Last week I had the opportunity to sit in on a series of discussions hosted by the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association (GHTA), held at the Flamboyant Hotel. The sessions spanned a period of two days and covered topics ranging from branding, to the use of social media tools to boost presence and brand identity. The overarching purpose of these meetings was to detail, to its members, the projects undertaken by the GHTA in the past year and to present their plans for the year 2015/2016.
Some of the interesting items, by my measure, were the unveiling of a new website to help with their E-Marketing campaigns and the launch of a new mobile application to promote tourism related businesses. Additionally, I was privy to a first hand view of nine remarkable video productions geared towards strengthening Grenada’s marketing efforts.
While I must admit these sessions were quite insightful, what I appreciated most about having been there was the opportunity to discover. Being Grenadian it should have meant, when shown videos and pictures of our pristine offerings, surprise should not have been an expected reaction. However, having been away from Grenada for the past two years afforded me the chance to once again celebrate being Grenadian; not by virtue of birth, but instead, by virtue of a renewed perspective.
As I sat in awe looking at the video presentations produced, I thought to myself - this is home. That moment reaffirmed (to me), we are a gem in the Caribbean. The white sand beaches, food & culture, amazing dive sites, and extraordinary aquatic and bird life showcased cultivated an immeasurable sense of pride within me. Recognizing the magic caught on camera, time stopped for a bit allowing me a moment to think. Is this the view visitors get? Is this the same view Grenadians get? Is this Pure Grenada?
While it is easy for one to get lost in the breathtaking views and experiences Grenada has to offer (which is justifiably warranted), the greater discovery lies with recognizing the hidden responsibilities aligned with our new mantra – “Pure Grenada”. Uncontaminated, genuine, perfect. These are some the words that can be used to paint a picture that represents a weighted schema for that which we are to uphold. What then does this mean? It means that the responsibility to build a distinguishable tourism industry does not fall solely to the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association (GHTA) or the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA).
As Grenadians we all have a part to play in the sustainable development of our tourism sector. The youngest child to the oldest citizen, the garbage collector to the politician, all entities have a role. We must recognize and acknowledge that “Pure Grenada” is not a concept, but rather a culture / change in mindset that needs to be nurtured. Are we there yet? Maybe not. Will we get there? I believe we will, if we give precedence to a spirit of collectivism. We’ve all heard echoes of the saying “no man is an island”. Admittedly, the challenge does not lie with understanding what it means. The real challenge is working towards what it means. To do that we must first realize that I am Pure Grenada, you are Pure Grenada, we are Pure Grenada. Once we begin to cross that bridge, then we can truly marvel in the authenticity that is Pure Grenada.