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SVGTA's E-Newsletter May 2011 Issue #5
Subject: SVGTA's E-Newsletter May 2011 Issue #5
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ST. VINCENT & THE GRENADINES TOURISM AUTHORITY
E-NEWSLETTER MAY 2011

ISSUE #5



UK/EUROPE ROAD TRIP

CEOThe Chief Executive Officer of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority, Mr. Glen Beache, recently returned from a European Road Show, aimed at promoting the destination and strengthening its position in this key market. The CEO visited the SVGTA’s Public Relations and Advertising Agency’s representative offices in London, Paris and Milan where meetings were held with senior personnel from tour operators and airlines.

The trade partners in these countries stated that they were delighted to hear updates on the international airport, new hotel developments throughout St.Vincent and the Grenadines as well as the new iphone application. There was also great positive feedback on the new destination logo. The CEO also hosted an event in London attended by the High Commissioner H.E. Mr Cenio E.Lewis and key trade partners in the UK; the event was a great success with guests enjoying Vincy hospitality of cocktails and local food.

 

DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT & CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION

DisasterThe Inception meeting for the project, Regional Monitoring and Evaluation System (RMES) for Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) for the Caribbean Tourism Sector was held on April 26 and April 27, 2011 at the Courtyard by Marriot, in Bridgetown, Barbados.

The two-day workshop which was attended by Chief Operating Officer of the Authority Ms. Faylene Findlay-Scrubb, was the kick start activity for the project funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), aimed at the development of regional monitoring, evaluating and reporting information system for disaster risk management and climate change adaptation in the tourism sector, as a Regional Public Good.

The specific objectives of the project are:
1.    To incorporate Climate Change Adaptation in the DRM Strategy and Action Plan
2.    To develop tools and establish protocols and mechanisms for updating and reporting on  the regional and national monitoring and evaluation (M&E) databases.
3.    To develop the Regional Monitoring and Evaluation Framework and System for
       monitoring, evaluating and reporting DRM and CCA in the tourism sector.
4.    To  develop a Regional M&E database
5.    To mainstream DRM and CCA into the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)
       Management Information System for Tourism (MIST) database and the national
       database systems.

The meeting which brought together representatives from National Disaster Management and Tourism Offices in eleven (11) Caribbean countries was held with the following expected outcomes:

1. To develop the work plan and implementation approach for the RMES DRM CCA in Tourism Project: A draft Work Implementation Plan (WIP) was prepared and circulated.  The draft work plan entailed both text and Gantt chart illustrating timelines, dependent and linked activities, resources, milestones and the critical paths among others.
2. To confirm the mechanism for the selection of up to 10 diagnostic country cases. The IDB criteria was shared and discussed among participants.
3. To ascertain the status of Tourism/DRM/CCA interface at the national level inclusive of national needs, challenges and constraints.  
4. To also ascertain the expectations from the project RMES DRM CCA in the Caribbean Tourism Sector.  
5. To detail the implementation interfacing mechanisms between Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CEDEMA) and Participating States.
  a. Participants were provided with sample summary sheets and a log sheet for recording in kind contribution
  b.    A monthly reporting schedule was established.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines was also represented by Ms. Raquel Hamlet of the Ministry of Tourism and Mr. Hayden Billingy of the National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority.


ACI  SEMINAR

This country was represented at a recently concluded three-day seminar on Airport Route Development and Marketing. The course which took place at the Headquarters of the Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago brought together twenty-two (22) Aviation and Tourism Officials from the Caribbean and Latin America. 
ACI
Ms. Faylene Findlay-Scrubb Chief Operating officer of the SVG Tourism Authority and Ms. Arlette Miller Administrative Officer at the International Airport Development Company IADC represented the country at the Seminar organized by the Airports Council International.

Courses included Route Development, Airport Charges and Incentive Schemes, Airline/Airport Cooperation, Preparing for Meetings with Airlines, Working with Stakeholders and Business Relationships. Course Facilitator Mr. Jim Meyer of Leigh|Fisher Management Consultants also presented various case studies and guided the participants in the best strategies and practices to engage and keep airlines flying to a destination.

The SVGTA has been working collaboratively with the IADC to market and attract airlines to the Argyle International Airport scheduled to be opened in 2013.

 

TOURISM STANDARDS TRAINING SESSIONS

With the increased importance of the tourism sector to the economy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the St. Vincent & the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA) has collaborated with the St. Vincent & the Grenadines Bureau of Standards (SVGBS) to develop National Standards geared at improving, standardizing and regulating the quality of service offered within the tourism industry. To facilitate this initiative several national standards were developed. These standards are:

I.            Standards for Tourist Accommodation

II.            Code of Practice for Tour Operators

III.            Code of Practice for Tour Guides

IV.            Code of Practice for Short Term Vehicle Rentals

Scheduled to be fully implemented by 2012, the Tourism Authority is currently coordinating training sessions, aimed at adequately preparing stakeholders within the tourism industry to attain and surpass regional and international tourism standards. Recently, the Authority has conducted four (4) training sessions with tour guides and three (3) training sessions with housekeepers on St. Vincent and Bequia. The sessions which are conducted over a 5-day period are facilitated by persons with extensive knowledge and experience within the tourism industry.

