THE EDITOR: Let us walk past the Third World-style petty jealousies in our tourism industry. We are lacking in visitor arrivals because, honestly, TT is just not fabulous enough.
We are farse and out of place to compare ourselves to Jamaica. Why? Because in the First World Jamaica is a household name with brand-name hotels, including Sandals. Jamaica has been marketed in the most expensive magazines and newspapers in the First World since the 1950s.
I visited Jamaica in 1980 and was left speechless at the quality hotels in Montego Bay. From the white-gloved waiters and impeccable service I felt I was living in a Hollywood movie. Again, that was 1980.
Can our hotels be compared to any in Singapore, Dubai, the Maldives, Jamaica, or even Barbados?
We have a serious image problem. The most important Caribbean franchise, Sandals, takes an interest in TT and immediately the small-minded, anti-government citizens preached. “Sandals want to thief us.”
Locals must have a say in every line on every single page of any agreement. “Sandals want to mash up our ecosystem.”
Then, self-righteously, the anti-Sandals small hoteliers published regrettable incidents at Sandals hotels. They then wrongfully blamed the Rowley-led government when Sandals walked away.
The Sandals label can be seen on the clothing of the West Indies cricket team by millions of viewers. We sneezed at that type of free advertisement and patted ourselves on the back.
TT is the country where ignorance is conceived as pure, undiluted bliss.
Consider the fact that the passing cruise ships carry mainly retirees who spend very few dollars. Our airports need upgrading to facilitate international airlines. Locals cannot fill our hotels year round. It has absolutely nothing to do with the sea bridge or crime statistics. Jamaica has worse but its tourism services are considered top off the line. Ask the Jamaica government about its role in tourism.
With all due respect, the Tobago Heritage Festival is cute and quaint. So too the crab and goat races. How do we rake in billions of tourism dollars when there is talk about Tobago being spoiled if the island and its people become too modern and technology-driven?
How can we forget that image is everything?