On Friday, 2 September 2022, the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association (GHTA) board of directors met with representatives from the government and other key tourism stakeholders to continue working towards developing the tourism industry post-Covid-19.
The group discussed a wide range of critical issues such as diversification of the tourism economy, lobbying for progressive and sustainable policies, and linking the tourism industry effectively with other key economic sectors.
Present at the meeting were Ministers Lennox Andrews and Andy Williams; Transition Lead Dr Stephen Fletcher; the new Chairman of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) Randal Dolland; GHTA President Kendra Hopkin Stewart; GHTA CEO Arlene Friday, and other GHTA Board Members.
GHTA Board Members expressed the challenges faced over the last few years due to Covid-19. GHTA was instrumental in lobbying to ban Styrofoam and single-use plastics; they were at the forefront of the Covid-19 relief efforts. They led vaccination drives and vehemently protected the rights and livelihoods of stakeholders in the industry during such a difficult period.
The lessons they learned pushed GHTA to be proactive and to engage the new government and other stakeholders to strategically map the future of tourism, deepen stakeholder relationships and foster greater collaboration and implementation. GHTA brought several issues to light that they want to tackle. Top of the list are diversifying the tourism product; promoting sustainable tourism for the benefit of everyone; strongly encouraging smaller boutique hotels over gigantic ones; working closer with GTA and educating and training citizens to harness the opportunities in the tourism industry.
The Board also expressed their desire to keep regular communication with the government and other stakeholders to ensure that there is consistent action to achieve their collective goals. This sentiment was also shared by the GTA Chairman Randal Dolland who stated their desire to work closely with GHTA particularly to diversify the tourism products.
The Government expressed its commitment to building a healthy working relationship with the GHTA. They expressed their interest in seeing tourism blossom into new avenues and become more interconnected with other economic sectors, like agriculture. The ministers were also eager to advise the GHTA board to hold the Government accountable for their actions and lobby for their members’ interests. The Government representatives expressed that they are interested in working closely with GHTA to ensure that regulations are put in place to make this sector equitable across the board and promote local entrepreneurs.
GHTA CEO Arlene Friday praised the tourism partners for conducting such a positive meeting. She said, “The GHTA stands firmly committed to strengthening public/private partnerships and for advocating on behalf of our members.” Friday also stated that she believes that “this meeting was a major start in the right direction.”
With the initial discussions wrapped up, the meeting attendees were all excited to move forward with their newfound understanding.