As someone who has spent most of their life in tourism it would be disingenuous not to dedicate this week’s column to all those persons surrendering their quality family time to ensure our cherished visitors receive the best possible holiday ever over the Christmas and New Year period. Not of course forgetting those in the essential services who make the same sacrifice to keep us all safe and sound.
While many people take this for granted, spare a thought for those dedicated workers who fully comprehend that while tourism remains the only game in town that can even remotely return the country to economic viability, they are paying the price, to ensure it happens. I salute you, and I hope that our politicians fully understand what you are giving up for the sake of our nation.
As we rapidly approach another new year, I expect many of us will have a wish list, but 2018, will in my humble opinion, not be about hoping things happen, but making them happen. It has to be abundantly apparent that one of ‘our’ glaring deficiencies is implementation and this is not limited to the public sector.
With the end of my personal working life in tourism in sight, on reflection, one of the biggest disappointments will remain the inability to persuade more sector partners to work closer together in the common destination objective. From a national perspective this could change in 2018, with third, fourth and maybe other political parties vying for power and influence.
Amid the widespread, if not overwhelming disillusionment with our governance status quo, the defining focus could well all change, if these parties secure any number of seats in Parliament. I believe that I am not alone in declaring that I have never joined a political party anywhere and have tried desperately hard to avoid the ego’s, power plays and entrenched blinkered doctrine associated with the existing players for three decades.
What seems inescapable is that we usually have just one opportunity every five years, to hopefully elect representatives who will steer the country on the right course. And that these people, when placed in power, have the ability to make illogical decisions that could easily destroy all the work and aspirations that those in the private sector have strived for over generations and severely devalue their investment.
I read very carefully the recently quoted impassioned pleas by one of our leading hoteliers, having spent decades building a successful local business, which is now continuing with dedicated family members, stating that this investment is now in peril. Not due to bad management or inefficiencies, but simply down to the granting of unilateral unique concessions to a single operator, who largely avoids banking the majority of their earned revenue here at all.
Compound this with Government selling off taxpayer owned hotels at far below their stated value and the scenario painted by Gordon Seale ‘would essentially run local hotels out of business’ begins to take on a credible face of reality. What is the administration thinking? If this prediction actually happens, who would the hundreds of displaced employees and their dependents vote for?