REACH Grenada’s International Tourism Partnerships Putting Grenada in the Spotlight
On June 2nd 2010, in partnership with REACH Grenada, a group of Tourism Management students from the forward-thinking Humber College in Toronto, Canada, visited Grenada as part of their ‘Study at Sea’ program. The visit was organized by REACH Grenada to help cultivate strategic relationships with international partners to raise Grenada’s profile as a leading socially responsible tourist destination.
Humber College’s ‘Study at Sea’, operated in partnership with the Institute for Shipboard Education, enables students to research, study and assess the individual tourism credentials of selected destinations. The College’s choice of Grenada reflects a recent shift in international tourism trends towards a growing demand for beautiful destinations that offer more socially conscious, eco-oriented travel experiences with opportunities to volunteer help to local communities.
Chris Thompson, Responsible Tourism Coordinator for the Federation of Tour Operators says: “At least two thirds of the people walking into a travel agency are looking for authenticity, they are looking for something being put back into the local destination, and that we are actually enhancing livelihoods.”
With its unique culture, pristine beaches, and REACH Grenada’s wide range of charitable projects, Grenada was identified by the Humber College students as an island extremely well poised to fulfill these requirements.
Docking at Grenada’s exclusive luxury hotel Laluna, one of REACH Grenada’s partners, the 24 students and 3 faculty followed an itinerary that included a tour of the hotel, a visit to a spice market and a chance to sample locally-sourced seafood at BB’s Crabback Caribbean Restaurant. In addition, an interview with Laluna owner Bernardo Bertucci increased their knowledge about the running of a hotel, aspects of Grenadian tourism and Laluna’s involvement with REACH Grenada’s Parent-Child Voluntourism trip, a working model of socially responsible tourism in Grenada, which took place in June 2010.
The students were also given a special opportunity to volunteer at the Queen Elizabeth Home (QEH) for Children, in Tempe, where REACH Grenada has funded a number of rehabilitative programs aimed at enhancing the lives of the children through yoga, meditation, psycho-social counseling and care-giver training. The students carried out various renovations including priming a storage container and painting furniture, as well as enjoying yoga and other fun activities with the children at the Home.
Rebecca Nichol, Tourism Management Student at Humber College commented on her experience: “The day was amazing, I could not have asked or expected any better. We got to be involved in something so amazing and life changing but at the same time we got to still see the island and experience some local cuisine, there is absolutely nothing that I would change about the day other than if we could do it again!”
Mary Lendway, MBA, Professor and Program Coordinator of the Tourism Management program at Humber College comments on the positive impact of this element of the students’ visit: “It was an honor to participate in the service project at the Queen Elizabeth Home – the children were wonderful and it was our privilege to be a part of their lives – even for a few hours – a transformational experience for our students and the beginning of a long lasting relationship.”
Marion G. Pierre, Executive Chairman of QEH, also expressed her gratitude to REACH Grenada: “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, the staff and children of the Queen Elizabeth Home, I thank you most sincerely for the visit and work done by the students of Humber College. It was heart-warming to see the tears of joy shed by some of the students and supervisors. The short time they spent either working or being with the children was a blessing to us all.”
REACH Grenada looks forward to developing more tourism partnerships and building on the great success of their Parent-Child Voluntourism trip which has raised funds for ongoing projects aimed at helping the children of Grenada.
A special Thanksgiving Parent-Child Voluntourism trip is scheduled to take place 23th-27th November 2010.