MSC Cruises is one of many cruise lines that calls in Grenada (Image: Grenada Tourism Authority)
This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed
Caribbean tri-island state Grenada, which comprises Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, has recorded steady year-on-year cruise growth over the past two years.
“We saw a 19.3% increase in passenger arrival numbers from 2014 to 2015 and a further 12.2% rise in 2016,” says Clarice Modeste-Curwen, Grenada’s Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Culture and Cooperatives. “However, the Grenadian government is fully committed to growing volume of cruise traffic even further in 2017 and beyond.”
Grenada’s government has five key goals to help the island achieve this growth. They include: increasing cruise calls to Grenada; moving from a seasonal to year-round cruise business; building strategic purchasing alliances with global brands; developing training and employment opportunities for locals; and co-creating sustainable investment opportunities for the cruise industry.
Modesto-Curwen attributes Grenada’s current cruise success to the strong partnerships the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA), the Grenada Ports Authority and the Ministry of Tourism have built with public and private sector businesses, cruise operators, shore excursion providers, and more.
“Together we manage and market the Pure Grenada and Cruise Grenada brands, train tourism suppliers, and provide safe, diverse activities for cruise and overnight visitors,” she explains. “In 2017, we’ll continue to redesign, re-package and promote our unique cultural, heritage, adventure and eco-tourism products for cruise visitors.”
Since 2014, the Ministry of Tourism and its partners have showcased Grenada’s cruise offerings at major industry shows, including the annual Seatrade Cruise Global and Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association’s (FCCA) conferences.
“We’ll continue to meet with major European and US-based cruise brands to strengthen our corporate relationships and secure more cruise calls,” comments Modeste-Curwen. “The GTA will also continue to capitalise on its status as a platinum FCCA member to network with cruise itinerary planners and port developers, and gain access to competitive industry data.”
Grenada’s Ministry of Tourism also surveys cruise operators and consumers to find ways to improve its port and shore excursion operations, and shape policy decisions and business development incentives. Currently, cruise lines benefit from volume discounts for potable water provisioning, waste management and disposal services. “These incentives aim to increase seasonal traffic, encourage more cruise lines to call at off-peak times, and boost cruise visitor spending,” says Modeste-Curwen.
Last December, the GTA contracted US-based PR firm Cheryl Andrews Marketing Communications (CAMC) to work with its sales offices in the US, Canada and the Caribbean to execute its global marketing campaign.
“In 2017, CAMC will collaborate with GTA teams in Grenada and the US to strengthen our corporate relationships with cruise lines,” Modeste-Curwen comments. “CAMC and our teams will also collaborate with travel agents – including members of Cruise Lines International Association – to promote our destination and drive cruise sales.”
The GTA has launched a social media-based Cruise Ship Visitor Incentive programme to better engage with visiting cruise passengers.
“We share videos and photos online and show cruise guests what they can see, do and buy while they’re on Grenada and Carriacou,” remarks Modeste-Curwen. “In the past six months, the Sun Hunters ATV Tours, Caribbean Rentals ATV Tours, Calypso Island, bowling alley Lavo Lanes and St. Margaret’s Fall Zipline have been added to our already extensive activities and entertainment portfolio. These attractions, our corporate partnerships and marketing initiatives are helping to make Grenada and Carriacou more attractive to cruise lines and their guests.”