Milestone prompts year-long festivities in Grenada
Story IAN STALKER/ photography HUGH WHYTE
Grenada’s tourism trade is getting a helping hand from Air Canada, with the carrier having upped its winter schedule to four weekly flights to the tropical island, giving Ontario residents more flexibility to reach the destination.
And those who do venture there this year will find it a particularly festive place as the island celebrates half a century of independence throughout 2024. Celebrations, which are already underway, culminate on Feb.7, the actual anniversary date of the 50-year milestone, says Petra Roach, CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority.
“There will be a massive parade and everyone will be sporting the national colours,” she says of that day. But reminders of the anniversary will be visible throughout this year, regardless of the month people visit, she adds.
Roach praises her destination as a “very authentic, very community-oriented” part of the world that can accommodate people with differing interests, among them yachters, with Grenada itself having six marinas and nearby Carriacou having two more.
January and February see multiple yachting events, including Grenada Sailing Week, to be held from Jan. 28 to Feb. 2.
Roach adds that the underwater exploration set will be in their element in Grenada, with a destination that has multiple dive operators also being home to an underwater ocean park of concrete statues for divers to view. A similar underwater park is planned for Carriacou, opening in June.
Roach, herself a diver, says Grenada is committed to safeguarding its coral reefs, ensuring it will retain a following among divers. Roach says her particularly green island produces 12% of the world’s “fine cacao,” with an annual chocolate festival held in a part of the world where chocolate is used in the likes of yoga and massages.
“We perfected the cacao tree-to-chocolate bar concept,” Roach says.
The destination’s tourism infrastructure ranges from self-catering apartments to all-inclusive resorts, with Royalton and Sandals among brands represented there. Roach says the “very luxurious” Six Senses brand will arrive in Grenada in April, the company’s debut in this hemisphere. “Ultra-modern” Silver Sands will open a sister property called The Beach House in early February.
Sunwing joins Air Canada in linking Toronto and Grenada, with Sunwing now having weekly service to the destination.
But Roach promises that visitors won’t find a destination teeming with tourists. “Grenada is everything but mass tourism,” she states.
Roach says Grenada is committed to working with travel agents, citing its expert.puregrenada.com site, designed for agents. As well, May has been designated Travel Agents Month and will provide visiting agents with both discounts and free activities. “They can get up close and personal with Grenada,” Roach adds of May.
Grenada will play host to the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development to be held from April 22-24.