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SVGTA's E-Newsletter 2nd Quarterly 2014 Issue#36
Subject: SVGTA's E-Newsletter 2nd Quarterly 2014 Issue#36
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ST VINCENT & THE GRENADINES TOURISM AUTHORITY
E-NEWSLETTER 2nd Quarterly 2014

ISSUE #36


 CARIBBEAN WEEK NEW YORK

CbbeanWeekNYThe St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority participated in a number of Trade and Public Events this year for Caribbean Week, New York. These events included the following NTO workshop, Trade Show and Educational Seminars, Caribbean Romance Pavilion, Caribbean Media Marketplace and Rum and Rhythm.

The feature speaker at the NTO workshop stressed the importance of reviewing branded giveaways and the ROI, if any, that we receive from them. The Trade Show and Educational Seminar was a trade only event for Travel Agents and Tour Operators.

Caribbean Romance Pavilion was organized this year “The Wedding Salon”, producers of very high end wedding/honeymoon events with the same name. According to Mrs. Celia Ross-Latham, Director of Sales for the SVGTA, NY, “True to their reputation, the Wedding Salon produced one of the best ever wedding/honeymoon shows CTO has ever had in terms of attendance, ambience, quality of attendees and vendor follow-up. Locally made miniature fruit-flavoured wines were used as giveaways at this event and were very well received.” In effort to bring additional visibility to our booth/destination, the Beachcombers hotel donated a hotel stay which was won by an attending couple.

When it came to the Rum and Rhythm event, according to Mrs. Ross-Latham, “although the event had many uncertainties and last minute cancellations… in the end it all came together as one of our most memorable participation ever in Rum & Rhythm.  Getting the quantity of rum required for the event was a challenge… but Chef Kamal whipped up a very lovely cocktail (Captain Bligh Swank).  Kamal also prepared two very tasty and popular food dishes, impossible to keep on the tables due to their popularity.”  

The 2014 Caribbean Week events were also attended by the Hon. Minister of Tourism Cecil McKie, Mr. Glen Beache CEO of the Authority, Miss Kathique Haynes Marketing Officer and Miss Eleen Ackie Assistant Director of Sales in the New York Office.



CARIBBEAN WEEK TORONTO

 CbbeanWeekTorontoThe Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) held a shortened version of Caribbean week in Toronto from June 23rd – 25th, 2014.  Several Caribbean Tourism Offices including our own, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Office in Canada travelled to Ottawa, Ontario on June 26th for a Travel Agent Event at the Chimo Hotel.  Approximately 60 travel agents attended and were able to discuss the destination’s key selling points and receive promotional material. A presentation on “Watersports: The Key to keeping your head above water” was well received. The Canadian based Caribbean Tourism offices attended a workshop on June 24th at One King West Hotel and Residences, on the topic “Utilizing the power of Mobile Media to deliver your Marketing.”  

On June 25th, following the CTO Media Marketplace,  the CTO recognized the most influential journalists and photographers who had used their talents to reach the Canadian market by highlighting the Caribbean.  St. Vincent and the Grenadines received much acclaim when two prominent writers won awards for stories which they wrote, following press trips to the destination. CTO Chairman, Beverly Nicholson-Doty, was on hand to present the Virtual Visitor Award (Best Online Feature) for Liz Fleming’s (TorontoSun.com) story called “Basil Charles enjoys celebrity status on Mustique”. The Been There, Wrote That (Best Feature Article in a Consumer Magazine) award was awarded to Alexandra Redgrave (Air Canada’s enRoute) for her story “How I Spent My Winter Vacations (St. Vincent & the Grenadines)”. The SVGTA’s Director of Sales in Toronto, Mrs Shelley John, accepted both awards on behalf of the writers who were not able to attend the event.



