As Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, it gives me great pleasure to address you on the occasion of World Tourism Day 2019. This year the day is being commemorated under the theme ‘Tourism and Jobs: A better future for all’. As we examine this theme it is important for us as Grenadians to recognize the social, cultural and economic value of tourism to our country.
According to statistics, the tourism industry in Grenada employs approximately 10,500 people and contributes almost a quarter to our Gross Domestic Product through direct and indirect sources. This translates into people earning a salary and being able to provide for their families. For many, jobs in the tourism industry have meant that for the first time a member of the family could attend a secondary school or even a university. In some cases it has contributed to the owning of a family home. At the Community level, tourism creates opportunities for rural areas to create diverse ecotourism and other business ventures that can create sustainable jobs for the future.
On a larger scale, the revenue generated by tourism contributes to the fixing of our roads, our education system and all other Government functions. Additionally, we focus on preserving our heritage and traditions in order to share with our visitors, whether natural or man-made, tangible or intangible. Therefore, tourism plays an important role in our lives.
When one looks at our resources here in Grenada many things come to mind. Our natural beauty, our pristine white and black sand beaches, our waterfalls, our lush rain forest, our Sulphur Springs, our healthy reefs and so much more. What puts the icing on the cake is our warm and friendly people. Being blessed with so much, it is easy to see that Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique have a comparative advantage in Tourism. Therefore, we have to maximize our strengths.
This brings me to the focal point of my message. Choose a career in tourism today. The industry is diverse and dynamic and what tourism once was, has changed vastly especially with technology. Become a tour operator, a dive master, a chef, a hotelier, a restaurant owner, or create your own unique authentic experience that visitors can enjoy. You can also consider becoming a professional tour guide who can speak a foreign language and utilize your skills to be a master storyteller of the wonders of your island. The possibilities are endless. My Ministry and the Grenada Tourism Authority have already started getting our youth interested in Tourism, through the Tourism and Me booklet, which has been distributed in primary schools. We will continue to work to ensure that the small seeds we have planted, bear fruit. I ask all citizens to join hands; let us work together to secure the better future that Tourism can provide for us all. As we can see, Tourism is everybody’s business. Get involved.