Grenada is the love of my life and the place that makes it possible for me to find the impetus to create. So imagine my anticipation when my love unveiled its new brand identity at the Ministry of Tourism’s office in Grenada on Valentines Day.
Positioning the island as ‘off the beaten track’ and a haven for the discerning explorer, our tri-island state fondly referred to as ‘the island of spice’ for many years, will now come to be known as PURE GRENADA – a word voiced by a child at Father Mulligan Home for Boys to express his home country.
The new logo stays true to the islands national symbol, production of nutmeg and mace and reflects Grenada’s deep Amerindian roots and ancestral heritage. The tagline Free To Wonder encourages visitors to bask in unspoilt treasures like Levera Beach and discover hidden waterfalls like Acoin and Adelphi.
I caught up exclusively with Honorable Alexandra Otway-Noel, Grenada’s newly appointed Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture at The Dorchester in London. She has been the driving force behind the rebrand to reposition the country as a major tourism destination and has done so with a dedicated team.
Name: Honorable Alexandra Otway-Noel Place of birth: Toronto Current residence: Grenada Occupation: Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture Growing up in Grenada was pure freedom. I spent my childhood playing in plum trees and my youthful years sailing and venturing to waterfalls. We didn’t have the technology kids have today so we used our imagination.
I left home at 17 and travelled to Canada to study Art. I jumped right into it, got myself a part-time job, earned money, brought nice shoes and focused on forging my own path. It was my opportunity to experience different things, meet people from a diverse range of backgrounds and just get stuck in with city life. Whenever I felt homesick there was always an auntie I could go by for my Oil Down (Grenada’s national dish). After taking a broader approach to my creative interests, I decided to specialise in advertising, marketing and public relations. I got an early start in the travel and tourism industry right after graduating and I’ve never left the industry since.
If you told me five years ago I was going to be a politician I would have laughed hysterically, but becoming Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture was a natural transition. I’ve always been involved in community projects, charitable organisations, carnival and social events. In my view politics is about people. I’m not a politician who wants to sit in an ivory tower I’m a team player. I am contactable via facebook, approachable enough to answer the direct questions of people in the streets and I value nothing more than having a heart-to-heart with members of the community.
In Grenada one third of our government is made up of women. Our Governor General is a woman named Dr. Cecile La Grenada and women chair several organisations under my ministry. Women play a significant role in the running of this country and we are taking more of an active role on the front line. The most important thing for a woman in a leadership role is a strong support network. I often work though lunch, throughout the night and sometimes 7 days a week. There are times when I have to schedule in my husband, but he understands the nature of a newly appointed minister. I have a young son so balancing family life can be challenging, but the beauty of family life in the Caribbean is the sentiment that it takes a village to raise a child.
Image by Dwain Thomas
When I was presented with the opportunity to run for South St George I went for it because I felt Grenada could do better, we needed creativity and restyling, we needed ingenuity and a fresher perspective and we needed to work together and work hard. Through the process I have been and continue to be true to myself and my constituents by not making unreasonable promises. Ultimately it is a team effort across the board. I want to engage more with the population and inform them of the importance of the tourism sector. When visitors come to Grenada to enjoy and respect our country and culture, it is also the responsibility of the population to make them feel at home. When journalist come to Grenada, I challenge them to get in touch with the older generation, listen to their stories and find out firsthand about the history of our country. When Grenadians in the diaspora return home, it is important for them to contribute to the countries growth. I visited London to speak to the Grenadian diaspora who expressed their frustration of the high taxation on UK flights preventing them from visiting more often. I am in talks with airlines to find ways to regulate fares and make travelling to Grenada more affordable. Its unfortunate, but it’s the reality we face regionally as well as internationally.
Grenada is a magnificent destination and has so much to offer, so it was important for us to reposition and rebrand Grenada. We want quality not quantity, we want to preserve our environment, maintain its beauty and be mindful of the huge strain tourism can have on the environment. We are focusing on the more discerning traveller and our diaspora who make up a large chunk of the market, which is why we have rebranded Grenada as Pure. So far there has been a general burst of positivity towards the rebranding and repositioning of Grenada. We have something special and so does every other island. The whole Caribbean needs to work together because we are competing against the world. I am a little bit impartial and I have to say in Grenada you’re not a tourist you’re a guest.
I am a ComplexdWoman because I’m a chameleon. I can be seen sitting on the block having a Guinness or having tea at The Dorchester. I was brought up to treat everyone with respect, no matter who that person is or where they come from. Human beings are human beings and that has contributed to my success in my political career thus far. People know that my relationship with them is authentic…I’m not faking it.
Discover what is PURE about GRENADA via this video
Video produced by Grenada Tourism Authority in collaboration with True Blue Bay Resort and Villas, Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association, InfocusHD and Camper & Nicholsons Marinas. Soundtrack by our very own Sabrina, Tammy and the Navigators.