CARIBBEAN JOURNAL WINS MEDIA AWARD

 CbbeanJournalwinsmediaawardCaribbean Journal and its Editor-in-Chief, Alexander Britell, were adjudged “Best Online Feature” and “Virtual Visitor” Award respectively, which featured St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Both Caribbean Journal and Britell won these awards for a second consecutive year which contributes to the success of the “world’s largest Website covering the Caribbean region.”

Caribbean Journal was founded in 2011 with one vision: to provide news, commentary and analysis in a way that the Caribbean had not yet seen. It is now the Caribbean’s leading digital newspaper, with 24/7, original content covering news, travel, politics and opinion from more than 20 countries and territories.”


ARGYLE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO OPEN MID 2015

 ArgyleairportThe Argyle International Airport is due to be operational by the middle of next year. Work continues as the construction of the control tower is currently underway. With the opening of the new airport, an increase is expected in tourist arrivals along with a heightening in St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ foreign trade and by extension foreign exchange.



 

WORKSHOP ON SKILLS REQUIREMENT

 WorkshopskillsMr. Elingford Roban, Statistician in the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA), along with Mr. Bernard John, Administrative Cadet in the Ministry of Tourism, were the representatives from St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the “Anticipating Skills Requirements in Tourism” workshop held in Trinidad and Tobago from May 6th – 7th, 2014.

The workshop, which was an initiative organized by the ILO/Cinterfor, with the support of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) and the National Industrial Training Service (SENAI), saw three (3) moderators and seventeen (17) participants from Barbados, Belize, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Saint Marteen, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.  It was hosted at the ACS Headquarters in Port of Spain over the two (2) days.

The programme primarily focused on the application of the Delphi method as a tool for forecasting the skill needs in the tourism industry over a 5 – 10 year horizon. Both Mr. Roban and Mr. John felt that the training was an excellent blend of theory as well as practice and foresee the application of this technique aiding the development of the tourism industry in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

In fact, both participants are hoping to build on the training by executing their own forecast here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines over the next few months. They will have the support of the ILO/Cinterfor virtual space that contains supporting material as well as a forum through which they will be able to connect with other participants of the workshop. They will then present their findings at the second workshop in October later this year also expected to be hosted in Trinidad and Tobago.


 

QUALITY ASSURANCE WORKSHOP

QAWorkshopThe St Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority continued their development of industry stakeholders by holding a series of training seminars for Taxi operators. The training which was conducted at the NIS Training Room from May 10th - June 26th 2014 saw over eighty (80) taxi operators participating.

Training was focused on customer service, practical tour guiding for taxi operators, conflict resolution and tourism education. Facilitators for these sessions were Ms. Marina Lampkin and Mrs. Francilia Marksman. Taxi drivers taking part in the sessions came from throughout St. Vincent and despite most having extensive years of experience in the industry, they took the opportunity to develop their skills in the field. The response by the taxi drivers is an indication that they are receptive towards the raising of standards within the service sector in the destination. 

The training for the taxi operators is expected to go into its next phase i.e. training in First aid and CPR, as the Tourism Authority prepares them for the licensing process, which is expected to begin in November 2014.

The SVGTA in conjunction with the Bureau of Standards has developed five standards for the tourism sector. The aim of developing these standards is to improve the level of the service provided by the industry stake holders and assist in making the destination more marketable. The developed standards are for Accommodation Properties, Tour Operators, Tour Guides, Taxi Drivers and Short-term Vehicle Rentals.


NEWSLETTER INTERVIEW: TAXI DRIVERS/OPERATORS TRAINING

Newsletterinterviewpg1Name: Anthony Browne
Name of Taxi: Red Fox Taxi
Years in Operation: 20 years
Why did you become a taxi driver? It was a natural progression; my father was a taxi driver. At first I was a mechanic and later a minibus driver. Eventually, I decided to fall in my father’s footsteps and become a taxi-diver.
What do you enjoy most about your job? I get to interact with so many different persons and provide a reliable service for them. Plus, it’s an honest way to make a living.
What are your thoughts about the training session? The two days session was very interactive and I was exposed to so much more new information. For example, I didn’t know that King Jaja lived at Cobblestone Inn, so that’s new knowledge I can impart to my guest. I have also learnt how to interact with my guest and smile more.
Most Memorable Experience:
I have been driving an Italian professor for the last 10 years. I had to replace my phone and wasn’t able to give him my new number, I was most surprised when he visited the island and asked around for my number just so I could drive him during his stay.