On day one of training, tour guides completed training in Tourism Education, conducted by the Director of Tourism, Ms. Vida Bernard. This particular module educated participants on the importance and impacts of the tourism industry. The module Know Your Country facilitated by Mr. Morrison Baisden, provided historical and geographical insights of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Participants also completed Customer Service Training with Ms. Francelia Marksman of the SVG Hotel and Tourism Association; this highly interactive one day session critically examines the necessity of providing consistently high quality customer service, to ensure improved visitor satisfaction.

standards_trainingIn the two-day workshop on Practical Tour Guiding, tour guides were engaged in both theoretical and practical training in becoming an effective tour guide. On day one of the training, facilitator Ms. Marina Lampkin focused on the theoretical component, demonstrating the appropriate rules and techniques for effective tour guiding. The importance of making tour guiding both educational and entertaining was also stressed. On day two tour guides were then given the opportunity to demonstrate their newly acquired skills during a bus tour around the capital Kingstown.

During the final day of training tour guides attended and received Basic First Aid training which was facilitated by the SVG Red Cross. A total of fifty-four (54) tour guides have been trained within the last month.  Meanwhile, the upcoming training module to be offered to tour guides is Marine Safety and Life Saving techniques, which will be facilitated by the SVG Coast Guard. This particular training is not mandatory for all tour guides but is especially offered to those tour guides who undertake marine tours.

Simultaneously, the Authority has begun training fifty-nine (59) housekeepers as part of the implementation of the new Tourist Accommodation Standard. Thus far three training sessions in the area of Practical Housekeeping were undertaken during the month of May on St. Vincent and Bequia. Further training for housekeepers will take place in the upcoming months throughout the islands and would also focus on other areas such as Customer Service and Tourism Education.  

With many participants describing  the training sessions as being “informative, timely and a necessity,” the SVGTA will continue to assist tourism stakeholders in acquiring the necessary training to better equip themselves to offer top quality service, as all four standards are being implemented. The SVGTA encourages all service providers within the given areas covered by the new standards to pre-register with the Authority in order to be certified as an “Approved Tourism Operator”.


QUALITY ASSURANCE FAMILIARIZATION PROGRAM

The recently established Quality Assurance Unit of the St.Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA) is currently embarking on a familiarization exercise, which involves visits to properties and sites in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The team which comprises the Quality Assurance Manager, Mrs. Nathalie James Shortte, and Officers/ Inspectors, Ms. Aina Browne and Mr. Kerwin Hinson, is mandated to ensure that regulatory measures with respect to the licensing system are adhered to by stakeholders in the tourism industry.

The licensing system was designed for the purpose of meeting stipulated minimum standards as set out in the National Standards  and Codes of Practice, thereby providing “a rich visitor experience that far exceeds internationally recognized minimum standards”, as stipulated in the Tourism Authority’s Mission.

VillaThis familiarization process began on June 1st 2011, when the SVGTA’s team journeyed to Villa – the hub for visitor accommodation location on St. Vincent, to tour five properties in that area. One of the aims of this tour was to become familiar with the different categories of the rooms offered by the properties. The tour commenced at the Mariners Hotel, followed by Young Island Resort, Paradise Beach Hotel, Beachcombers Hotel, and Rosewood Apartment Hotel.


TOURISM INTERNSHIP

DenikarevDuring the month of May, Ms. Dennika Primus came to the St. Vincent & the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA) on a three week internship program. The internship forms part of her tourism curriculum at the St. Vincent & the Grenadines Community College, Division of Technical & Vocational Education.
The SVGTA wishes Ms. Primus success in the continuation of her studies in travel and tourism.




UK TRAVEL SPECIALISTS VISIT SVG

The St. Vincent & the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA) hosted a UK travel specialists’ familiarization tour of St. Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG), from23rd - 29th  May. The tour was organized by SVGTA's London Office. Fam_tour_UK_june_2011

Mrs. Gracita Allert, SVGTA’s Assistant Director of Sales (UK), escorted the group which comprised:
Deana Bellamy, Researcher, Writer, Content Manager, 'The Definitive Caribbean Guide,' Vivianne Mc Grath, Director, ‘Motmot Travel’, Linda Bellis, Director, ‘Lusso Travel’, Sandra Dyer, Managing Director, ‘SN Travel’, and Abigail Robertson, Caribbean Travel Specialist, ‘Worldwide Dream Villas’ .

