Promoting Pure Grenada and the Caribbean experience

Jerry Rappaport tells Rebecca Gibson how the Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association is enhancing the cruise experience in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique

Promoting Pure Grenada and the Caribbean experience
Cruise passengers can visit more than 10 beautiful waterfalls in Pure Grenada
This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2017 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

Comprising Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, the tri-island State of Grenada has been dubbed the world’s most ‘instagrammable island’ by Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, award-winning travel writer, editor, TV host and Caribbean travel expert. In a Facebook video posted during her trip to the Caribbean island this April, Greaves-Gabbadon and a fellow travel writer cite the friendly people and the ‘cinematically beautiful’ combination of lush hills, waterfalls and colourful buildings as key reasons to visit.

Jerry Rappaport, president of the board of directors for Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association (GHTA), agrees. “Grenada stands out from other Caribbean cruise destinations because of our warm and hospitable people, unique spices, rich heritage and culture, and the natural beauty of our tri-island state.”

Rappaport attributes Grenada’s tourist appeal to its multiple shore excursion options, as well as cultural festivities including Independence Day and National Colours Day in February, the Pure Grenada Chocolate Fest and the Pure Grenada Music Festival in May, and the SpiceMas Carnival Parades in August.

“Our tour operators take explorers to see the natural beauty of our beaches and rainforest, and learn about nutmeg and cocoa harvesting, and how chocolates are produced in bean-to-bar processes at four locations,” Rappaport says. “Other must-do activities are tubing on Balthazar River, the Grenada High Wire Challenge course and the zip line at St. Margaret’s Falls. The GTA, GHTA and Ministry of Tourism continue to work with private businesses to develop more garden tours and hiking trails.”

Whatever they are doing, the GHTA wants to ensure visitors enjoy the Pure Grenada experience so it collaborates with local hotels, restaurants, bars, tourist attractions, and the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA).

“We encourage companies to recruit the best and brightest minds – both young and experienced – so each visitor wants to return and tell others about Grenada after having such remarkable experiences,” says Rappaport. “Our tourism staff is trained to provide a high-quality service that meets international standards. To further that goal, the GHTA periodically sponsors both staff and management training sessions for hotels and restaurants. We also work with the GTA and the Grenada Investment Development Corporation to attract business investments that support the development of our human resources.”

To drive cruise growth, the GHTA and GTA collaborate with industry partners like the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA).

“We also educate visiting travel agents about the ‘Pure Grenada, Spice of the Caribbean’ brand, and market it to itinerary planners from cruise lines,” says Rappaport. “This June, we hosted FCCA president Michele Paige, Carnival Cruise Line’s Leon Sutcliffe and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s Federico Gonzalez-Denton.”

Mico Cascais, Carnival’s former vice president of tour operations, is also helping the Pure Grenada brand to develop its cruise offering.

“We hosted Mico for a destination visit and a product assessment exercise,” says Rappaport. “Mico understands the actions that are required for Grenada to deliver the best guest experience every time. He has provided feedback to our private tourism businesses and public sector destination management companies as they upgrade shore excursion offerings for visiting cruise passengers and stay-over guests ahead of the 2017-2018 winter cruise season.”

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
Friday, December 22, 2017