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Tourism Not a Threat to Agriculture

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Contact: Claudia Monlouis

Friday, May 23, 2003 - Parliamentary Representative for Dennery South Honourable Damian Greaves, has attempted to dispel what he believes to be a common misconception. The Minister was referring to the view held by some, that the tourism industry is a threat to the agricultural sector, particularly to the survival of the banana industry. This he believes minimizes people’s appreciation of the important linkages between the sectors, and hampers mutual co-operation towards developing the Agro-tourism sector.

“For a lot of our farmers in this country tourism is a bad word, because the impression I am getting is that every time they hear tourism it means, or they refer to it as something which is coming to compete with them and coming to take over from them. But that is not what it is all about – we’re talking about the linkages. And I believe we have failed in not trying to foster the linkages and we have failed in perhaps not trying to educate our people about the importance of those linkages and perhaps that is something that we need to do in the not too distant future.”

Minister Greaves was at the time speaking to young persons who were about to embark on a heritage tourism development project in the Dennery Valley known as Youth PATH. He also mooted the idea of a biennial Banana Festival in the valley as an example of an agro- tourism linkage from which there are dividends to be reaped.

“I challenge the St. Lucia Heritage Tourism, to link up with the Cultural Development Foundation and the Ministry of Agriculture to begin that Banana Festival in the valley that everyone can gain from. Now you are going to have farmers understand the importance of the link between agriculture and tourism in so far as the banana culture is concerned.”

The Minister says that a festival of this nature will promote the versatility of the banana and its by products, as well as integrate culture and heritage with tourism.

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