Prime Minister's Address at Sandals Opening

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 2:37 PM - George's, Grenada
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ST. GEORGE'S, GRENADA, April 29, 2014 - GIS:
The following is Prime Minister Mitchell's address at the grand opening of Sandals-La-Source Grenada on Monday, April 28.


Opening of Sandals Resort

Ladies and gentlemen,
· As I stand here to address you on what is now Five-Star ground, I am extremely happy and excited for the prospects that this brand has brought and will bring to our island.

· Over the last year and a half or so, we have watched this giant of a business, and this business giant in Butch Stewart, transform our hotel landscape and by so doing, he has helped to reverse our economic outlook.

· We have seen right here at Sandals, the provision of hundreds of jobs for our young people—and not just jobs, but highly skilled jobs: Employment which obliges our people to improve on their level of service and practices; employment which provides a platform for upward mobility in their areas of expertise. I therefore commend the management of Sandals for their vision in ensuring that the education of their employees is a continuous process.

· I want to encourage all other hoteliers to continue enhancing your services. My friends, we have untapped potential in the hotel sector, and all the successful and ambitious hoteliers island wide need to come to terms with the view that the pool is large enough for all. Sandals has built on the successes of our existing hoteliers and presented us with prime opportunities for partnerships. Every additional hotel investment, if managed effectively, can be a win a win-win for all hoteliers, and for the country.

· Investment in the hotel industry continues to be a priority for this government. We have already attracted at least two five-star hotel deals that are currently in the design phase, and there are more on stream. Together, all these new investments will help our country to finally market itself optimally, as a prime destination.

· No one doubts we have what is necessary. We have always highlighted the “sun, sea and sand,” but I have seen, especially in recent past, we need to add another category: safety.

· Grenada is a fine example of what luxury, peaceful and worry-free living can be. Promoting the safety and low crime rate of our country is a brilliant marketing tool that is already paying dividends for our Tourism industry.

· We are now reaching out to formerly non-traditional markets; broadening our scope in regions such as the Middle East and Asia; while at the same time, working to guarantee retention of our existing North American and Western European markets.

· We understand that great marketing has to be backed by great products, and great attraction. Therefore, we are breaking ground in several areas of added value for the people who come to our shores. St. George’s has been hailed as one of the most charming towns in the Caribbean, and as such it is a perfect location to implement activities that will help to lure passengers off the cruise ships or hotels and into the town. It will also provide more incentive for cruise ships to dock on our shores in lieu of other destinations.

· Local investors are now embarking on creating a series of appealing sites and activities that will attract visitors and help to increase the spending in St. George’s.

· This will ultimately help to finance the rejuvenation and preservation of the Georgian architectural heritage of the town.

· Their initiatives include the tethered balloon and zip line over St. George’s. The viewing platform afforded by the balloon will ensure that guests enjoy the spectacular views with which we are blessed, while at the same time, taking advantage of the snack bar selections in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. All studies conducted around the world have shown that the tethered balloon project is as safe as it is pleasurable, and Grenada is about to venture into that unique market.

· In 2006, the Under Water Sculpture Park in Moliniere—the first under water sculpture gallery in the world—was opened for viewing. The underwater collection of ecological contemporary art created by British sculptor, Jason Taylor, is a must-see. The sculptures depict locals in various forms and activities and have become a major draw for under water enthusiasts. This is another example of the unique ongoing initiatives undertaken to broaden our tourism spectra.

· My friends, the New Economy is focussed on transforming our tourism sector.

· I have just returned from the Netherlands at the Global Ocean Action Summit to discuss and finalize major cooperation agreements between The Netherlands and Grenada, with possible partnership from other countries such as the USA and Indonesia. We are well on our way to optimizing Grenada’s coastal, marine and ocean resources with the aim of establishing a dedicated “Blue Growth and Oceans Governance Institute,” which will be hosted in Grenada.

· We recognize that we have to broaden our scope past the limited reliance on our Green economy because the Blue mass, and by that, I mean our ocean space, far surpasses the Green space or land mass. The Blue economy then is poised for rapid growth.

· Cooperation with countries like the Netherlands that can lend technical and financial expertise, will enable us to move speedily in enhancing and responsibly exploiting our unique potentials in the yachting and cruise ship tourism sectors.

· We can now move to further develop and market our many Marine Protected Areas, our underwater sculpture park and fishing zones. Our country can boast of, and is also recognized for the distinctive genetic biodiversity of the hemisphere’s largest submarine volcano. We are even exploring the possibility of seabed minerals such as rare earth metals and potential oil and gas deposits.

· In collaboration with the Dutch, we are also about to undertake a feasibility study for the establishment of a dedicated Spice Institute hosted in the Netherlands and Grenada. This will be made possible because of Grenada’s agri-business experience which includes agro-industry products and pharmaceuticals, as well as our world famous variety of spices. This is not only good news for our farmers, but also our locals and any visitors to our shores.

· Sandals and our other hotels are therefore excellent conduits to market our island. They are platforms on which we are standing to usher in and advance this new era of Blue growth.

· Our vision for economic development, especially in our tourism sector, cannot be myopic. It is our intention that our re-branding to “Pure Grenada” will universally capture all the elements of our tourism product.

· We understand clearly that the brand’s name by itself cannot alter or enhance the product. It is the collective effort and will of all involved, as well as the combination of initiatives and the communal spirit that will bring about change in our tourism industry; and change in the sector is a change in our economy. Tourism has never been more everybody’s business than it is NOW.

· Partnership is crucial for the expansion of Tourism industry. The partnership of our hoteliers, new and existing; the partnership of our farmers and vendors; our Ministries of Agriculture, Tourism and National Security, forexample; the partnerships of our sanitation officials and our citizenry in maintaining a clean environment, and continuing to demonstrate our warmth and friendliness; our churches, schools and homes, in the upholding of our moral fabric;
Collaboration in building top class sporting facilities that create other avenues for diversion for visitors. It will take cooperation between government and non-governmental organizations in creating the climate necessary for increased investment, and the viability of existing businesses which will increase the opportunities for livelihood and the spending power of our people.

· Brothers and sisters, it will take solemn partnerships to endorse our beloved country as the world class destination that it is.
· By so doing, we will all bring about the fiscal sustainability and growth of our economy.

· Sandals is doing its part; let us together, do ours.







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