The Adrian Loveridge Column–“Tourism for Present and Future”
‘Tourism for Present and Future Generations’ is the publicized mission statement for the start of Tourism Week 2017 this week.
Despite this country being among the earliest pioneers of tourism within the region, after five decades in the industry, I sometime wonder if ‘we’ collectively have lived up to the role models required to inspire the younger generations to come. Have we really given sufficient encouragement and support to ensure they bring a new dimension and dynamism to the sector?
At the time, I silently questioned the logic, potentially increased costs and possible duplication in forming two new, but separately functioning and product national agencies. In hindsight, it appears to have worked very well. Of course, it is often down to the people who lead and their ability to motivate those around them.
No one can reasonably question that the Barbados Tourism Product Authority has been incredibly proactive and has made substantial efforts to involve every sector of tourism and the communities they operate in.
This Thursday they will host the Tourism Career Showcase between 10am and 7pm at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. Entrance is free and I encourage all those even vaguely considering a career in tourism to visit and interact with the diverse industry partners slated to be in attendence.
From my own personal experience, I cannot imagine another career which would have allowed me to visit and work in over 70 countries globally and meet some of the most interesting people on the planet, including Presidents, Prime Minister, other Ministers of Government, bestseller authors, scientists, architects, film stars, musicians, life saving surgeons and a myriad of achievers.
Plus a proven ability in tourism allows almost unlimited geographical employment opportunities worldwide. We moan occasionally about foreign chefs coming to work on our shores, but this is part of the critical experience process. In fairness, a Barbadian chef working overseas and returning with additional skills, will do more than most can imagine, to enhance our product offerings and make our destination more attractive both locally and internationally.
Over the years, I have never said no to requests by aspiring hospitality college or university students wanting to share my experiences. Not for a second, because I believe I have all the solutions. That simply would not be true, but more to repay the kindness and advice I was freely given in my early days. I have enormous pride that one of those students went on to become the Chief Executive Officer of our largest hotel group and have taken, through his acquired skills, that company to the next level.
Ultimately for those even considering a career in tourism, it is about human interaction and the ability to communicate with people, whether guests or fellow employees. If you don’t like your fellow ‘man’ and genuinely want to do all you can to ensure they have a holiday of a lifetime and wish to return to our island year after year, then I strongly suggest you chose another profession.
Hopefully we will see you at LESC this Thursday.