Name: Zim Codougan  

Name of Taxi: Executive Decisions
Years in Operation: 10 months
Why did you become a taxi driver? My business started after I began offering transfer services for guest staying at my apartments, I quickly realize that I enjoyed interacting with persons while doing this, thus I decided to continue.
What do you enjoy most about your job? I pride myself in delivering a service that is reliable and offers comfort; I achieve a sense of satisfaction when my guests are satisfied.
What are your thoughts about the training session? My wife always says that it’s the little foxes that destroy the grapes, this training session has pointed out how important it is to get the little things right, to dress appropriately and provide the best service for anyone who enters my taxi.
Most memorable Experience: Driving the Turkish delegation for the recent Head of Government meeting. I showed up dressed impeccably and was pleasantly surprised when I got complimented by the owner of the hotel they stayed and my guest.
Newsletterinterviewpg2Name: Cutis Tucker

Name of Taxi: Brother Taxi Service
Years in Operation: 15 years
Why did you become a taxi driver? I became a taxi driver as a means of providing for my children. It allows me to gain income and spend quality time with my children which are important to me.
What do you enjoy most about your job? I love that I get to meet people from all over the world.
What are your thoughts about the training session? I’ve learnt so much from this session, how to connect and listen more to my customers, their concerns. The comradely was a great experience. The facilitators should be thanked; they have broadened our knowledge and techniques to make our jobs easier and more enjoyable.  

Name: Clinton Mc Loud

Name of Taxi: Clint Taxi  
Years in Operation: 25 years
Why did you become a taxi driver? I worked for several years as a technician, fixing typewriters. After the business slowed, I decided to become a taxi driver. I loved it so much, that I started to do it full time.
What do you enjoy most about your job? I get to interact with so many different persons and the opportunity to learn about different places around the world.
What are your thoughts about the training session? It was a very good experience and informative. This business is about learning and keeping up to date, this training was a refresher course on things we already know, but need to practice. So we need to be more courteous and ALWAYS SMILE!


TAXIS SPORTING STICKERS

 TaxissportstickersA marketing strategy that has been implemented in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is one of stickers displaying different places of interest on local taxis. The Ministry of Tourism launched this project hoping to promote the country while allowing taxi drivers to become ambassadors.




FAMILIARIZATION TRIP

famtripThe St Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA) hosted seven North American travel agents and tour operators on a familiarization trip in June. The group visited the Argyle International Airport construction site as well as a number of hotels both on St. Vincent as well as in the Grenadines.   The group included representatives of agencies already attached to St Vincent and the Grenadines and others seeking new market opportunities. The group arrived on June 12th and left on June 17th. .




KAREN HINDS PHENOMENAL WOMEN CONFERENCE

 KHPWCThe Methodist Church Hall was the venue for the annual Phenomenal Women Conference where several topics were discussed for women of all ages. According to Searchlight newspaper, Karen Hinds organized the event where overcoming self-doubt and balancing finances to balancing work life, and how to go about starting your own business were  topics prepared for the session.

The newspaper reported that the featured speakers included Lorna Owens from the USA, Julia Bernard-Thompson from England and Vincentian panelists Jehann Jack, Lessie Williams, Dr Kathleen Patricia Israel, Hollis and Jestina Charles, Fr Kari Marcelle, Taireen and Bernadette Warren, Dr Kenneth Onu and Dr Francesca Burnham-Onu. The St Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA) was a sponsor of the event, and members of staff of the SVGTA and the Ministry of Tourism attended the conference.


