It is my pleasure to address the nation on the occasion of World Tourism Day under the theme “Tourism and the Digital Transformation.” Over the past decade or so we have seen rapid increase in the use of technology in all areas of our lives. Technological advances have led to improvement in areas such as science, medicine, commerce and agriculture. Digital communications and social media have changed the availability and use of information and have served to connect the world in ways previously unseen – our world has become a “global village”. This use of technology and the digital transformation we are witnessing is also leaving its imprint on the tourism industry, a growing and dynamic industry on which, Grenada is highly dependent.
It is now not only possible but widely used, to book experiences without human contact through one’s computer or smartphone. In fact, you can experience a destination or product via virtual or augmented reality without even physically setting foot at the location. Additionally, some organizations are already considering the integration of Artificial Intelligence into their business models.
A digitally transformed tourism sector can improve entrepreneurship, empower local communities, promote the efficient management of resources as well as increase the market share and visibility of any destination. As a nation, we need to better understand the growing economic, societal and environmental impacts of technology and innovation in tourism if the local industry is to enjoy sustained growth. In fact, not only must we understand, but we must engage the use of all available technologies to promote our tourism, to maintain and improve our sustainable practices and to ensure that the industry brings benefits to all our people for an extended time.
I believe there are innovative ideas right here in Pure Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique that are capable of revolutionizing the way our citizens and visitors experience all that this destination has to offer. I encourage citizens to give voice to these ideas. I also wish to encourage tourism enterprises to ensure that they keep abreast of the use of digital transformation to remain competitive. At the destination marketing level, my ministry along with the Grenada Tourism Authority will continue to lead the charge in further tapping into the opportunities provided by digital platforms and technology to ensure the world discovers, explores and shares Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean.
As citizens, we also have a number of digital social media platforms at our fingertips, including Facebook and Instagram which we know so well. I urge you to use them to share positive experiences about our country with the world, encouraging all to #FollowGrenada. We must pay attention to what we share, knowing that we are sending messages to the world and we need only our best to be seen and experienced. In Grenada, the Tourism industry provides direct and indirect employment for approx. 11,000 people and visitor spend pumps millions into our local economy.
Let’s work together to ensure that these benefits continue for future generations.