Travel Daily Media catches up with Patricia Maher, CEO at the Grenada Tourism Authority.
What is your role and how long have you held it?
I oversee the Grenada Tourism Authority teams in Grenada and around the world. I joined just over one year ago in December 2016.
How have visitor statistics compared this year with last?
Worldwide, Pure Grenada is doing very well, we have seen a year on year increase in our visitors of 7.43% with the USA as one of the star performers, ahead 14.77% due to the increased direct flights the island is benefitting from in 2017.
Has the tourist office launched any new campaigns?
We have launched our Free To Wonder campaign globally that showcases the best experiences found in Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean including our pristine rainforests, white sandy beaches, spice markets and diving. Much of the Free to Wonder campaign is created for social media platforms and is driven by lifestyle images and video.
What specifically is the tourist office aiming to highlight/promote to UK visitors?
In 2018 we’re focused on further enhancing the profile of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique and our festivals – Pure Grenada Music Festival in April and Grenada Chocolate Fest in May – as well as our other celebrations such as Spicemas in August.
Silversands Grenada, a new and independent luxury beachfront property opens in March – the first hotel to be built on our award winning Grand Anse Beach in 25 years – so we’re undertaking a pure luxury focus to highlight the new hotel and our existing high calibre accommodation.
Have you noticed any emerging trends with Brits?
The British people have long been in love with Pure Grenada and three of our most loved family run hotels celebrated their 30 year anniversaries in 2017: Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel, Coyaba Beach Resort and Spice Island Beach Resort.
Recently, we’ve seen our UK visitors staying a little longer, exploring our sister islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique and being adventurous enough to explore our snorkel and dive sites, our new rainforest canopy zipwire and river tubing.
Any news on hotel developments, new operators, airlines?
Silversands Grenada opens next year with 43 guest suites boasting a 100-metre pool, the longest in the Caribbean and Calabash Boutique Hotel has just signed up to Relais & Chateaux. In 2019, we’ll welcome Kimpton Kawana Bay to Grand Anse Beach. We enjoy four flights each week from Gatwick, two with British Airways and two with Virgin Atlantic.
What’s your advice to travel agents on selling the destination?
Remember that Grenada is compact and easy to explore, just about the size of the Isle of Wight, and offers visitors so much more than beautiful beaches, both under the water and on shore.
The people of Grenada offer a truly warm welcome and given our British heritage there are touches of familiarity: we use three-pronged plugs and drive on the same side of the road. It is easy to connect with locals as Grenadians speak English and are always willing to help visitors.
What training/incentives are you offering travel agents?
Pure Grenada is participating in CTO UK Roadshows in 2018 as well as Unite Caribbean and WTM. The UK office is open every weekday to help travel agents and we organise reward-based fam trips throughout the year to support our online training.
Agents who sign up to the My Booking Rewards programme, do get priority incentives and FAM trip places.