Recommend April 2014 - (Page 37)

caribbean onsitereview ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES TOURISM AUTHORITY O C T O B E R 2 0 13 Beachside on Palm Island. St. Vincent and the Grenadines david paul appell There's a good reason why St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) was chosen as a prime shooting location for the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie a decade ago-it's a destination untouched by mass tourism, where the castaway vibe of yore very much lives on, and at prices generally less (with key exceptions such as boldface-name magnets like Mustique) than neighboring destinations. This 32-island chain is the place for those true get-away-from-it-all types, located way down off the beaten path in the Caribbean's Windward Islands (about an hour's flight east from Barbados). That said, SVG will be interesting to watch in the next several years because of one particular potential game-changer: the December 2014 inauguration, after six years of construction, of the $240 million Argyle International Airport on the main island's eastern coast about 30 minutes from Kingstown. While right now SVG's airlift is limited, poor in quality on LIAT (as even the local authorities freely admit), and available only through Barbados, this 9,000-ft. runway will be able to handle widebodies from Europe and North America without a problem, and the government is in talks with a number of international airlines. The minister of tourism, sports and culture, Cecil McKie, recently declared that the country hopes to triple its tourism arrivals by air (just under 78,000 in 2012) captions........... within two years, though local lodging capacity (now around 1,900 visitors at any one time) is certainly not going to triple. According to Glen Beache, CEO of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority, "What this new access will allow us to do is not only raise our profile with the traveling public, but also allow us to work closely with the airlines, for example putting together packages with them and tour operators, which we have never been able to do before. That will help moderate prices. We will however continue to position ourselves as a uniquely unspoiled bit of the Caribbean." island hopping 1 ● capital indulgence Of the 32 islands, only eight are permanently inhabited. St. Vincent is the capital and largest of them-and boy, is it hilly. Capital city Kingstown is bustling and funky, dubbed "the city of arches" thanks to the arcades of its colonial-era stone buildings. A must-see is the St. Vincent Botanic Gardens, the oldest of its kind in the Americas (est. 1762). This 20-acre park has a variety of tropical flora including the original breadfruit tree brought in 1793 by Captain Bligh (yes, that Captain Bligh, he got around). It's also well worth a drive to a hill just north of town to see 207-yearold Fort Charlotte, with sweeping views over Kingstown and up the coast. It's once you get out on the island, however, that St. Vincent's true charms start unfolding. Wallilabou Bay, a 45-minute drive north of Kingstown, is the site of "Port Royal" in "Pirates of the Caribbean." The set is still there, with a little museum about the production, a bar, and a plank to walk-er, dock to dive off- should your clients so choose. Recommend clients visit Dark View april 2014 37 37-41 CB SVG.indd 37 3/25/14 8:14 AM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend April 2014

The Islands of Tahiti Travel Planner
Editor's Notes
Hotel Desk: Commune Hotels & Resorts
Tour Talk: Collette
What's New In Mexico
Fiji: Fantasy Islands
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
RCI’s Vision of the Seas
Florida Keys
Oahu, Aston-Style
3 Isles: The Azores, Canary Islands & Gotland, Sweden
Sun-Kissed Islands: Belize & Peru
Afloat on the Indian Ocean: Zanzibar & Madagascar

Recommend April 2014