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Establishment of minimum standards a positive step

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Last Friday, an unusual notice was published in SEARCHLIGHT.

The notice, a list of approved accommodations in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) as at January 31, 2017, was published by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA).

The notice was unusual, because we cannot recall any time in the past when such a list was published and also because surprisingly, some well established properties in this country have not received the stamp of approval by the SVGTA.

The publication of the list sends a signal to hoteliers that the SVGTA means business and that SVG is open for business. We welcome this move because as a society, we cannot continue business as usual, and expect things to improve. The publication of the list comes at a most opportune time, as we embark on a new phase in our development as a nation.

The natural beauty and diversity of the tourism product in SVG competes well with any world class destination, but admittedly, we fall short in the areas of service delivery, entertainment, access, accommodation and infrastructure.

The SVGTA is not only setting quality standards for accommodation, but they have also established codes of practice for tour guides, tour operators, short-term vehicle rentals and taxi services, which once enforcement continues, should help the quality of our service delivery to improve.

With the opening of the Argyle International Airport, we should see improvement in air access to our country, and with the SVGTA assisting hoteliers to lift the standard of their accommodation, bit by bit, the pieces should fall into place.

This initiative augurs well for our continued growth collectively as a tourism destination and also should help to improve standards of delivery of our individual service providers.

We commend the SVGTA and urge them to press ahead with ongoing inspections, training consultations and enforcement.

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