Q & A with Glen Beache, CEO of the SVG Tourism Authority

written by | Posted on April 1st, 2014

The Princess Margaret Beach.

The Princess Margaret Beach.

David Paul Appell, a Recommend contributing writer, recently visited St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In the April issue, he writes about this 32-island chain, touching upon the hotels, activities and must-see spots. During Appell’s visit, he sat down with Glen Beache, CEO of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority. Here’s a snippet of that conversation:

David Paul Appell (DPA): St. Vincent and the Grenadines has long been a niche and under-the-radar tourism product. How will the new Argyle Airport change the way the destination is positioned and marketed?

Glen Beache (GB): What this new access will allow us to do is not only raise our profile with the traveling public but also now work closely with the airlines, for example putting together packages with them and tour operators, which we have never been able to do before. That will help moderate prices. We will however continue to position ourselves as a uniquely unspoiled bit of the Caribbean.

DP: Tourism Minister McKie has spoken of tripling tourism arrivals within two years of the airport opening as a result of increased traffic. Given the fact that lodging capacity is just 1,900, how realistic is this?

GB: It may be that doubling is more realistic within two years, and that is feasible in part because now our hotels don’t run at 100-percent occupancy, especially in the off season. We believe that improved access and packages will be able to generate demand during those periods such as summertime.

DPA: How does the government intend to try balancing a large increase in tourism with preserving the unspoiled nature that attracts that same tourism?

GB: We absolutely do not want to lose that. But fortunately, it’s fairly easy for us to control what happens here. Limitations on room stock will keep us from overgrowing, and those limitations will not disappear. This is a multi-island destination and they are small islands – there are simply not large plots of coastal land available for mega-development. On the largest island, St. Vincent, we have 463 acres put aside for hotel development at Mt. Wynne, on the Leeward coast near Layou – after that there’s no other land available. So it’s a combination of political will and practical realities. We absolutely do not want to lose that. But fortunately, it’s fairly easy for us to control what happens here. Limitations on room stock will keep us from overgrowing, and those limitations will not disappear. This is a multi-island destination and they are small islands – there are simply not large plots of coastal land available for mega-development. On the largest island, St. Vincent, we have 463 acres put aside for hotel development at Mt. Wynne, on the Leeward coast near Layou – after that there’s no other land available. So it’s a combination of political will and practical realities.

To become a St. Vincent and the Grenadines Destination Specialist, visit edu.recommend.com.