 WIN LUXURY CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY 

 WinLuxuryCbbeanholCrew Clothing offered a holiday for two (2) where the prize would entail “travelling with Caribtours and flying with Virgin Atlantic, a seven night stay at the idyllic Bequia Beach Hotel in a Beach Front Suite, as well as a fantastic day trip to the Tobago Cays on board The Friendship Rose, classic schooner.”

“Crew Clothing is a UK-based clothing retailer that specialises in luxury British casualwear for men and women. The company sells clothing through its 60 stores across the UK, website and via mail order, with over 3.2 million catalogues mailed every year. Crew Clothing was started in 1993 by Alistair Parker-Swift. During the summer of 1993 he created some navy and white rugby shirts with the original Crew Clothing 93 patch, sourcing the materials from a local supplier.”



 SVG IN 50 BEST DIVE SITES

SVG50bestdivesitesOut of 50 destinations, St. Vincent and the Grenadines was selected as one of the best dive sites in the world. According to Dive Guide, “if you want to get up close and personal with uncommon and minute marine life to the experienced diver in search of that next photographic trophy” then Anchor Reef is the perfect place to do so.




 

SVG IN 12 CARIBBEAN ROOFTOP BARS

 SVG12cbbeanrooftopbarsCobblestone Inn’s Rooftop Bar was selected as one of twelve bars worth visiting in the Caribbean. Caribbean Journal stated that “set at the top of a building once used for storing sugarcane, the rooftop bar at the Cobblestone Inn is one of the most popular meeting points in downtown Kingstown, with a beautiful brick decor.”



TRIP ADVISOR’S CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE

TripAdvisorsCertificateofExcellenceThe Buccament Bay Resort was adjudged the “Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence” for the second year in a row. Harlequin Hotel and Resorts stated “the award honours select accommodations, attractions, and restaurants that consistently demonstrate a commitment to hospitality excellence, and it arrives as the award-winning Caribbean hotel has surpassed a staggering 300 5 star reviews on the website.”

The Resort also obtained Travellers’ Choice Award for “Best Luxury Hotels in the Caribbean” and “Leading Hotel” and Leading Spa Resort” in 2013.



BEST EXPERT LED FITNESS HOLIDAYS: Swim with an Olympian in the Caribbean

 BestexpertledfitnessholsMost swimmers keen to improve their technique, would likely agree that a private island in St Vincent and the Grenadines would be an agreeable place to do it. So the four-day swimming workshops being held in the rustic Palm Island Resort this May were enticing right from the onset; the clincher, however, is that they’re led by gold medal-winning Olympian Rebecca Adlington.

As well as receiving extensive swimming tutoring, participants took part in complementary land-based exercises and have individual consultations and technique analyses with Adlington.


It’s a relatively laid back and supportive affair but those with a competitive streak can end the programme by participating in a one-mile open water swim. (You can read Telegraph Travel journalist Teresa Machan's review of the experience here.)

The next workshop takes place from May 4th – 7th 2015; Virgin Holidays offers a seven-night
all-inclusive package from £1,899 per person, including flights.


SVG IN SIX NEW CARIBBEAN HOT SPOTS

SVG6newcbbeanhotspotsForbes Travel Guide deemed SVG as one of the “Six New Caribbean Hot Spots” with the focus on Canouan. “Canouan is the island to watch this year, as Pink Sands Club readies to open there with some of the most sought-after villas in the region. From the owner of Barbados’ exclusive Sandy Lane, Pink Sands Club is expected to attract as many celebrities to its luxurious digs as its sister resort does.”



SEVEN SMALL CARIBBEAN ISLANDS TO VISIT THIS SUMMER

7smallcbbeanislandssummerOne of the Grenadine islands, Mustique, was adjudged as one of “Seven Small Caribbean Islands That Should Be Visited This Summer.” Caribbean Journal stated “If it’s luxury you’re looking for in a small Caribbean island, this is it. Mustique has long been the Caribbean getaway for celebrities looking to keep a low profile, and that remains true today.”




