The Sunny, Sleepy Charms Of St. Vincent & The Grenadines
With Martha Chapman
Shelley John, Director of Sales, Canada; and Glen Beache, CEO, St. Vincent & The Grenadines Tourism. Authority.
Andrew Phillips, Assistant Director of Sales, St. Vincent & The Grenadines Tourism Authority.
The stunning beach at Palm Island, St. Vincent & The Grenadines.
If you’re going to promote Caribbean tourism, I’d say the name Beache is a swell one to have. In fact, Glen Beache is a transplanted Canadian with roots in St. Vincent & The Grenadines who has followed his heart home and is now CEO of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority.
The Eastern Caribbean island nation, comprising 32 islands and cayes, is having its day in the sun thanks to the highly popular Rouge flights between Toronto and the two-year old international airport in St. Vincent, the largest and most populous of the islands. Flights are year-round, operating weekly in low season and twice weekly in high season. “Our airport has been a total game-changer,” says Beache.
So who is filling all those flights? “We’re not usually the destination for the first-time Caribbean traveller,” Shelley John, Director of Sales – Canada for the islands told me. “But people looking for a laid back, quiet destination are wise to seek us out.”
There are four main categories of clients who choose SVD: Sail and yacht; Dive; Adventure and Romance. Nature lovers can hike the crater of a volcano while romantics can stroll through the oldest botanical garden in the western hemisphere. Those looking to totally chill need go no further than Happy Island: an offshore speck created by conch shells and occupied by a bar. That’s all.
Speaking of bars, Beache has some F&B suggestions for clients: those who dare are recommended to try Sunset Rum – the strongest white rum in the world. And he assures me that the seafood is not only fresh but inexpensive: “I’m amazed at how cheap the lobster is.” Fave resto? He gives the honour to French Verandah.
“Our tagline is The Caribbean You Are Looking For,” he says, referencing the uncrowded beaches, authentic welcome and spectacular scenery. “We never want to be crowded with tourists. If I had my way there would be a waiting list to go there!”
Waiting list? Sign me up!
Martha Chapman Columnist
An OJ columnist since 2006, Martha is responsible for the Biting Questions features as well as special seasonal series. A travel industry lifer known to all in the biz, she frequently covers industry events for Open Jaw.