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From the first Marriott-branded property in the destination to the highly anticipated opening of the first Beaches resort, major developments are underway in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Glen Beache, CEO of the St. Vincent and The Grenadines Tourism Authority, noted that Beaches St. Vincent will become “the flagship property for the brand.”
“The Beaches resort, at the end of the first phase, will be 350 rooms,” he said. “The great thing about this property is it’s right by the sea but it has a river running through it so they’ve taken advantage of the river. Some of the bungalows are going to be hanging over the river. It’s something unique and I can’t wait for it to be done.”
Sandals Resorts International has acquired Buccament Bay Spa and is in the process of transforming it into Beaches St. Vincent.
Describing the destination, Sandals Resorts International’s executive chairman Adam Stewart said, “It is a diamond of the Caribbean that’s almost completely undiscovered. And the reason it was almost completely untouched is it never had, up until five years ago, an international airport large enough to take commercial jets. As the government put that infrastructure in, this is a completely untapped and untouched destination that you have to see for yourself.”
Contracts have also been signed for the 250-room Marriott Mt. Wynne Resort and development is underway for Royal Mill, which will have 150 rooms. Recent additions to the room inventory include Soho Beach House Canouan, a boutique 40 bedroom property and LaVue on St. Vincent, a five-star resort with 19 rooms. The 18-room Grand View Beach Hotel has also undergone a massive renovation.
“The Canadian market is extremely important. Prior to COVID, the Canadian market was poised to make a big leap,” Shelley John, Director of Sales – Canada for Discover SVG, told Travel Courier. “For the first time we had just hit 10,000 visitors from Canada and that winter was going to be wonderful so we’re really hoping to move back to those numbers again.”
Although Canadians are currently able to visit via a connecting flight, non-stop Air Canada lift will take off on a weekly basis in November before moving up to twice-weekly service for the winter season in December.
“The diversity is beyond belief. We have a little bit of everything for everyone,” said Beache. “Thirty-two islands and cays of which St. Vincent is a volcanic island so black-sand beaches. On a sunny day, the waters of a black sand beach are clearer than that of a white-sand beach.”
New this month, St. Vincent and the Grenadines launched the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Expert Program, designed for agents to become destination experts and earn their place on upcoming FAM trips and incentives like an all-inclusive trip for two.
“It’s a training program for travel agents, tour operators,” said Beache. “Those of you who want to visit St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in order to be on one of those trips, you have to complete the Discover SVG Pro program.”
Upon completion of the program, agents receive an official DiscoverSVGPro certificate as well as three continuing education credits from The Travel Institute or ACTA.
Made up of 32 islands and cays, Beache describes St. Vincent and the Grenadines as “the most diverse destination in the Caribbean.”
For those looking for an exclusive island getaway, Petit St. Vincent, Palm Island and Young Island just off St. Vincent are all island resorts. Meanwhile, Bequia and Union both offer a “laid-back vibe.”
Meanwhile, Mustique is known for its lifestyles of the rich and the famous atmosphere, and Canouan is home to the only Mandarin Oriental resort in the Caribbean.
“Most of you have heard of Sandy Lane in Barbados,” he adds. “We have Sandy Lane Marina, which is probably the most beautiful marina in the Caribbean, brand new, where a lot of people get off their private jets, cross the road and they get onto their yachts. It’s something to behold and really see. It is absolutely stunning.”
Over on Mayreau Island, visitors will find Salt Whistle Bay beach, which he dubbed “the most beautiful beach.”
“If you’re judging beaches just by the quality of the sand and the water, it’s going to be hard to beat Salt Whistle Bay,” he said. “And then I move to the Tobago Cays. Pirates of the Caribbean, that’s where it was filmed.”
Not even included in the 32 islands and cays is Mopion island, an idyllic sandbar with one thatched umbrella.
Whether it’s adventure, romance, yachting, sailing, diving, or relaxing; boutique properties, luxury resorts or laid-back escapes, Beache said there’s something for every type of traveller in SVG.
“We’re ready and waiting for Canadians,” added John. “Sailing, diving, yachting, it’s a fantastic romantic destination. We are waiting to welcome Canadians.”
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