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Features

Q&A: Patricia Maher

Patricia Maher has more than 25 years of management experience in the languages, telecommunications and tourism sectors. Her work has taken her across Europe and the Caribbean, and she now leads the Grenada Tourism Authority as the chief executive officer

 

What was your first job?
My first job was teaching English as a foreign language with Berlitz in Frankfurt, while I learnt to speak German. Berlitz offered me a management training programme to become a director and run one of their profit centres and this was the start of my business career — with a strong focus on marketing and sales.

How did you get into the travel and tourism industry?
I was offered a job in the Caribbean with a destination management company and I jumped at the opportunity. I’d visited the Caribbean as a tourist on three separate occasions and I fell in love with the people, place and lifestyle.

What’s the best thing about your job?
I’m passionate about Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. The people are warm and friendly, and I’ve made Grenada my home, so it’s easy to promote the island as a true Caribbean holiday destination.

What do you think has been your best professional decision?
Getting into the world of technology, to broaden my understanding of mobile platforms, and to learn how it’s evolving and impacting all professions globally.

What’s been your biggest professional risk?

Leaving a secure job as a business development manager with Berlitz in Eastern Europe and moving to work in the Caribbean on a verbal job offer.

What do you think is the biggest challenge for your business at the moment?
Our biggest challenge is reaching beyond our traditional markets, such as the UK, USA, Canada and Germany, to entice new people to visit the Caribbean and to choose us. Grenada is a small destination on the world tourism stage, so our team here at the GTA, along with our overseas representatives, work hard to build brand recognition. One additional challenge we face is that our name is sometimes confused with that of Granada in Spain; however, that’s easily cleared up!

What does a trip to Grenada offer that no other destination does?
There are many reasons to visit Grenada, from the white sandy beaches to the bountiful waterfalls, from the heritage-rich capital of St. George’s to the vibrant carnivals; or come for the excellent food and drink, our amazing diving and hiking — but most of all, the warmest and friendliest people you can find anywhere in the world.

What will Grenada be promoting next?
We are looking forward to promoting new luxury properties with SilverSands, opening in March 2018, and Kimpton Kawana Bay, opening in October 2019, both located on Grand Anse Beach. We also have an eco-property to the north of the island called Levera that will be opening in four phases over the next two years.

Where do you like to go on holiday, and why?
When you live on a tropical island like I do, there’s so much to do on the doorstep, but when I get away, I like to venture far around the world to explore cities.

Where would you most like to visit?
Shanghai in China and Kochi in Japan are on my list to visit next.

Is there any other career you would have liked?
I changed careers from tourism to telecommunications, and I’m very excited to be back in tourism. I love to travel and meet people, and as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote in 1749, “A wise person finds the best education in travelling”. I couldn’t agree more!

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