SVG already reaping airport dividends

Though saying that St Vincent and the Grenadines is poised for “a major take off” in tourism with its new state-of-the-art international airport, minister of tourism, sports and culture Cecil McKie has told Barbados and other neighbouring islands not to see his country as a competitor.

St Vincent and the Grenadines opened its new EC$729 million (BDS$540 million) Argyle International Airport (AIA) in February this year, welcoming some major airlines along
with it.

It also raised doubt about the continued use of the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) in Barbados and the Piarco International Airport in Trinidad as hubs for international passengers to and from Kingstown.

However, speaking to Barbados TODAY on the sidelines of a trade show at Caribbean Week in New York, McKie said it was not about competition.

“[Barbados] has provided some logistical connections for St Vincent and the Grenadines. So we have been very grateful for that over the years. We have also benefited from such connections through Trinidad and Tobago and St Lucia. So I think that those destinations will continue to provide supplementary support to the destination,” he said.

“We market the Caribbean as one destination. I think it is very important we continue to do that even as we capitalize on our individual strengths. So I think we have a lot to learn from each other and we should stay away from being fierce competitors, but we do our own marketing in our corners and develop the Caribbean as a number one destination in the world,” the minister added.

At the same time, McKie said the Argyle International Airport would have to eventually become independent so that visitors could fly directly to St Vincent.

“That is going to be important and I expect that our tourism arrivals by air will grow very rapidly,” he said.

Earlier this year, a confident Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) Alvin Jemmott gave the assurance that local tourism officials had nothing to fear, for the time being, from the new AIA.

He had contended that it would take a considerable amount of time before there was any impact.

“I think it is a good thing for the Caribbean because the Caribbean is the most sought after [tourism destination] and it will also be a good thing for St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Jemmott had said. “I don’t see any immediate fallout for Barbados because things of this nature will take time to take root and plans that have been made will not change overnight.”

The St Vincent and the Grenadines’ minister of tourism told Barbados TODAY that the island has already been getting a lot of attention from international carriers who are ready to schedule direct flights to the destination.

This, he said, coupled with the island’s popular yachting and larger cruise vessels, put St Vincent and the Grenadines’ tourism product in a position to experience major growth.

“With our new airport we have already seen interest from airlines. Some of them announced scheduled flights and we have done some charters already,” an upbeat McKie said, adding that it was remarkable to get this type of attention in just three months.

“We are also doing some work in terms of improving our access to the larger cruise lines. So, within the next six or so months, we should have addressed that aspect as well. That is going to make a difference as well, because previously it was really a hassle. It was challenging to get to the destination St Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.

19 Responses to SVG already reaping airport dividends

  1. Ras June 9, 2017 at 2:08 am

    We used to call St.Vincent a Small Island now all the Small Islands laughing at we, Image St.Vincent has a state-of-the-art international airport, with Air Bridges if you please and in Barbados you have to walk through the rain.
    We are not Gem of the Caribbean anymore
    We are now a Nation of Slackers and Cannibals.

  2. Saga Boy June 9, 2017 at 3:04 am

    @Ras. We are still way ahead of the game. Air Bridges are on the way. Visitor arrivals in SVG are way below Barbados. The number of hotel rooms are very small when compared to Barbados.

    • Ras June 9, 2017 at 8:17 am

      The number of hotel rooms may be small when compared to Barbados but cheaper and it sweeter, I was there Easter weekend, going back for nine mornings at Christmas time
      Come and enjoy what St.Vincent has to offer, you might just be able to buy some land there as you can’t afford none in Barbados.

  3. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner June 9, 2017 at 6:14 am

    If manage correctly SVG will surpass backwards Barbados where pretty much everything is done like it is still 1917.

  4. harry turnover June 9, 2017 at 6:29 am

    Saga Boy,he just looking at the Airport and not the infrastructure of the Island as though tourists will now boycott Bdos and st.lucia and head there as though St.Vincent is not a nation of slackers ans cannibals too….and yes Bdos was once regarded as the GEM of the Caribbean…PRIOR to 2008
    No education and no common sense either.You need to get that mop off ya head.

