There’s Pleasure in this Business. Certainly in Pure Grenada!

Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

Grenada always seems a little larger than its 133 square mile size. To me, anyway. Not that it takes particularly long to get from one place to another, but something about cloud-tipped mountains makes them seem further away. And viewing this from the air is a beauty to behold.

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon when I stepped off my LIAT flight at the Maurice Bishop International Airport in Grenada. A warm, Spice Island welcome from the local authorities upon arrival got my week off to a great start.

Shortly thereafter I was on my way to the Radisson Grenada Beach Resort, my very enjoyable home-away-from-home for the next week or so. This was the beginning of an anxiety-filled, awe-inspiring, industry-networking, truly educational adventure known as State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC). Arranged annually by the Caribbean Tourism Organization, this year’s SOTIC was expertly hosted by the Government of Grenada and attended by almost four hundred mostly happy delegates.

The conference itself delivered what I hoped it would: Content that was relevant to the core constituents and helpful to a range of knowledge levels, from seasoned professionals to students and future tourism ministers.

SOTIC 2017-Friday-Evening-61 (1)The winner of the popular Caribbean Tourism Youth Congress competition, Francis Alexander, 15, of Saint Lucia, pictured with me. Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

Most of all, the intention was to make the event enjoyable. After all, it was a tourism conference and this was Grenada! So when the delegates were not in session, they let loose. There is much pleasure in Pure Grenada.

SOTIC 2017-Tuesday-Morning-1.jpg-51.jpgZip lining is one way Grenada got our adrenaline pumping. Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

SOTIC 2017-Tuesday-Morning-1.jpg-2.jpgSOTIC Travel Journalists hard at work! Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

SOTIC 2017-Tuesday-Morning-1.jpg-54Some looked like seasoned professionals. Brain Major, Executive Editor – Caribbean and Latin America, Travel Alliance Media pictured here. Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

Here’s what Brian Major had to say about his Grenada high-wire challenge experience, “I would describe it as scary. Ha ha! Thank goodness there was a harness. Incredibly fun and the dip in the waterfall made it just perfect!”

SOTIC 2017-Tuesday-Morning-1.jpg-64.jpgPhoto Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

SOTIC 2017-Tuesday-Morning-1.jpg-61Others seemed perfectly relaxed! Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

SOTIC 2017-Tuesday-Morning-1.jpg-3Delegates having fun under the watchful eye of the law! Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

OK, so the conference was not only about high-wire thrills. There was some serious food for thought in the formal presentations. Dorsey Levens, a U.S National Football League Super Bowl winner, was the keynote speaker who captivated the audience with a motivational presentation.

SOTIC 2017-Wednesday-Morning-3Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

When his work was done Dorsey ditched the suit and headed for some pure Grenada fun. The friendly paparazzi spotted him hiking, diving the Underwater Sculpture Park and fishing. Yep. He was even lucky enough to catch not one, but two huge Mahi Mahi!

dorsey fishing 1Dorsey showing off additional skills. Photo Credit: Dorsey Levens

Being unable to take his fresh catch of the day back with him to the United States, our star fisher had the Mahi Mahi professionally sliced up and donated to a grateful hotel’s kitchen.

dorsey fishing 2Photo Credit: Dorsey Levens 

Here’s what Dorsey felt about his overall experience at #SOTIC2017 in #PureGrenada.

Grenada itself has a unique story to tell. It has a certain captivating allure that exemplifies a natural Caribbean wonderland. I guess that’s why they call it Pure Grenada.

SOTIC 2017-Friday-Afternoon-1Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

From the stunning beaches and plush tropical landscapes, to the tantalizing experiences of local herbs and spices dancing around your palate when you try native dishes such as lambi, oil down and callaloo lasagna, this island knows how to awaken your senses.

SOTIC 2017-Wednesday-Evening-7.jpgPalate pleasure. Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

And then there’s the entertainment. From the very beginning of the conference – literally at the Opening Ceremony – we realized this island could get a person’s heart rate up!

SOTIC 2017-Tuesday-Evening.-50.jpgIf this doesn’t get your attention, you perhaps need to check for a pulse. Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

SOTIC 2017-Tuesday-Evening.-42Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

Against all odds and in the midst of delightful distractions we were able to deliver a meaningful, productive and enjoyable State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC).

It was a full, energetic week of engaging, innovative and relevant discussion about the state of the tourism industry in general, and in the Caribbean in particular. Delegates used the opportunity to network with high-level industry leaders and strategic partners from across the region and around the world. Melissa Noel, one of the participants, described it this way: “This year’s SOTIC was one of the best. There were meaningful plans of action following session discussions in a year where natural disasters greatly affected so many countries in the region.”

