Mon | Apr 6, 2020

TPDCo Executive Director launches tourism and travel book

Published:Wednesday | February 19, 2020 | 12:16 AMPaul H. Williams - Hospitality Jamaica Writer
Dr Andrew Spencer signs his book as Dr Mechelle Best, professor and chair in the Department of Recreation and Tourism Management at California State University, Northridge, looks on.
Dr Andrew Spencer signs his book as Dr Mechelle Best, professor and chair in the Department of Recreation and Tourism Management at California State University, Northridge, looks on.

The Blue Mountain Suite inside The Knutsford Court Hotel in St Andrew was filled to capacity on Tuesday evening, February 11.

Well-known stakeholders in the tourist and hospitality industries, colleagues, associates, family and friends of Dr Andrew Spencer, executive director at the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), had gone to wish him well.

It was the launch of his second single-authored book, Travel and Tourism in the Caribbean – Challenges and Opportunities for Small Island Developing States. The event, which saw speaker after speaker heaping praises and accolades upon Dr Spencer, was compèred by the affable Dr Dalea Bean, lecturer and graduate coordinator in the Institute of Gender and Development Studies at The University of the West Indies, Mona campus, and long-time friend.

The father of two, who describes himself as a ‘pracademic’, is a tourism scholar who has been applying his knowledge to his professional endeavours. He does not only research and teach it, but he practises it, Hospitality Jamaica has gathered. He was seconded from the Mona School of Business and Management, where he lectured in tourism management, to TPDCo. The Wolmer’s Boys’ School alumnus was also director of the Centre for Hotel and Tourism Management, University of the West Indies, Nassau campus in The Bahamas.

He holds a PhD from the School of Tourism at Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom (UK), and was the first PhD ­graduate from Bournemouth’s Tourism Lab. His research ­focused on the determinants of technology adoption for travellers, with particular emphasis on the strategic ­management implications and leadership imperatives for owner-managers. This thesis was awarded the ITT PhD Student of the Year 2011-2013 by the ITT Education and Training Committee in the UK.

His publication credits include about 30 articles/papers, with his first single-authored book being The Leadership Imperatives: Technology Adoption and Strategic Management in Travel Firms in Jamaica. In her commentary on his latest book, published by Palgrave McMillan, Dr Acolla Cameron, dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine campus in Trinidad, said it is “timely, relevant, required and far-reaching”.

“The insights, dialogues and recommendations offered bear testament of the writer’s vast experiences and knowledge on the subject matter and provides the reader with a clear way forward. In a time when tourism in small island states in the Caribbean is under threat by many exogenous forces, this book acts as a beacon of light and hope, and inspires us to make every effort to successfully navigate the rough waters and establish ourselves once again as the leading region in global tourism,” Dr Cameron said.

The foreword, written by Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, was read by Dr Mechelle Best, professor and chair in the Department of Recreation and Tourism Management at California State University, Northridge.

“It is this rare combination of solid academic grounding and a shrew understanding of the daily realities of the tourism praxis which are merit in this work, and make it a necessary prerogative ­literature of Caribbean tourism in the 21st century … . The work unpacks the ways in which tourism has been, and continues to be, the linchpin with which many Caribbean economies and societies are put together,” Dr Best read, among other things.

The launch evolved into a pre-birthday party of sort, as Dr Spencer celebrated his 40th ­birthday the day after the launch. With his wife, son and daughter by his side, he cut his birthday cake, part of was an edible replica of his book.