RJR News /
Jamaica’s tourism interests continue to mount a strong defence of the country’s all-Inclusive model of hotels.
The reactions are in response to comments made earlier in the week by Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization Taleb Rifai.
Mr Rifai addressed a media briefing in Montego Bay on Wednesday, to address criticism he has received after he described the limitations of the all-inclusive model and the negative impact on community development the previous day.
Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International, speaking Wednesday on RJR’s Beyond the Headlines , said he saw no reason to be critical of the comments made by Mr Rifai, but countering that his own interpretation of the message was that the model needs to improve to match global trends.
He stressed that, in the current market, service providers to the hotels benefit from the business, but many of them need to improve services in order to be more competitive.
In that regard, he said there’s need for continuous improvement on the part of service providers, including those in the music industry, who, according to him, should be upgrading their skills at reputable training institutions.
Similarly, he said, taxi operators, farmers, fishermen, among others, must improve their offerings and be provided a viable place in the industry.
“If there’s a gap in the market, somebody else will fill it,” he warned.
Godfrey Dyer, Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, in his response, acknowledged that members of the local community have not benefited as much from the presence of all-inclusive properties as might have been hoped.
On the other hand, he said the national economy reaps significant benefits from these properties.
He acknowledged that the all-inclusive concept was introduced because of negative factors such as tourist harassment, which would have driven business away from Jamaica had the country not introduced the sheltered spaces afforded by these properties.