Kudos and special thanks to Grenada’s Minister of Tourism, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen and her team; to CEO Patricia Maher and the Grenada Tourism Authority staff including Francine Stewart and Kirl Hoschtialek; and to Sylma Brown Bramble, Annette Stowe, Marcia Napier and the entire staff of the Caribbean Tourism Organization; to the many volunteers including Clementina Thomas, Lynn Francois, Myrna Freeman and Carmel McIntosh, for working tirelessly to execute a successful and spectacular SOTIC. To our conference anchor Carol Hay, to the presenters, sponsors, industry partners, technicians, supporters and students, thank you! To the media, we greatly appreciated your participation and your coverage.

 I met everyone’s favourite photographer, Arthur Daniel.

Arthur Daniel 3Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel

Arthur, also known as “Arty” by his friends in Grenada, is a Caribbean Adventure Ambassador who has the unique ability to capture just the right mood of the moment. These are some of Arty’s SOTIC images.

SOTIC 2017-Monday-Afternoon-7Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

SOTIC 2017-Wednesday-Morning-88Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

SOTIC 2017-Tuesday-Evening.-74Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

Well done to all participants in the Caribbean Tourism Youth Congress, from The Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, Martinique, Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts, Trinidad & Tobago, and the Turks & Caicos Islands.

According to this Travel Weekly article by Gay Nagle Myers, “the 15th annual Youth Congress, the closing session of last week’s Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) State of the Industry Conference in Grenada was, as one CTO official put it, ‘freaking awesome’.”

SOTIC 2017-Friday-Evening-56 (1)Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

Special congratulations to the winner Francis Alexander, 15, of Saint Lucia, as well as, Michael Wallace, 17, of The Bahamas, (2nd place winner), and Le-An Telesford, 15 of Trinidad & Tobago who placed third.

SOTIC 2017-Friday-Evening-60Michael Wallace, 17, of The Bahamas, (2nd place) winner pictured with one of the youth congress sponsors, Karolin Troubetzkoy, president of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association. Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

SOTIC 2017-Friday-Evening-59Le-An Telesford, age 15 of Trinidad & Tobago, (3rd place) pictured with our Director of Resource Mobilization & Development, Bonita Morgan. Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

The final word goes to the media, those travel journalists who work their magic for this region every day. With your permission we’ll share some of your images and comments here:

Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon aka “JetSetSarah”

22366371_1327688390686949_807629252955341653_nPhoto Credit: JetSetSarah

Sarah describes herself as a “Carivangelist” spreading the gospel of the region and sharing its diverse culture, people and cuisine with the rest of the world. Sarah’s role at this year’s SOTIC was twofold.

She was featured on the Stakeholder’s Speak Out panel discussion where she shared her own unique experiences and recommendations on how we can supercharge the Caribbean brand to meet the needs of the new explorers.

SOTIC 2017-Friday-Evening-95Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

As an experienced travel journalist, Sarah posted updates to her social media channels everyday about news emanating from the conference as well as awe-inspiring content about Grenada.

jet2jetsetjetsetsarahjet3jet4

Here’s what Sarah had to say about her overall experience at #SOTIC2017 in #PureGrenada.

 

What Ed said

ed headshot

Photo Credit: Ed Wetschler

Meet Ed Wetschler, Caribbean Editor for Recommend Magazine.

Not only did Ed produce consistent daily updates on Twitter from SOTIC, but he also took audiences on a fascinating peek at Grenada behind the scenes.

ed 1ed 2ed 3ed6ed 4ed7ed 5ed8ed9

Here’s what Ed wrote about his overall experience at #SOTIC2017 in #PureGrenada…“best damned SOTIC I have ever attended.”

Janet Silvera

SOTIC 2017-Monday-Morning-20Photo Credit: Arthur Daniel via Caribbean Tourism Organization

Thank you, Janet Silvera, the Jamaica Gleaner journalist we can always count on for insightful questions and comments. Janet posted consistent updates on her social media channels. Here’s how she felt about her experience at #SOTIC2017 in #PureGrenada.

And for a truly professional TV experience, our special thanks to Judy Chong Dennison and her team at JCD and Associates. To view what Judy and Anthony are airing throughout the Caribbean on their popular show Caribbean Passport, click on the following link: https://app.frame.io/d/2EZSaz4y

Yes, we got the business done, but Grenada was pure pleasure.

We look forward to seeing you at #SOTIC2018 in Nassau. Our challenge will be to prove that SOTIC is better in The Bahamas!

  

 

 

 

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