TOP INTERNATIONAL ISLANDS FOR BEACHES

TopintlislandsbeachesThe Grenadine islands are famous for their pristine blue waters and white, sandy beaches. However, Saltwhistle Bay in Mayreau is considered Condé Nast Traveller’s favourite as it has “Two perfect strands of sand, one facing a calm bay, the other the Atlantic. It’s the best of both worlds.” SaltWhistle Bay was enlisted in the publication’s “Top International Islands For Beaches.”



BEST BEACHES IN THE CARIBBEAN

BestbeachescbbeanLocated on the western side of Union Island is Chatham Bay which was chosen as one of the “Best Beaches In The Caribbean” by Islands. Out of the five picturesque beaches, Chatham Bay’s “gentle waters and lush foliage” contribute to it being in third place.  The other beaches that were selected were White Bay, Jost Van Dyke in BVI, Tulum in Mexico, Pink Sands in Bahamas. and Barbuda.



THE WORLD’S SEXIEST BEACHES

WorldssexiestbeachesTravelzoo chose Mustique in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as one of the ten locations that have the “World’s Sexiest Beaches.” Australia, Kenya, California, Bahamas, France, Thailand, Barbados, Mexico and Brazil were the other countries that have some of the best beaches.  



SEXIEST SWIM-UP BARS IN THE CARIBBEAN

 sexyswimupbarsYoung Island Resort’s coconut bar was selected as one of the “Sexiest Swim-Up Bars in the Caribbean.”

USA Today’s journalist, Sarah Sekula, chose this “over-the-water bar that specializes in coconut concoctions.”  




CARIBBEAN’S BEST ISLAND HOPPING

cbbeanbesthopSt. Vincent and the Grenadines is one of the perfect places to “Island Hop.” One can visit Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, Union Island and a lot more.

Each island has their own unique features that attract several tourists each year. A small aircraft or boat would easily take you to each island where you can relax and enjoy what they have to offer.



 WHATS THE DEAL IN MUSTIQUE

 whatsdealmustiqueThe Washington Post featured Mustique’s Cotton House in the “What’s The Deal” column on 6/29 in both the print and online versions. “The Washington Post is an American daily newspaper. It is the most widely circulated newspaper published in Washington, D.C., and was founded in 1877, making it the area's oldest extant newspaper.”




  JAN - MAY VISITOR ARRIVALS REVIEW

janmayvisitorarrivalsFor the first half year (January-June) 2014 versus the same period in 2013, stay over arrivals and cruise arrivals both dipped slightly registering 0.6% and 0.4% fall offs respectively. The yacht visitor category on the other hand out performed with a 6.8% increase for the same period in question. Same day on the other hand registered a fall off of 14.4% for the period of January-June 2014 compared with January-June 2013.  

Of note, declines in stay-over arrivals from the major territories like USA, Canada and Trinidad and Tobago of 2.1%, 3.5% and 7.1% weighed heavily against the total arrivals from the January-June 2014 period while only being partially offset with slight increases in stay-over arrivals from the UK (1.4%) and smaller territories like the French Caribbean (35.8%) and the rest of Europe.


Very encouraging though is out performance of yacht arrivals to St. Vincent and the Grenadines thus far this year. Bequia, Union Island, Mustique and Chateaubelair in particular have registered significant increases of 11.4%, 16.2%, 36.7%, and 1311% respectively thus far with only Kingstown seeing a significant decline of 18.7%.


BEQUIA EASTER REGATTA

bequiaregattaEvery Easter the Bequia Sailing Club hosts the sporting and tourism event, Bequia Easter Regatta, which includes several participants who come together to compete in the sailing competition.  

