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Facing a “serious” economic squeeze following the pandemic-driven travel shutdown, Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) officials said Friday the agency is expanding its distribution network and forging new partnerships with local tourism suppliers and producers.

The announcement came during a press briefing at which GTA officials introduced a new sales and marketing team led by Petra Roach, named GTA’s CEO earlier this year. As with many Caribbean nations, Grenada’s three-island archipelago is seeking to rebuild tourism activity after reopening last year following the COVID-19 outbreak.

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“We are and were in a crisis situation,” said Barry Collymore, GTA’s chairman. “We are still in a serious situation. But I think we now have a team assembled that can take us forward.”

Long marketed as the “spice island,” Collymore said Grenada farmers supply the island’s luxury and boutique resorts with daily produce. The country’s agricultural segment relies heavily on tourism, he said.

“When you come here you are supporting a lot more than hotels,” he said. “You’re supporting the agriculture industry, you’re supporting the entertainment and cultural industries and you are also supporting local tour operators.”

“We must get tourism going again,” said Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen, Grenada’s tourism minister. “This industry is critical to our economy and job creation for so many people in our tri-islands.”


Dr. Clarice Modeste Curwen, Grenada tourism minister
“We must get tourism going again.” – Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen, Grenada’s tourism minister. (Courtesy of Grenada Tourism Authority)

Roach said GTA has worked closely this year with various travel partners to restore the visitor growth the country experienced in recent years prior to the pandemic.

“We’ve invested a lot of time working with our airline partners, and I’m happy to say that from mid-July, we’ll have the full complement of our U.K. seats back on stream,” she said. “And by December 1 we will have our full complement of U.S. seats,” Roach said. “Canada and Germany will come back on in November.”

Changing Tactics

She said GTA is also altering its approach with tour operators. “Traditionally distribution channels have been around the mainstream tour operators,” said Roach. “We’ve done a deep dive and are expanding our distribution network and footprint to include smaller, more boutique operators.”

She explained that beyond Grenada’s recognized attractions of sun and sand, GTA will seek to further establish “the added value component to a Grenada holiday,” including “our natural assets, because ultimately they are our competitive advantage.”

Roach said Grenada is operating on a smaller scale with fewer resources compared with larger Caribbean destinations.

“We have 95 hotels, 2,400 rooms and 112,000 people in our population,” she said. “We haven’t got the opportunity to make mistakes Those linkages the chairman was talking about, we have to make sure they work for us.”

Fortunately, said Roach, Grenada is well-positioned to satisfy pandemic-driven wanderlust among leisure vacationers. “People have been fed up with staying at home,” she said. “There’s this thing people are calling now called ‘revenge travel.’ People want to get out and breathe and see something new. And we have a plethora of offerings – those wide-open spaces – for that type of traveler.”

GTA is also seeking to re-establish what had been a growing Grenada cruise segment. Modeste-Curwen said the island will resume hosting cruise ships on July 23 when luxury vessel Seabourn Odyssey visits Grenada as part of a seven-day Seabourn Cruise Line voyage. departing roundtrip from Barbados.

Officials at Grenada’s Ministry of Health are requiring all passengers and crew on the voyages will be vaccinated for COVID-19, she said, and “Seabourn has assured us of that,” Modeste-Curwen said.

She said finalized protocols for cruise ship passengers visiting Grenada remain in development with “one or two protocols” still to be established.





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