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Vincentians asked to welcome visitors

Vincentians asked to welcome visitors


Vincentians have been called upon to do their part to further develop this country’s tourism industry.{{more}}

Making this plea were Parliamentary Representative for Central Leeward Sir Louis Straker and Minister of Tourism Glen Beache at the handing over of the Wallilabou Heritage Park on Tuesday October 20, 2009.

Delivering his speech, Straker charged the audience to do their part in building the industry by being friendly and polite to tourists. “We have to be able to welcome them and make them feel at home and not try to rip them off,” he stressed, adding that persons take advantage of tourists by selling them overpriced goods. “We do not do ourselves any good by doing that, we would only kill the goose that lays the golden egg,” he continued.

Beache added that persons should be polite to tourists but more so to each other. He also spoke of the Argyle International Airport, mentioning that it will generate more tourism activity. Straker, echoing his comments said, “It is action by this government that would make tourism a reality and make tourism take off like a jet!”

The airport is scheduled for completion in 2012.

Beache said that tourism is the bread and butter of the economy, and explained that other countries’ tourism budgets exceed that of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which stands at EC$14 million compared to the US$50 budget of Barbados and the budgets of other countries such as St. Lucia and Bahamas whose budgets exceed US$55 million. He however pledged his devotion to the industry he says drives the economy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The heritage aspect of the new Park was also noted. Straker said that Wallilabou had been known for cocoa, arrowroot, and grapefruit production. Relating experiences from his childhood in the village, Straker called upon the community to remember the importance of Wallilabou. “We must never forget that many of us, our parents worked here to provide whatever little we had,” he said, mentioning a few stalwarts of the community who worked on the plantations at Wallilabou.

He further asked community members to protect the site and keep it in the best possible condition to attract more persons to the site.

The ceremony included speeches by Andrew Wilson, Director of the National Parks Rivers and Beaches Authority and Reynold Francis President of the Barrouallie Tourism and Heritage Organisation.

The Wallilabou Heritage Park is one of the fourteen sites to be developed around St. Vincent. The development of the sites is a part of the Ministry of Tourism’s Tourism Development Project funded by the European Union. (OS)