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Hoteliers should support Air Jamaica bid

Published:Tuesday | February 2, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

Should the Government sell Air Jamaica to a non-Jamaican entity, Jamaica and the tourism industry will suffer. Yes - the new owners of Air Jamaica will hold Jamaica and the tourism industry at ransom, dictating to, and even demanding more concession from, the Government.

It is disturbing to me that hoteliers in the tourism industry - who clearly benefit from Air Jamaica - have not moved or entered into a partnership with Air Jamaican staff to save the airline. Ironically, this group often squeals for the Government to give them tax concessions and other incentives to keep the industry afloat.

The Government even went as far as to enter into a business arrangement with American Airlines, where millions of dollars were paid to the airline to transport tourists to Jamaica. It is yet to be determined if Jamaica realises any benefit from such a business transaction.

Hoteliers should know that a Jamaican-owned Air Jamaica is better for their business. Should Air Jamaica go belly-up or end up being owned by a non-Jamaican entity (who clearly will not have the same interest as a Jamaican firm), taxpayers should protest if and when these hoteliers in the tourism industry go squealing to the Government for tax breaks and other concessions.

I am, etc.,