My contribution to our tourism development debate
Our Readers' Opinions
January 30, 2024
My contribution to our tourism development debate

Editor: The Minister of Tourism, having failed to outline the plans for this vital sector, we are filling the vacuum. The task is made more difficult because there has been no audited financial account for the last three years or so. Nevertheless, we would base our discussion on what we see. It is known generally that Government is not good at running any business. Therefore, their role should be to provide a conducive climate for development in tourism to occur.

Undoubtedly, we have the most beautiful country in the world. Our function should be to develop our country in a sustainable manner so that we can enjoy it and share it with our friends and visitors.

With 5 airports and about 10 seaports, getting in and out of our country should be easy. However, we face many challenges with connectivity. We should ensure that those who chose us as a destination, can get here without having to overnight against their will in a neighbouring country. Having agents in the connecting airports may be helpful. Although we have direct flights, many people will gravitate to the cheapest fare. Therefore, all effort should be made to ensure that our prices match those of our competitors.

Visitors arriving in Union Island whether by boat or sea are greeted by garbage dumps. Is this an indicator that our whole country is untidy. Litter is unsightly to us and our visitors. Businesses and landowners should be made to keep their area clean. Users of public spaces should be required to keep them clean. Keeping our surroundings clean is a matter of health. Schoolchildren should keep their schools and playing fields clean. It should be part of their daily routine. There used to be a time when the sanitary inspector would walk around and command people in private homes to keep their surroundings clean. Since the hotels have a vested interest in the beaches, they should be responsible for keeping them clean. However, they would need help from the sanitation department and the general user public.

The tourism department cannot allow animals to roam freely on beaches destroying flowers and fruit trees planted to beautify and prevent erosion. After our people, our beaches are our most valuable tourism product.

All our beaches must be cared for and maintained. We must upkeep all our tourism sites.

There are too many derelict tourism building projects. To prevent this, we need to encourage the building of one guest house at a time. Using pension funds to build hotels is unacceptable. Forced acquisition of private lands is not in the interest of tourism. We need to set the policy and encourage private entities to develop their properties accordingly. Every town and village should have local authority to ensure that their area is clean, developments are orderly, and the tourist sites are maintained.

Our roads must be kept in good repair otherwise they would become the topic of discourse rather than sites.

Our schools must be the foundation for creating all our cultural experiences so that our festivals will be well subscribed to our talents. Our culture must coordinate with our tourism to give our visitors a rich experience. Much of what must be done in tourism can be accomplished by the people at minimal cost. Every citizen should spend a day in a hotel as a guest so that the service can be understood and appreciated.

Anthony G. Stewart, PhD