well in the management of Covid,” he said.
Pointing out that travel destinations in Europe and South-East Asia that are huge tourism market are not yet at the point of stabilising their tourism industry, Collymore said that visitors from the USA and UK can increase to the Caribbean region because of the current situation in other markets.
“We have the opportunity to reopen. We have the opportunity to capture more of that British share; we have the opportunity to capture more of the US market share,” he said as he pleaded for Grenadians and other Caribbean citizens to take the Covid-19 vaccine that is available.
“Within the next 4 to 6 weeks depending on our we handle our vaccination campaign, at the moment it’s pretty low…If we can get those numbers up, we can have a different type of tourism season, where you see much more persons coming to Grenada and rest of the Caribbean,” he said.
In most destinations in Caricom, less than 25% of their population is vaccinated. Collymore said that once more people become vaccinated, the opportunity exists for a good winter season for the 2021/2022 period.
“We have the opportunity to have a real good summer. We have the opportunity to have a really early winter season, starting as early as November. November could be a very special month for us. We are at a point now, where the decision we make over the next 6 to 8 weeks will determine whether or not our hotels open and other businesses,” he said.
With Covid-19 affecting travel and tourism negatively, a few properties in Grenada have shut their doors, sending workers home. In Grenada, over 2,000 workers are directly affected by the temporary closures.
Grenada Government has since announced that all frontline workers at hotels and quarantine facilities will have to be mandatorily vaccinated.
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