Tours were conducted of a cross section of properties including Young Island Resort, Beachcombers, Grenadines House, Buccament Bay Resort, Spring House Bequia, Firefly Bequia, Cotton House, Firefly Mustique, Canouan Resort, Tamarind Beach Hotel, Palm Island Resort, Petit St. Vincent Resort and the Tobago Cays Marine Park.

 


PRIMARY SCHOOLS TOURISM CHORAL SPEAKING

On May 31st, thirteen (13) primary schools participated in the finals of the Ministry of Tourism’s Primary Schools’ Choral Speaking Competition, held at the Peace Memorial Hall, St. Vincent.
Choral_Speaking_Competition_014
This year’s theme was ‘Our Children Talk Tourism: Proud, Patriotic and Playing Our Part’.  The competition was established last year, in order ‘to revive the art of choral speaking, and to further build awareness of the tourism industry and its importance, among school children in St. Vincent and the Grenadines’.



For the second time, the Bequia Anglican School topped the Tourism Choral Speaking Competition, followed by the St Mary’s Roman Catholic School, the Lodge Village Government School and the Calliaqua Anglican School.


Other finalists were the Barrouallie Anglican School, the Belmont Government School, the Bequia Seventh Day Adventist School, the Brighton Methodist School, the Cane End Government School, the C.W. Prescod Primary School, the Gomea Government School and the Sandy Bay Government School.

The competition’s sponsors included Courts (St. Vincent) Ltd, E-Com Institute SVG Inc., Basil Charles Educational Foundation, Bank of St Vincent and the Grenadines and the General Employees Cooperative Credit Union (GECCU).



PALM ISLAND EARNS CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE

Palm_IsPalm Island  has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence, which honors top-rated lodging businesses, restaurants and attractions, as reviewed by travelers on the world’s largest travel site.  To qualify, these businesses must maintain an average rating of four or higher out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor. Additional criteria include volume of reviews and how recently they have been submitted by TripAdvisor travelers. The accolade is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide.

TripAdvisor® (www.tripadvisor.com) is the world's largest travel site, enabling travelers to plan and have the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from real travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features (including Flights search, TripAdvisor Mobile and TripAdvisor Trip Friends) with seamless links to booking tools.  
For more information on Palm Island visit www.eliteislandresorts.com


FORT DUVERNETTE RE-OPENED

Fort_Duvernette_copyFort Duvernette was officially re-opened on May 19th, commonly referred to as Rock Fort, it lies some 50 yards off the island resort of Young Island. The Fort is the property of the National Trust and was conveyed to the Trust in 1971. The Fort’s rehabilitation project was funded by the Embassy of Finland to CARICOM and the OECS, based in Caracas.

The site is a 195 foot high volcanic plug made of hard columnar basalt, and boasts two batteries which were constructed during the colonial era of St. Vincent. The site also has a unique eco system populated with birds and rich with flora and fauna.  The restored site is expected to add to the ecotourism heritage product of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

 

 

VISITOR ARRIVALS STATISTICS

February_Stats_chart

The month of February 2011 saw a 21.26% decline in total visitor arrivals compared to the same month in 2010. For the same period, there were declines in the cruise and same day visitor categories of 33.36% and 14.58% respectively. There was also a marginal decline in the stay-over category of about 0.5%. The only category to see an increase was yacht visitors with a 1.7% increase.


KNOWLEDGE CHECK ON HAIROUNA

In 1813 this tunnel was built to facilitate communication with the north of mainland St. Vincent.
What am I called?
The answer will be published in the next issue.

Issue#4 Knowledge Check on Hairouna:
Established 220 years ago it is one of the oldest forest reserves in the Western Hemisphere.
What am I called?
Answer: King’s Hill Reserve
The King’s Hill Reserve was established in 1791.  It is one of the oldest forest reserves in the Western Hemisphere, second only to the Tobago Reserve. With an elevation of 600 feet, it provides a habitat for protected wildlife and a home for more than 26 identified species of tropical trees and shrubs.

 

 

 

        A Taste of Vincy                                                                        In The Press

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            Tourism Awards                                                                     Getting Here

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Calendar of Events

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The St. Vincent & the Grenadines Tourism Authority’s Tourist Information Desks are based at the following locations:

Barbados
Tourist Information Desk
Grantley Adams International Airport Barbados
Tel: 246-428-0961 or 246-233-8746

St. Vincent
Tourist Information Desk
E.T. Joshua Airport, Arnos Vale
Tel: 784-458-4685

Tourist Information Desk
Cruise Ship Terminal, Kingstown
Tel: 784-457-1592

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published by:
The St. Vincent & the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA)
P.O. Box 834
2nd Floor, NIS Building
Upper Bay Street, Kingstown
St. Vincent & The Grenadines
Tel: 784-456-6222
Fax:  784-485-6020
Email: svgta@discoversvg.com
www.discoversvg.com


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