The Adrian Loveridge Column – Tourism Matters in the GAP!
To celebrate our wedding anniversary, my wife and I experienced a brief staycation at one of our newer hotels in St. Lawrence Gap that is currently offering an excellent value local rate. The property and level of service certainly exceeded our expectations.
During our stay we took the opportunity of walking The Gap and apart from a few notable exceptions, were quite shocked by the overall disrepair, untidiness and seeming lack of pride in the surroundings. A coat of paint, general clean-up, especially those that are up for sale and/or derelict, even down to occupied properties undertaking simple weeding!
I cannot imagine this neglect is not noticed by our cherished visitors.
The administration knows who owns the various properties because of the annual payment of land taxes, so why not issue warnings, then fines and then eventually enforce some level of clean-up?
And no-one can place any reasonable amount of blame on Government as in the vast majority of cases, the buildings, lots and businesses are privately owned. Standing out like a sore thumb are three vandalised telephone boxes each clearly displaying the latest logo and brand signs of the ‘operating’ entity and damaged to the point of non- functioning use.
Surely a company that has received so many trading advantages and a past virtual monopoly for so many years and who doesn’t think twice about raising its rates, with at least two price hikes in the last twelve months, have more corporate responsibility? If they do not function and cannot be properly maintained, then why leave them there to act as impromptu urinals and rubbish bins?
Will one of our paint manufacturers or distributors step up again to the rescue and offer any willing property owners special prices for a limited time, so the whole area can be enhanced, prior to the critical peak tourism season?
There also appears to be further opportunity for providing recycling containers, even if responsible disposal of certain items is not yet a universally practised lifestyle.
Every tourism provider must be fully aware that our ‘product offering’ is already costing our visitors more than last year and that from 1st October 2018, it will rise even more dramatically, with a second added air departure tax.
Not surprisingly, our arrivals will naturally expect the standards to at least be maintained and many may feel it’s logical to see some marked improvement for the additional outlay.
Of course we can all hide under a stone and pretend it is business as usual.
But that no longer brings visitors back to our shores.
I refer to recent comments by the General Manager of the two Sandals hotels concerning the general destination cleanliness. Together they boast over 500 rooms, or a possible one thousand guests walking through The Gap and possibly being tempted by one or more tourism offerings just a stroll away.
Why would anyone leave either of the pristine all-inclusive properties to wander through a poorly kept, if not downright dirty area, in many cases, to spend money that they don’t have to?