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900 yachts visit Grenada Port Luis Marina last year
Yachting in Grenada and the wider Caribbean developed as an industry in the 1960s with the advent of the first charter boats and the development of cruising on yachts as a lifestyle. Since this time, the wider Caribbean has become a well recognised destination of choice for yachting tourism, rivalling areas like the Mediterranean in popularity. By the late 1960s, Grenada rivalled Antigua for the size of the yachting industry in terms of boats and services. The political upheaval of the early 1980s disrupted the growth of the yachting industry in Grenada, as well as the economy in general, allowing other Caribbean islands to develop yachting facilities far ahead of Grenada.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the development of the yachting sector on other Caribbean islands was considerable: The British Virgin Islands became a major yacht tourism destination; Antigua and St Martin became the island of choice for “super- yachts”; while T&T became a major service destination. Last year the Camper and Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada recorded an increased berthing of super yachts and regular yachts, as compared to the 2010 season. Danny Donelan, sales and marketing manager, said that “from the beginning of May until November, all of the big mega yachts normally go to the Mediterranean.” However, he said that surprisingly, in 2011 the yachting sector a few mega yachts staying in the Caribbean. He attributed this to the fact “that Grenada and the Port Louis Marina are outside of the hurricane belt.”
Donelan said the facilities, services and friendliness of Grenadians have contributed significantly to this increase. “Right now, we have about five big boats at the Marina.” Adding, “We have also had quite a few boats that have just come in for weekends and have enjoyed the service so much that they have decided to stick around for the whole summer. Anita Sutton, president of the Marine and Yachting Association of Grenada, said this increase is as a result of the improvement of local facilities and services. According to Sutton, the sector recorded more than 900 boats for the 2011 season. “We are definitely seeing more boats in the marina than last year and they are tending to attract the slightly larger and higher spend yachts,” she noted.
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