Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 14th 2014 Contents A29
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt December 14, 2014
pWith only days before the start of the 2015 winter tourist season, Tourism Minister Dr
Wykeham McNeill and tourism interests are upbeat about projections of growth in the
More stopover visitors and cruise ship passengers are expected to arrive on our shores.
The 1.2 million more airline seats for the season represent a 15 per cent increase over last
year. The entire country should be pleased about that, for when the tourism sector enjoys
growth, the entire country benefits. The additional arrivals will boost foreign-exchange
earnings by nearly five per cent for this season to nearly US$900 million.
Jamaica's physical beauty and its largely hospitable people, its delectable cuisine, and
cultural outputs are some of the magnets that draw more and more people to the island.
Yet it would be unwise to ignore the underbelly of harassment that has dogged the
tourism product for many years.
Data indicate that as much as 29 per cent of visitors to Jamaica reported that they had
been harassed in 2011. Bad as it sounds, that represents an improvement on the 1990s
when the figure was as high as 60 per cent. Prostitutes, beggars, drug pushers and hus-
tlers are known to converge on major tourist locales like Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Ne-
gril.There was a time when a visitor who experienced harassment would simply return
home, vowing never to come back. Nowadays, it is relatively easy for a disgruntled visitor
to tell the world about his experience by posting a review or giving an account of an inci-
dent on social media. A bad review could put off potential visitors. Currently, there are
some negative reports about harassment in Jamaica now circulating on social-networking
sites and platforms.
Dark clouds looming
The gulf between the optimism of tourism bigwigs for growth and the constant harass-
ment of visitors by those who want a share of the pie is the reason why there are dark
clouds gathering over the tourism-and-leisure sector.
In his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in May, Dr McNeill acknowledged that a prob-
lem existed and spoke of plans to deal with it. He said, in part: "We have to control harass-
ment in Jamaica ... . The government will lead a collaborative effort, drawing on past
experiences and best practices. This will entail government ministries and agencies, law
enforcers, the judiciary, community organisations, tourism stakeholders, private- and pub-
Back then, the minister also spoke of new strategies, including a public-relations cam-
paign and training, to curtail and eventually eliminate harassment.
We are almost at year's end and we have seen no evidence of this campaign picking up
steam to tackle a problem that has bedevilled the industry in every location. Dr McNeill
should explain in clear and precise terms what has been done so far and how his plans to
reduce harassment of visitors to the island are proceeding.
Harassment is a serious issue that needs urgent attention. While the problem has been
recognised and talked about ad nauseam, there seems to be no remedy in sight.
Any effort to deal with the problem of harassment should involve the communities
themselves, as they must form part of the solution to this seemingly intractable problem.
Not so long ago, the sector was brought to its knees after the 9/11 debacle in America---
just a reminder of how fragile this industry is. So let's not drag our feet on this one.
Tackle harassment now!
Please note that before your letter can be published, we must have your full name and con-
tact details, including a phone number.
Your contact information will not be published.
Letters should be no more than 500 words long and may be edited for length and clarity.
Please send them by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
or by post to: The Editor, T&T Guardian, 22 St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain.
Crab vendor Vishine Deonath of Woodland, carries his catch along La Romaine Main Road,
yesterday. The crustaceans went for $50 a bunch. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
CRABS TO GO
Links Archive December 13th 2014 December 15th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page