Editorial: Moving the economy

POSTED: 10/21/11 11:54 AM

Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications Franklin Meyers has offered parliament quite an ambitious vision for growing the economy. The broad goals are, put it mildly, lofty and will take a very serious focus to accomplish.
One that catches our attention is that Meyers wants to attract two brand name hotels and build 500 new hotel rooms. Beyond the question of what land these properties will be built on and the existing congestion, one must look at the fact that the room stock that we have now is not filled even at peak times. That issue must be addressed as well and is a joint responsibility of the minister and the private sector. An already underperforming hotel sector will not do better because there is more rooms and there is sufficient evidence that building more, won’t automatically lead to increased arrivals.
The minister is right that we must find the money to invest in infrastructure upgrades, but we must also find the money to invest is marketing. The simple fact is that we can upgrade the country all we like, but if people don’t know about us, they’re not likely to come. In this light it is great news to hear that there will be more aggressive marketing. We wait now to see if that plan is reflected by a strong amount for marketing in the 2012 budget.
Let us all be clear that fixing this country’s economy is not something of the minister and ministry alone. Every person in this country will have to play a role and lend support to initiatives that will not only create employment but give our people a chance to take ownership of their country by starting or growing their own small business. We are all in this together and therefore we must forge the course together.

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