    • Ras June 9, 2017 at 8:11 am

      St. Vincent,Grenada, St.Lucia, St.Kitts, Antigua ahead of Barbados only Dominica behind now.
      When Barbados dollar is devalued its all over for Barbados
      Harry Turncoat there are Tourist who already boycott Bdos

    • Ras June 9, 2017 at 8:44 am

      I had to run from Barbados during the Reign of Terror 1976-1986
      When BLP run out Ralph Gonsalves now PM of St.Vincent
      also Rickey Singh a Guyana-born journalist who lived in Barbados with his family and a number of other persons
      After BLP bring out a battalion of soldiers in full gear with automatics weapons to out a fire I had to run to Jamaica where I did my BSc Business Administration at UWI mona campus
      Jamaica is where I learnt common sense
      Spent over 10 years in Africa so I think different
      I am no yard fowl or stool pigeon
      Neither do I tow lines

  5. Alex Alleyne June 9, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Now SVG can put more money into LIAT without blinking seeing that BDS is always being used as the cash-cow…..ATM…..Money Donkey.

  6. Saga Boy June 9, 2017 at 8:57 am

    @ Harry Turnover. You are correct. It don’t work so. It will be long in coming for all those countries to take over Barbados. Those cities still look like broad street in the 1970s.

    Rawle Spooner you cant be serious. Have you visited SVG recently?
    What is the current unemployment in SVG? What is the minimum wage and the quality of life comopared to Barbados?

  7. Saga Boy June 9, 2017 at 8:58 am

    @ Harry Turnover. You are correct. It don’t work so. It will be long in coming for all those countries to take over Barbados. Those cities still look like broad street in the 1970s.

    Rawle Spooner you cant be serious. Have you visited SVG recently?
    What is the current unemployment in SVG? What is the minimum wage and the quality of life compared to Barbados?

  8. Kevin June 9, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Bajans to love to pull down their own country. Why the naysayers dont emigrate to St Vincent, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Guyana and Haiti? They wont. Still compared to Barbados the standard of living is still way below, social services and amenities are still below that of Barbados. Unemployment is still way higher that Barbados. However for political reasons and trying to make the government look bad people would come on here to comment and say Barbados is now at the bottom.

  9. Ras June 9, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Kevin I guess you have not been to St. Kitts, St.lucia, Grenada recently, take a cruise on Carnival
    Don’t wait till the dollar devalue

  10. Peter June 9, 2017 at 10:45 am

    All these comments are plagued with a Caribbean disease called INSULARITY . Its symptoms are envy and jealousy. encouraged especially by politicians who pretend to be encouragers of regional unity. Kevin, I suspect you are a St. Lucian as they are the only country in the world that spells the word Immigration with the letter ‘e’ at the beginning. All other countries spell it correctly with an ‘i’ Even the big sign at your ports of entry desk at your airports spells it “Emigration” The landing and departure forms are correctly spelt though. Oh please I don’t love Lucians any different, even though my English and Canadian friends regard them as illiterate….. I think the ladies are beautiful especially the Shabines from down South in Choiseul and Soufriere. and oh They have great soupap. Bajans call it ‘clutch’ English people call it grip or vice…. great… I love it.
    Hey man… Gabby say…. “Dat is we Culcha”

    • Ras June 9, 2017 at 11:59 am

      Poor Peter Rabbit all on his mind is soupap
      Nothing of substance to contribute, Typical modern day bajan educated no common sense

  11. Kevin June 9, 2017 at 11:15 am

    @ Ras, Soon to going to Grenada hopefully. I have been to St. Vincent, St. Kitts and Dominica and St. Lucia. And if I had a choice, I aint leaving bout hay! Only one that comes close is probably St. Lucia.

  12. Ras June 9, 2017 at 11:25 am

    No problem Kevin nice we can reason with out calling each other names or been thin skin and disrespectful, that is the hallmark of a real educated person with common sense
    I prefer St. Kitts but spends most of my time in Jamaica.

  13. Peter June 9, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    Ras, I most sincerely apologize if I offended you in any way. For sure I don’t know if you do have a soupap or a clutch. I’m sure you’re a male and don’t. If however you focused on the mainstay of my comment and not the jest which was really a silly side bar, you would have noticed the serious area of Caribbean unity, love and respect. I travel quite frequently both regionally and internationally and I do enjoy all the different cultures, foods and lifestyles to say the least. sorry you had to run out of Barbados but in my order, I was taught NEVER to offend any government nor get involved in any illegal unrest nor civil disturbance. I wish you and all well. Travel safely whenever and wherever you go.

  14. Ras June 9, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    All is well here Pete I am not offended nor thin skinned, getting ready to head off to Panama have to go Trinidad- Columbia- Panama as I not paying for no US visa so can’t go through Miami, I am a retired freedom fighter enjoying the rewards of my hard work.
    I straddle the fence and throw punches left, right and center see what people are made of.

  15. dave June 11, 2017 at 9:42 am

    With some of the comments on this post one would likely to think that we not one Caribbean, we either start building each other up or wither and die separately


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