Caribbean must prepare for increased tourism demand

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Basil Springer

One of the Caribbean’s veteran business development consultants is encouraging public and private sector stakeholders to answer the cruise industry’s call to develop attractions and activities to respond to the influx of visitors expected to the region this winter season and beyond.

Dr. Basil Springer, a change-engine consultant with decades of management experience, said the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association’s (FCCA) call for Caribbean destinations to immediately present creative, customer-focused experiences for consideration by the cruise lines should not go unanswered.

“Innovative enterprise development is what we need across the Caribbean and we ought to position ourselves to take advantage of all opportunities to generate foreign exchange in today’s challenging economic environment,” said the Trinidad-based Barbadian businessman.

Dr. Springer, who depicts tourism-related economic activity through an Economic Gearing System (EGS), described the largest gear as the driver of the system by bringing in visitors by air and sea.

A second gear provides the hospitality infrastructure through hotels, restaurants and bars and entertainment; and the smallest gear generates employment from rooms, food, beverage, attractions, handicraft, products and numerous niche areas.

“The fast spinning of the biggest gear can build up a phenomenal momentum in the smallest gear, thus creating commensurate employment and steady economic growth,” he said. “If the biggest gear slows down, as is evidenced by the COVID-19 experience and the impact of devastating hurricanes, then the economy falters,” he added.

Dr. Springer, who believes urgent regional action is needed to address the availability of air seats to and within the region, said as the Caribbean prepares for continued growth, it is important for a sustainable enterprise development program to be mounted.

“There is so much creativity in the Caribbean, so we need to ensure that we are unveiling fresh, quality products and experiences on a continual basis,” he advised.

A successful strategy, he added, will require aligning business shepherds with entrepreneurs, so that obstacles along the path to business success can be avoided.

“This, along with sustainable funding mechanisms, will be the start of the process for the poor to get richer even as the rich get richer, which is a prime indicator of economic success,” he commented.

“We have an incredible opportunity for the private sector locally, regionally and globally to step up to the plate and make things happen under the warm embrace of our governments,” said Dr. Springer.

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