I greet you with a sense of hope and anticipation mixed with stout determination on this World Tourism Day 2007. Although I have been intimately involved with the trade for about two decades, this is my first as Captain of Team Jamaica.
I feel particularly blessed to be able to lead a team of consummate professionals working with enterprising stakeholders in this, Jamaica’s leading economic sector.
Kudos to the many women in all aspects of the hospitality trade, as the World Tourism Organisation has opted to advance Millennium Development Goal No. 3 through its chosen theme for this year, ‘Tourism Opens Doors for Women.’
Of course we are not by any stretch of the imagination belittling the work of men in this vital partnership, but I think the theme bears out two very important factors.
First of all, it recognizes the awesome value added potential in Jamaica’s lead industry, with its ability to open many doors, revealing new vistas of potentiality
Second, and even more importantly, by its very recognition of the worth of women, the unspoken message is that women DO bring some very special attributes to the table, thus significantly enhancing output. Furthermore, economic realities dictate that doors remain open only for those who are [at the very least] equal to the challenge.
My challenge today goes out to the young women contemplating a career, as much as it does to the seasoned campaigner, wrestling with the issues of how to keep her tourism- based business alive, or dreaming about expansion and/or further diversification.
My advice is that you apply the same discipline and rigour to the development of brand YOU, as we intend to apply to brand Jamaica. This involves getting all the information you need and applying this intelligence strategically to every move you make. With that comes the imperative of self improvement to bridge any gaps that might exist between your goals and reality, and finally spend time, talent and treasure to ensure that your goals are realized.
Let us all remember that what we are building is an inclusive industry with over 23 others revolving around it, there is a place for everyone in some aspect of tourism. In fact it is like the mother of all industries, integrating our collective endeavours into a solid, hard currency earning machine.
As I have said in all my public appearances since assuming office we build this business on three planks, just as we pursue self and community development:
– Marketing- Product Development- Investment
Let’s build it together.

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