by Marlon Madden
KINGSTOWN, St Vincent & the Grenadines
As Tropical Storm Dorian takes aim for the Eastern Caribbean, tourism officials in St Vincent and the Grenadines are giving the assurance that the country’s systems are in place to protect the bread-and-butter industry.
Chief Executive Officer of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Association Glen Beache said while the national disaster organizations had plans in place for the wider population, the tourism industry was also required to have their own.
“Every tourism product here must have a disaster plan,” Beache told journalists at a press conference this morning ahead of the 2019 Sustainable Tourism Conference.
“So we have standards for taxi drivers, tour operators and tour guides, short-term car rentals and hotels. And part of the standards for the hotel is simply that you must have a disaster plan,” he said
Like other Caribbean countries, officials in St Vincent are keeping a close eye on Dorian as it moves across the region.
Earlier this year, Barbadian hoteliers and other tourism operators were urged to put plans in place for staff and guests in the event of a disaster as they shared best practices.
Beache said with the threat of the storm, tourism industry officials in St Vincent have to be “on point”.
He claimed other tourism destinations in the region have been looking to St Vincent for best practices.
He told Barbados TODAY: “We are very proud of the standards, so much so that a lot of other Caribbean islands are calling us to ask us for points on how we implemented it.”
Stating that the standards requirements came with a lot of backlash a few years ago, Beache said “people don’t like to change or try new things, but it was something that we feel needed to be done”.