As the Delta variant began to ravage throughout the tri-island state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique and cases of Covid-19 began to spike, the tourism sector took immediate action and heeded the call to service.
Despite being hard hit financially from the onset of the pandemic, the industry mustered the courage, strength and resources to assist Grenadian communities when help was needed the most.
The Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association (GHTA) spearheaded logistics and the volunteer initiative for the Mobile Vaccination Drive that took place throughout the island during “no movement weekends.” Through a collaborative public-private partnership between the Ministry of Health, St George’s University and the GHTA, the drive was heavily supported by the tourism sector and GHTA’s pool of volunteers. CEO Arlene Friday states, “When the going got tough, the tourism sector got going. Our industry selflessly stood in the gap by providing personnel, resources and food to support this massive undertaking. Hotel owners and general managers were on the frontlines alongside doctors and nurses helping in the vaccination effort. Restaurants that were closed pitched in to provide volunteers with food despite enduring severe financial losses. Taxi and tour companies that had little to no business, provided transportation for medical supplies and waste. Even the Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation, the honorable Clarice Modeste-Curwen, rolled up her sleeves and led one of our 6 teams to help vaccinate rural communities every weekend.” Friday also stated, “there is an interdependence amongst all sectors and the pandemic has taught us that it truly takes a village to move the country forward. Tourism is connected to every facet of Grenadian society and if our society suffers, we suffer as well. We are our brother and sister’s keeper and we are all in this together.”
The mobile vaccination drive consists of nurses, doctors, professors, students, ministers, retirees, hoteliers, restauranteurs, taxis and tour operators, local and foreign volunteers; all with the common goal of moving Grenada forward through vaccination. Friday has provided logistics for more than 6 teams that have vaccinated over 4,000 people over 4 weekends throughout the parishes of mainland Grenada with upcoming plans to increase our reach to include Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
Friday states, “People wonder whether tourism will rebound in Grenada. My response is a resounding, yes! This experience has taught us that Grenadians are a resilient people which is reflected in our tourism sector. When faced with a daunting task, we continue to adapt and step up to the plate. In the midst of crisis, we find solutions and develop new opportunities to rise and thrive despite ongoing adversity.”
The Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association is a non-profit, membership-based, non-governmental hospitality organisation that has been involved with the infection control protocol development for the tourism sector and the launch of the vaccination campaign. The GHTA conducts “Let’s Talk Vax” forums to educate the hospitality sector about vaccines and has provided volunteer assistance for vaccinations conducted at the Grenada National Stadium and the Ministry of Health hotlines. For more information regarding the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association or to find out ways to donate to the mobile vaccination drive, please contact [email protected].