I had the privilege of vacationing in Jamaica last month. Although they don’t have beaches as nice as Tobago (I say that unbiasedly), Jamaica is a beautiful island to visit. What is pellucidly clear as soon as one steps off the plane in Jamaica is that there exists a concerted national policy for tourism. The staff who work in the tourism sector in Jamaica which includes hotel staff, airport employees, bus drivers and tour guides are well trained and extremely pleasant to guests.
It is no wonder that for the first half of 2019 Jamaica welcomed approximately two million visitors and earned US$2 billion from tourism. According to the Jamaica senate, tourism accounts for 20 per cent of GDP in revenue terms. In contrast, the only thing Trinidad and Tobago has to show for tourism after millions of dollars have been spent by successive governments is all-time low tourist arrivals, abhorrent, rude customer service and a public spat between the Minister of Tourism and chairman of the Trinidad Tourism Ltd. I flew to Tobago over the weekend on the 7 a.m. flight and when I visited the deli at the ANR Robinson International Airport to get some breakfast the young ladies working there do not make eye contact with customers; they do not greet customers; they do not smile or say good morning to customers. One would think that a basic condition for allowing someone to operate the deli at one of our international airports is that they have well-trained, pleasant employees.