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What will be the SVG brand?

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With the coming on stream of the Argyle International Airport, our focus is now heavily on developing the tourism industry. But what kind of tourism do we want? What will be the SVG brand? We have a golden opportunity to create it and must set about to do so, in deference to our environment and a sustainable way of life.

St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) does not have a mature tourism product like Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and Jamaica – some of the more established tourist destinations in the Caribbean, and we must use our late entrance to the market to our advantage by learning from the mistakes of others.

Our tourism development must be a balanced interaction between the use of our natural and cultural resources and the improvement in the quality of life of our people and the economic development of the country. Our tourism product must not just be a response to demand, but an imperative condition to successfully compete now and in the future. The tourism product we create must help to meet the current demands of our society, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.

The preservation of our biodiversity, ecosystems, and natural beauty is critical. In addition to their tourism value, it goes without saying that their protection is key to our quality of life, as they provide us with many of the things that sustain life, such as clean air and water, fertile soil, food and recreational opportunities.

The prospect of renewable energy sources (geothermal, hydro and solar) being used to power our grid is exciting and a monumental step in the right direction. If we are able to live in an eco and people friendly way, with minimum criminal activity, and we couple that with the country’s natural beauty, then we are well on our way to creating a competitive brand for SVG. The brand will first be about a way of life that we enjoy and benefit from, which would draw tourists to our shores, so they too could experience it.

We must encourage boutique industries that create exquisite products with global appeal – cocoa for example. Look at the priceless international promotion that came our way this week with the announcement that Vincentian chocolate will be used to make the Easter egg for Queen Elizabeth II. We must put our arrowroot back on the map. Then there is the sea salt harvested in the Grenadines. We must encourage the observation of exotic animal species, rather than their slaughter. We must teach our children to love and preserve the environment and we, too, must lead by example.

The chair and board of directors of Interactive Media Limited take this opportunity to wish the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines a blessed Easter.

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