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Friday sceptical about Tourism projections

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He has great hope for the future of the Tourism sector in St.Vincent and the Grenadines, but Dr. Godwin Friday, Opposition Member of Parliament, also has great concern about the government’s projection for the future.{{more}}

Making his contribution to the budget debate in Parliament on Wednesday, Dr. Friday expressed his concern about the Ministry of Tourism’s plans and estimates of the 2008-2009 figures.

Friday took issue with statements by Minister of Tourism Glen Beache earlier in the debate, which indicated that with the completion of the Argyle International Airport, international airlines, such as Virgin and British Airways, will land here at least once a week.

Friday was also skeptical about projections made by Beache that within five years, visitor arrivals to St. Vincent and the Grenadines will equal that of Barbados. These statements Friday said are “wild hopes” which should be based on real and substantial negotiations. “There is no basis on which he can say that that can happen in the next five years,” Friday said.

Friday, the representative for the Northern Grenadines, also urged the Ministry of Tourism to be careful, as these “wildly optimistic projections” can affect the way in which stakeholders invest in the industry.

“If persons who are willing to invest in the sector take these comments seriously, it can affect the way they approach investment in the industry,” he said.

Friday also mentioned that more emphasis should be placed on improving the yatching sector in Bequia. He also called for the development of sites all over St. Vincent and the Grenadines and said that visitors should have the opportunity to use their foreign currency and travelers cheques when in the country. These improvements, he says, are important, as they will add greatly to the quality of the Tourism sector in this country. (OS)