The overall winners this year were Class I, Wag Service Station Trophy - O Connie, ( Evan John); Class 2, RBTT Trophy - My Way, (Mike Marks); Class 4, Mountain Top Spring Water Trophy - Ark Royal (Javin Morgan); Class 5, Caribbean Woods Trophy - Nerissa J 1, Matthew McLaurean; Class 6, Sandrock Trophy - Eclipse, (Kimani James). The 34th Bequia Easter Regatta is scheduled for April 2nd – 6th 2015.



MAYREAU REGATTA

mayreauregattaThe Hairoun Beer Mayreau Regatta consisted of seven tournaments that took place during four days of competition. Fishing, sailing, lion fish hunting and cooking competitions were the main aspects of the Regatta.

“Other competitions over the four days of festivities included the kite flying and gum boat races, with bayside activities like maypole dancing, ring toss, drinking competitions, dips and punch boards, as well as the talent show.”



EASTERVAL

 EastervalThe 48th Annual Easterval took place April 10th – 21st. According to The News, head of the Easterval Committee Abdon White reported that “the persons under his charge performed a “magnificent” job to ensure that the 2014 edition of the Union Island Easterval festivities did come to a successful conclusion. “I am satisfied that tonight (Sunday 20th April, Miss Easterval night) is the best thing for the Easter because we brought the crown back to Union Island,” Whyte said.



GOSPEL FEST

 GospelFestThe theme this year for the 12th annual Gospel Fest was “Experiencing the Power of God”. On April 27th, the festival culminated with a National Gospel Showcase at Victoria Park,  St. Vincent, with renditions in song, dance and drama, which climaxed with a spectacular performance by guest artiste Evangelist Marvia Providence. Presentations included a dance by Kingdom Ambassadors, a monologue by Kingdom Life Ministries, a solo by Seventh Day Adventist Church and a duet by Sandy Bay Gospel Chapels.

According to their Facebook page, the SVG Gospel Fest “caters to the Christian community, offering them the opportunity to show their talents.” Gospel Fest occurs during the month of April.


VINCY MAS

 VincyMasThe “Hottest Carnival in the Caribbean” ran from June 27th to July 8th. Vincy Mas is a chance to experience St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ culture and enjoy all the beautifully crafted costumes as they come to life. Competitions include Miss SVG, Soca Swing, Fantastic Friday, Junior Carnival, H2O Soca, Junior Pan Fest, Junior Calypso/Soca, Steel and Glitter (Panorama), Miss Carival and Soca Monarch. Next year Vincy Mas will be held from June 26th – July 7th.   








KNOWLEDGE CHECK ON HAIROUNA

 This endemic species was collected on the volcano in 1804 and has pink and yellow colours that are originally known from St. Vincent only. What am I called?

The answer will be published in the next issue

Issue#35 Knowledge Check On Hairouna.
Enslaved Africans who were shipwrecked or escaped from Barbados, St. Lucia and Grenada sought refuge in St. Vincent and intermarried with the Caribs. They became known as?

Answer: Black Caribs

knowledgecheckCarib Indians aggressively prevented European settlement on St. Vincent until the 18th century. Enslaved Africans - whether shipwrecked or escaped from Barbados, St. Lucia and Grenada and seeking refuge in mainland St. Vincent, or Hairouna as it was originally named by the Caribs - intermarried with the Caribs and became known as Garifuna or Black Caribs.
















           Palm Island                                                                             Petit St Vincent

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 Yachting                                                                         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                                                       Tourist Information Desk
E.T. Joshua Airport, Arnos Vale                                Cruise Ship Terminal, Kingstown
St. Vincent                                                                                St. Vincent 
Tel: 784-458-4685                                                               Tel: 784-457-1592

 

 

 





The Inhabited Islands of St. Vincent & the Grenadines
St. Vincent, Young Island, Bequia, Mustique, Canouan,
Mayreau, Union Island, Palm Island, Petit St. Vincent.

 

 

 

 

 

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nadines Tourism Authority

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
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