It is a gem with unspoilt beauty famed for its aromatic spices and organic chocolate.
The tri-island destination of Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique, located in the Eastern Caribbean, has become so popular with T&T nationals that they are increasingly buying property in the island, mainly in the affluent area of L’Anse aux Epines.
“This area is in the southern part of the island and where most of the tourism belt exists. What we have observed is that in recent months, many Trinidadians have been buying properties in Grenada and they would come and spend two, three months and then return to Trinidad.
“They indicate that one of the values Grenada has as a destination is it is peaceful and there is practically no violence. You can walk the streets any time of the day or night and you would not be attacked or harassed,” Grenada’s Tourism Minister Lennox Andrews told the Business Guardian.
He was one of many key stakeholders at a “destination roadshow,” which sought to strengthen tourism ties between T&T and Grenada.
The event, which was hosted by the Grenada Tourism Authority, was held last Thursday at the Brix hotel, Port-of-Spain.
According to Andrews, Trinidad is Grenada’s third largest market for visitor arrivals.
However, Grenada took a severe hit when the pandemic struck about two years ago.
“It affected not just the health of our people, but also our tourism and economy with people not being able to go out to work, with the hotels practically being closed and with the airlines being unable to come to Grenada. During the period we took steps to look after the hotel workers who were affected by the lack of employment by providing some form of financial subsidy on a monthly basis to keep them going. When the pandemic came to an end, we were able to get our hotels and hoteliers back to work,” Andrews said.
He said the island’s tourism recovery has been excellent.
Andrews noted that with some of the stayover arrivals like those from the US for instance, Grenada currently registers “about 90 per cent above the 2019 levels.”
Additionally, all international flights are coming to the Spice Isle including Air Canada, American Airlines, British Airways, Sunwing and Jetblue.
Andrews said Jetblue, which flies from Miami and New York, arrives in Grenada every day.
“Most of the international flights are coming in practically full every day and they are leaving full,” Andrews added.
Regarding travel within the region, the Grenada Tourism Minister acknowledged this has also improved.
“This is because of the arrangements we have with InterCaribbean and Caribbean Airlines,” Andrews said, adding that the latter comes to Grenada nine times a week which continues to enhance the island’s tourism product.
Regarding the proposal for an inter-island ferry between Tobago and Grenada, Andrews said discussions are ongoing.
Nikoyan Roberts, head of product development and customer services at the Grenada Board of Tourism shared some insights about the island’s accommodation comprising a roomstock of 2,574.
These include 1,777 resort/hotel rooms; 371 apartments; 163 villas; 209 guesthouses and 54 cottages.
Regarding new hotel developments, Roberts said there are 305 additional projected rooms scheduled for completion between 2023 and 2025.
The new developments are Six Senses with 124 rooms, Beach House with 31 and Intercontinental with 150.
Regarding total visitor arrivals for January to May 2023 Roberts broke down the figurers as cruise 198,896; yachting 11,494 and stayover visitors 73,485.
For the comparative period for 2019, the figurers were cruise 223,027; yachting 14,082 and stayover 70,053.
The destination roadshow also promoted SpiceMas-Grenada’s biggest summer festival which takes place from August 1 to 15. Grenada’s carnival is a celebration with monarch competitions, great food, fetes, jab and pageantry.
Other festivals which have gained international attraction include Grenada’s Spice Island Billfish Tournament, the Grenada Sailing Week, Carriacou Regatta Festival and the Petite Martinique Regatta Festival.
Apart from such activities, Grenada also beckons visitors to its 40 white sandy beaches including the world-famous Grand Anse Beach, 15 waterfalls, seven chocolate factories, three rum distilleries, and more than 30 dive sites, including the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean ‘Bianca C’ and the World’s first underwater sculpture park.
Grenada’s voluntourism programme is also growing.
Launched in March 2022, it gives visitors the opportunity to engage with local communities and culture while making a tangible impact.
For instance, regarding the environment, Roberts said these include beach clean-ups, lionfish hunts, turtle research and monitoring as well as coral reef and mangrove restoration.
“Visitors can go out to the various communities where they can be a gardener for a day, work with stray animals, replant mangroves, spice trees.
“So we get you involved in taking care of the environment and make you feel like you have really done something to protect the earth,” Roberts further explained.
She noted Grenada also boasts of being a leading culinary capital.
“We are entering partnerships with international chefs who are James Beard award recipients to do tastemaker events and continue to train our young people in careers that touch on culinary mixology and the hospitality industry,” Roberts said.
The James Beard Awards recognizes exceptional talent and achievement in the culinary arts, hospitality, media, and broader food systems, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive.
Grenada has also won many accolades including 10 Awards from USA Today, Readers’ Choice Awards and the Best Caribbean Beach: Paradise Beach, Carriacou.
Grenada was also listed in the top 22 best places to travel to in 2022 by Forbes as well as being among the top 10 ethical destinations in the world.
The island’s underwater sculpture park was listed as one of the top 25 Wonders of the World and Grenada is also the winner of 16 gold medals at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show.
Earlier this year, Minister of Trade and Industry, Paula Gopee-Scoon, led a trade mission to Grenada.
She noted the island is a significant trading partner for T&T, ranking as its 15th export destination in 2022 and fifth top export destination within Caricom.
Over the period 2018 to 2022, this country maintained a favourable trade balance with Grenada with the main exports being cement, biscuits, cigarettes, aerated beverages, cereals and toilet paper.