The visit to Saudi Arabia was at the invitation of the Saudi government to attend the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) 2023 World Tourism Day, where the central theme was, “Tourism and Green Investments.” UNWTO has identified investments as one of the key priorities for the recovery of the tourism industry and its growth and development and made a clarion call to both private and public sectors to collaborate to ensure the implementation of a successful strategy.
Another of the highlights was the unveiling of the Riyadh School of Tourism and Hospitality, which is co-founded by the Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia and Qiddiya in collaboration with the UNWTO.
Part of the discussions with His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, surrounded the availability of scholarships for Grenadians to attend this institution.
The delegation then visited the UK to meet with tour operators and media houses and were joined by chairman of the Grenada Tourism Authority, Mr. Randall Dolland. Interviews were conducted with both trade and consumer journalists, including award-winning travel writer and photographer Nigel Tisdall who is a Caribbean specialist and freelance journalist for The Telegraph, Mail on Sunday and Financial Times and Katherine Masters, Features Editor at TTG (Travel Trade Gazette), the top monthly trade title for the travel industry sector which covers news and educational features for travel agents, tour operators, tourist boards and cruise lines.
Meetings were held with the British Airways in-house tour operator British Airways Holidays and other operators such as Caribtours who reported solid bookings for the winter season and that awareness and demand for Grenada has continued to grow. British Airways also continues to be a strong partner with their three times weekly service.
One of the highlights of Minister Andrews’ visit was a GTA-hosted stakeholder dinner, which was also attended by newly appointed High Commissioner to the UK, Her Excellency Racher Croney. During the dinner, the Minister shared some of the recent initiatives undertaken with the aim of elevating Grenada’s tourism sector. These initiatives include the recent launch of 31 new sculptures for the expansion of the Underwater Sculpture Park, and the continuation of the Pure Grenada Excellence Champion program’s training initiatives.
Furthermore, he emphasized the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Grenada’s Independence on February 7th, 2024 and the year-round festivals and activities taking place throughout Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique. He also thanked Virgin Atlantic Vice President of Networks, Alliances & Airline Partnerships and Ms Rikke Christensen, who was in attendance for their recent expansion to a third frequency and the confidence that the airline has placed in the destination.
Minister Lennox Andrews stated, “The Government of Grenada is steadfast in its commitment to fostering deeper collaboration with our esteemed trade partners and the media. We recognize that these partnerships are pivotal to sustaining the positive momentum experienced by Grenada’s tourism industry. We remain unwavering in our commitment to sustainable tourism development and these exciting initiatives, which I have shared, underscore our commitment to not only meet but exceed the expectations of our visitors while preserving the natural beauty and culture of our beloved nation.”