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St. Vincent and the Grenadines


St. Vincent and the Grenadines are a group of 32 islands and cays situated in the Caribbean, between Grenada to the south and St Lucia to the north. The group stretches just over 60 miles from the northern most point of St. Vincent to the southernmost island, Petit St. Vincent. To the west of the islands is the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean lies to the east. St. Vincent, the main island, is by far the largest of the group and is home to the capital, Kingstown, and the primary airport, E T Joshua airport. The main island is divided into five parishes: Charlotte, St. Andrew, St. David, St. George and St. Patrick and the Grenadines parish, which comprises all of the smaller islands.

In 1783, the island came under British control, and independence was gained in 1979, St. Vincent & the Grenadines collectively remain a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.


According to the Government of St. Vincent & the Grenadines agriculture is still the chief sector of the economy and is led by the production of bananas, although over the past 15 years, banana exports have fallen. The Windward Islands Banana Development and Exporting Company Limited (WIBDECO), is a company jointly owned by four Caribbean states and four regional organisations have published figures showing a steady decline in St. Vincent’s banana exports. In 1992, the export of bananas from St. Vincent was 77,361 tonnes, but by 2003 it fell to 22,617 tonnes.

Tourism is also growing in importance, especially since those visiting the state tend to be from the more affluent sectors of their respective countries. Currently the one thing holding back an increase in tourism is the lack of an international airport, making it necessary to fly to other Caribbean locations and take a connecting flight to St. Vincent. Figures from the Government-created company, the National Investment Promotions Inc (NIPI) show that in 2003 there were 241,748 tourist arrivals. Offshore banking and manufacturing, albeit on a small scale, also have their part to play in the islands’ economic makeup.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a member of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (Caricom and/or CSME). In 2005, the World Bank classified St. Vincent and the Grenadines as upper middle income with a GNI per capita of US$3,590, which ranked in 72nd position out of 187 countries and 42nd out of 175 countries for ease of doing business.

Standard Of Living

St Vincent, unless you are looking for local crafts is not a place to go shopping - of course, there are shops there, but the large international chains are not, making the islands ideal for those who wish to get away from big city commercialism. Eco-tourism is becoming popular with a lot of travellers from around the world and there are many companies offering such trips to St. Vincent & the Grenadines. The islands that make up the Grenadines are among the most unspoilt in the world and are destinations often chosen by the rich and famous and are more geared towards peace and relaxation. For those that can afford it, the southernmost island, Petit St. Vincent, which is a privately owned resort, is possibly the ultimate get-away-from-it-all location, consisting of 22 luxury cottages, no television, no radio, no telephone and all the privacy you could ask for. The island of Mustique was a favourite of the late HRH The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, where she owned a home.

The islands provide a wide range of ways to enjoy a stay - if you want peace and quiet or sporting activities they are easily found. In the surrounding waters, diving, snorkelling and sailing can be found, whether you are a novice or expert. Inland St. Vincent is a hiker’s dream, with lush tropical forests and a climb up the slopes of La Soufriere, a volcano that last erupted in 1979. On the island of Canouan there is an 18-hole golf course, and the United Nations World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) lists many locations around the islands as wildlife reserves.

Some of the islands beaches may seem familiar to people, as many have seen them before in Disney’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films and clips of the films shown on television news programmes.


E T Joshua airport is the main entry point for most travellers and is undergoing an upgrade and refurbishment completion is expected in 2007. A new international airport to be built on the southeast coastline by 2011 will allow for direct flights to St. Vincent and help to increase tourism. Properties to be built within a 30-minute drive from the new airport are already being advertised and will give a boost to the island’s construction industry.

St.Vincent has two seaports one at Kingstown and the new Container Port at Campden Park just to the north of Kingstown.

Most of St. Vincent’s roads are concentrated in the parish of St. George, and thin out as they get further from the capital; hiring a car or travelling by bus are the main ways of getting around the island although the number of buses is limited.


In 2001 the workforce stood at 43,762, with an unemployment rate of 21.2% from a population of 109,022, according to the Ministry of Finance. Within the same year, the CIA World Fact Book showed the GDP composition by sector was agriculture 10%, industry 26% and services 64%.
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