Grenada seeks to establish “fund” to upgrade tourism products

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ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada (eTN) – In an effort to improve Grenada’s tourism product, the government is set to establish a “Product Development Fund.” The proceeds of which will be used exclusively for product development.

Finance Minister Nazim Burke made the announcement when he presented the island’s EC$675.9 million 2009 budget last week Friday during the third working session of the island’s Lower House of Parliament.

“This idea works in other countries and will provide additional resources for further investment in our product for the enjoyment of guests,” he said, while pointing out that the government is keenly aware that what the average visitor spend in Grenada is lower than many other destinations in the Caribbean.

He added, the intent is to provide more spending opportunities for our visitors by investing in the tourism product and developing new attractions.

“In 2009, funds have been allocated to upgrade existing attractions and develop new attractions. We are especially interested in the development of new cultural products,” the minister said. According to him, the tourism market budget for the year will be EC$18 million.

Minister Burke added: “Using donor funds or public-private partnerships, we intend to explore options for other attractions such as Fort George restoration, establishment of a folklore village, the introduction of natural spice museum and park, the Slave Pen in Hermitage, St. Patrick’s, and the possibility of a cable car attraction. In addition, special attention will be given to the further development of the yachting and dive sub-sectors.”

The chairman of the board of the directors of the Grenada Board of Tourism, Richard Strachan, said that the fund will be used by the soon to be operational Product Research Unit, and, among other things, the money will be used to design products that will improve the island’s tourism product. “We will be taking the little money and develop plans for development and they we will work jointly with investors to ensure that all new tourism projects are practicable here,” he said.

The minister also announced that the government will provide a tax credit of 125 percent to all firms and individuals who contribute to the fundraising drive by the Airlift Committee to ensure that US$1.5 million is provided as risk sharing to ensure that return of American Airlines. “As part of its commitment to this airlift support, the government, in addition to its contribution for the American Airlines service, will provide EC$7 million for airlift support and joint marketing,” he said.

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.