Safety and security are becoming the center point and the basis of a new way forward for the visitors’ industry on this Caribbean Island nation according to Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett.
Dr. Tarlow reports from Kingston:
I spent Yesterday in meetings dedicated to innovative ideas regarding tourism surety, that is the point where safety and security meet economic development and reputation. During the day I had the chance to meet not only with the minister of tourism but also the minister of public safety and security.
We discussed a great many issues: From tourist security to security for Jamaica’s citizens, from technology to the need for police raises, from the fact that in the long-run prevention is less expensive than crisis management. What we meant by that last statement was that the best way to handle a crisis is to avoid it if at all possible. This discussion leads to the question of risk, and the reality that to be alive is to deal with risk.
Many of these same discussions are being held around the world.
What I have found unique here in Jamaica is not only the open dialogue, but the willingness intellectually to debate the issues and the realization that a tourism center must always seek ways to reinvent itself. Tourism dare not be satisfied with past success but must also think creatively about future problems.
An example of the rapid changes faced by the world of tourism is the knowledge that we live not only in a world of social media but also in a hyper-connected world.
Ours is a new world where a smartphone can create a revolution, and where the solving of one problem all too often produces new problems and unintended consequences. For those who have studied Hegelian philosophy, we see that tourism, like society, is a constantly changing dynamic and perhaps the industry’s biggest threat is the fear of meeting new situations, analyzing them, and seeking solutions in a world without permanent solutions.
What I have learned once again here in Jamaica is that in life there are no easy solutions, but despite this reality, we dare not flee from the challenges of an ever-changing world; to do less is to run from the ethical and enter into a den of paranoia.
Having debated great issues all day with Jamaican colleagues I have come to understand that the real beauty of this land goes beyond its mountains and its beaches but in the creative spirit of its people.
They have taught me once again that change is a part of life and that either we control the change or it will control us.
Best wishes from Jamaica!