Monday, January 02, 2012

SVG: Top ranked tourist destination

Jan 02, 2012 (Caribbean News Now - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Two of the world's most recognized international travel organizations have ranked St Vincent and the Grenadines among the world's top travel destinations. Both "Travel + Leisure" and "CNN" have been blown away with the magnetic and exotic beauty of our 32-island paradise in the sun. Travel + Leisure ranked SVG third among thirteen destinations world-wide, and CNN ranked us as being fifth among the nine they selected.

The report, which was published last Tuesday, listed the other eight destinations that made the CNN list as being Orlando-Florida, Chicago, the Netherlands, Uruguay, Atlantic Canada, England, Burma and the World of the Maya.
CNN quipped, "What's not to like about a tropical paradise that bills itself as one destination, 32 gorgeous Caribbean Islands? Located between St Lucia and Grenada, this island chain has long drawn vacationers with deep pockets, but it will become more accessible to a wider range of travelers thanks to a US$240 million international airport scheduled to open in St Vincent."
In compiling their list, CNN considered suggestions from Travel + Leisure and Budget Travel, but it was also based on recommendations from travel experts Robert Reid, a US travel editor for Lonely Planet. Also weighing in with their recommendations, were Martin Rapp senior vice president of leisure sales at Altour, Anne Banas, executive editor at Smarter Travel, and Jeanenne Tornatore, senior editor for

Commenting on St Vincent's impressive placement on the 2012 list, as being the best in the entire Caribbean, the group commented, "As always, some places will stand out above the rest when it comes to unforgettable things to see and do."
Were I in a decision-making position regarding St Vincent's tourism product, I would have pushed 'Vincymas' and our unique nine-mornings festivities as potential areas of future development. Eco-tourism and a 'tre-tre'-catching experience must be high on the list of activities seriously promoted as well.

One area that we as a people must look at is nautical tourism. As a tropical nation of 32 sunny and sandy islands, blessed with some of the best sailing, swimming and snorkeling in the entire world, it would be a gross error to ignore this advantage that we enviably possess. The naval academy planned for Canouan is a step in the right direction, and the Vincentian government must be complimented for this positive move.

Nautical tourism must be considered a tourist product related with entertainment activities in contact with bodies of water, where many different nautical activities can take place, always with an ecological outlook and respect for nature. In addition to its being an important complementary offer for a tourist destination, it is also a well defined product whose main characteristic is to offer the sea and beaches. This tourism activity is not isolated or specific, but a conglomerate of many branches of a particular type of activity, of public administration, infrastructure, and general complementary services.

"St Vincent and the Grenadines has long been an under-the-radar getaway for the jet-setting elite." This has been true for many years, ever since Princess Margaret of England built her home-away-from-home in Mustique many moons ago, and the Beatles vacationed here as well. They were quickly followed by the likes of the King and Queen of Greece, ex-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, Donald Trump, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Kate Moss, Phil Collins, Claudia Schiffer, Calvin Klein, Jerry Hall, David Copperfield, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Tommy Hilfiger and company. This truly, is the playground of the rich and famous!
Travel + Leisure also commented on the Argyle Airport's construction, which could only be a boon for this fabulously beautiful island. They noted that "the coming international airport would make the region more accessible to a broader audience." Comments like this put the lie to persons whose short-sightedness and or polluted political view- points prevent them from seeing the value of an international airport in this modern day and age.

The report was also complimentary of Young Island Resort, Palm Island Resort and the privately owned Petit St Vincent Resort, which has reopened after a top-to-bottom renovation. The resort is comprised of 22 stone-walled thatched-roof cottages done in earthy tones... where driftwood palapas now line the beach. The new Buccament Bay Resort and Mustique, with its world-class villas, came in for high praise as well.

Travel + Leisure observed that some of its picks for the 2012 destinations reflect travellers' increasing thirst for adventure and desire to immerse themselves in local customs. Their "clients are interested in remote, off-the-beaten- path destinations that still retain their traditional culture." So said Scott Wiseman, president of Abercrombie & Kent USA.
In their list of thirteen destinations, Travel + Leisure only selected Sri Lanka and Toronto ahead of St Vincent. They however listed SVG ahead of every Caribbean destination, and to complete the list they selected Guimaraes, Portugal; Abu Dhabi; Costa Navarino, Greece; Xishuangbanna, China; Southern Bahia, Brazil; Hamburg, Germany; Panama; Mozambique's Northern Coast, and Bentonville, Arkansas.

This exceptionally impressive showing bodes well for the future of St Vincent's tourism.

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