British professor urges Jamaica to cut red tape
Sakina Brown, Gleaner Intern
A BRITISH professor has indicated that if urgent steps are not made to reduce bureaucracy in Jamaica, the country's programme to achieve economic growth will be stymied.
Graham Hall, of the Cardiff Metropolitan University in Europe, commented on his experience recently while passing through the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. "I was sent to the back of the queue because I hadn't ticked off the box that said I do not have any illegal drugs," Hall told a Gleaner Editors' Forum, this week.
Hall complained that it took him one hour to make his way through the airport in Montego Bay, in comparison to his 10-minute experience in Paris, France's capital.
The professor explained that he was made to wait in a room without air conditioning at the airport for an hour with screaming children and elderly persons about to faint.
Hall suggested that with tourism being Jamaica's main source of revenue, the focus should be on how to make such experiences more pleasant for visitors.
In previous years, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) used sun, sea and sand as the main marketing point of Jamaica.
However, Professor Hall recommended that the country should seek to determine what visitors desire in order for tourism to be more lucrative.
"If you want to remain 'Brand Jamaica' and not make any money out of it, then that's your choice," he said. "Concentrate on what you do best," said Hall, when asked about how Jamaica can stimulate growth and entrepreneurship.
"Jamaica should develop a restaurant culture," he said, noting that this would help generate more funds. He said the Waterfront in downtown Kingston had huge potential for such a culture.
"One restaurant on its own would be vulnerable but 20 restaurants together will ensure safety in numbers," said Hall. This is something in which the Government should be involved.
Hall said that creating a restaurant culture would ensure economic growth, as visitors would be inclined to venture outside of the all-inclusive resorts, that ensures that revenues and tourism dollars would stay in Jamaica.
He urged Jamaica to consider how to make money out of tourism instead of having visitors remain in the hotels and spend less money.