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Boyea tells of his vision for tourism

Boyea tells of his vision for tourism

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He proclaimed himself one of St. Vincent’s last remaining optimists and revealed his passionate vision; which is to see St. Vincent and the Grenadines become the most unique, unforgettable experience in the Caribbean.

He is businessman, Ken Boyea, and he was addressing the annual planning meeting of the Ministry of Tourism, last Tuesday, July 4, at the Anglican Pastoral Centre at New Montrose.{{more}}

As he unlocked his chest of ideas, Boyea, who is a Director of Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007, was critical of the relatively small turn-out of tourism stake-holders for the important meeting by the time he took the podium. Even though the participants filed in late, he had already stated his disappointment and declared that with all things considered tourism was in a crisis.

Declaring the March 2007 Cricket World Cup as a tremendous opportunity for the Caribbean and by extension St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Boyea said that there are a number of things that we need to get right. Not least on his list is an extensive clean up of the city and a crucial changing of our attitude towards service. “Some of our hotels are disappointing,” he declared, adding that even though they are in the best locations they must remember service can make or break the experience for a visitor.

The successful businessman and former head of the Eastern Caribbean Flour Mills commented that he believed that there are places more attractive than the ones usually shown to tourists and challenged the stakeholders to seek such places out. He advised the tourism industry not to conform our perception of tourists to what existed in the ’60s and ’70s. “I think we are still treating tourists as over-65, retired … wanting a quiet place to lie down.”

As he lamented that the country’s traditional industries are dying slowly, Boyea reminded the audience that we are the “opening batsman” for the Cricket World Cup and so the visitors, and more so press’s impression of us will set the tone for the rest of the historic competition which is expected to attract an approximate television audience of 2.5 billion persons.

Boyea stressed the need for a ten-year plan for tourism which in his mind, will make it difficult for the next tourism minister to be able to change things according to his or her “whims and fancy”. Also high on his list of suggestions was the institution of a structured tourism education programme to be taught in our nation’s schools at all levels and a similar programme for the general public.

He also called for a marquee hotel with a large conference room in main land St. Vincent with the ability to house over a hundred guests.

He also hinted at possibilities for the marketing of uninhabited islands in SVG for a “Cast away experience.”

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