Hon. Glynis Roberts is the Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation for Grenada. BTN finds out her thoughts and strategies for her islands in 2010.
BTN: What kind of year do you envisage 2010 for your island?
GR: We anticipate that 2010 would be better than last year. 2009 saw a decline in the number of stay over visitor arrivals, which of course occurred in many of our islands. However with the easing of the recession in our main source markets, we expect that consumers would again find it beneficial to enjoy a Caribbean holiday and our numbers would increase, however marginally.
BTN: How important is the tourism sector to the overall economy of your island?
GR: The tourism sector is currently the largest foreign exchange earner for the island and employs/provides a livelihood for a considerable number of Grenadians. This is important for us in going forward and trying to increase our market share, both by improving our product offering and exploring non-traditional markets.
BTN: What is your approach to fostering public-private partnerships? And how has the role of public-private partnerships changed during the global downturn?
GR: Public-private partnerships have always been advocated and promoted by my Government, even before coming to office. We see these partnerships as critical to the development of our country, not only in the tourism sector, but in all areas of society. We have certainly benefited from such partnerships in the sector and have increased and improved the level of dialogue with stakeholders in the sector during this period.
Certain tax and other relief measures were offered to the industry as a means of easing the negative effects of the recession and Government signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the Hotel and Tourism Association in that regard. The Government continues to look for ways to expand these partnerships, so that together we can build the industry and improve the conditions of our people.
BTN: How does your role as Tourism Minister shape your island’s tourism economy?
GR: I see my role at this time as being one of bringing people together and bridging gaps, so that we can collectively explore ways of improving this important industry and making tourism work for us.
There has to be a collective approach and Government’s role has to be clear. We have worked on completing a new tourism policy development framework to guide the development of the sector and are also attempting to place greater emphasis on the areas of diving and yachting, which we consider as growth areas of the industry.