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Tourism stakeholders urged to partner to advance industry

Tourism stakeholders urged to partner to advance industry

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The tourism industry can achieve more, Ministry of Tourism Cecil McKie said, as he called on stakeholders to work together for the advancement of the sector.{{more}}

“… we must work together to implement the necessary standards that will go right across the sector. That will see us keeping on the cutting edge of the industry,” he said last month at a cocktail, where contributors to the growth of the tourism product were rewarded.

The ministry, the Hotel and Tourism Association, and the Tourism Authority staged the event.

McKie said the industry has made strides, but stakeholders must continue to press on for the country to remain relevant.

“We must work together to ensure that the tourism product continues to develop … We must work together to ensure that we protect this fragile industry from risk, from persons who may wish to engage themselves in activities that can endanger the industry.

“We must work together to ensure that every single facet of the tourism industry continues to grow, to expand and to maintain the pace of being the number one productive sector in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” McKie added.

He outlined some of the achievements of the tourism industry over the past months, including a number of international media naming this country as a destination of choice for 2012.

The minister called for “all hands on deck”, as the year ends, saying stakeholders can reflect with pride at the achievements.

“We must together recognize the opportunities that are presented to us from time to time and be able and willing to respond to these opportunities as they present themselves.

“We must be able to recognize where there are possibilities, and combine our energies and pursue these possibilities … This is where the theme for this year’s tourism week comes into play: tourism is everybody’s business, live it, love it, embrace it.”

Meanwhile, Glen Beache, chief executive officer of the SVGTA, indicated that his organization was grateful for the input by stakeholders regarding the promotion of the local tourism product.

“We’ve had a lot of assistance from many of the stakeholders, and I want to thank those stakeholders who have worked with us continuously to have the name of St Vincent and the Grenadines out there, and promote as well as we possibly can.

“Without the stakeholders we won’t be able to do that as well as we do presently,” Beache said.

Beache, who is responsible for the marketing of tourism overseas, standards, statistics, research and soft product development, pointed out that the authority has been doing a lot with little.

“We might not be the wealthiest of tourism authorities or boards within the Caribbean, but I can assure the stakeholders and everybody present here this evening that we are the most creative at what we do.

“We were the first Caribbean destination to have a tourism app,” he said.

He added that when the SVGTA thought it was behind other Caribbean destinations in terms of hotel standards and meeting minimum standards, “… we are actually pretty far ahead of the competition in terms of this.

“We have to put in the time and the effort to make sure that we do this properly. The tourism authority cannot do it without the stakeholders.”

The event saw a number of key players being recognized and rewarded for their contributions to the tourism industry over the years. (JJ)

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