Books about Anguilla


Saturday, 30 October 2010


Undoubtedly the subject of tourism is most important to the future of our island. We’ve structured an economy that is one hundred percent dependent on the movement and investment of the tourist dollar. So it is imperative that Government takes the initiative to ensure that we have robust inter-exchange in the market place, our economic survival revolves around this most essential facet. Government is embarking on preparing a marketing plan, which I guess would indicate more specifically a “Tourism Master Plan" for the island. There is no doubt that to this day we have not gotten our tourism policy right and therefore we have not been able to build a sustainable economy. The word consistently equated with the Anguillan economic situation is “Boom and Burst.”

Every country is unique in its quest for economic growth, and in our case there is no difference. It is believed according to our growth pattern, Anguilla has what it takes naturally to attract and sustain an economy based on the total tourism product. For many years now, we have been championing sustainable economic growth, of course we have been utilizing our vast pool of natural resources; which, when evaluated is nothing more than sun, sea, white sand beaches and of course our friendly people. Compared to our neighboring islands we are able to attract a much smaller number of tourists to our shores, which is said actually, to be a strategic policy of past governments aimed at attracting what is called ‘the high end tourists." we have tapped into the high end tourist brand, which indeed has put us into a more elite category than most of the region. Such a market has helped our image and without doubt we have attracted some of the world’s richest and best superstars to the island. It has been my contention all along, that it is ironic that among the competing destinations we probably have the least attractive airport facility, we have never structured a down town commerce environment and our infrastructure in general is not of any distinct quality to identify with. In spite of such deficiencies for a high end tourist destination, we indeed have been lucky in maintaining our brand in the market place, most destinations invest heavily in tourism accommodation weather that is improving their commercial capital or providing quality facilities for tourist attraction. Blowing, which remains an acceptable port is fast becoming a rat race port with the increasing gypsy ferry traffic there. In the long run this will result in negative attraction for the island, and considering that this type of ferry is banned from French St. Marten, one could expect that with Dutch St. Maarten having recently acquiring country status, this topic would eventually be brought to the forefront in their coexistence with the French which might have negative consequences for us.

Anguilla has been developing a keen reputation for some of the best quality, high priced hotels in the region and worldwide. There has always been great opposition, especially from hoteliers to us entertaining cruise tourism to the island. Cruise tourism is however becoming a most sustainable aspect of the tourism business and has evidently sustained places like St. Thomas and St.Maarten in this period, while Anguilla appears to be one of those islands hardest hit, and to some extent devastated by the ongoing word’s recession. So I contend if Anguilla is serious about tourism being the engine to mobilize our economic growth we must take the business serious and tap those most viable sources with potential to guarantee sustainability, and not that at every negative interval in world affairs we get the undesirable economic backlash. Another area in the tourism business which proves to be also a viable source is “time share” which government is currently strongly campaigning against, but even in very slow periods time share properties attracts visitors which most probably are the owners themselves and in the season, those same owners become marketing agents; which works as a great advantage to the island.

Let’s hope that this effort which government is undertaking would be both comprehensive and strategic. This Government very early on declared that they would not invest in the present airport facility and opted to research a new facility; our airport is our primary port of entry and remains the first and last impression of the island. The Valley is recognized as our commercial capital but lacks in face value and cannot attract no one as a down town concentration. Our general environment is naturally in tack, but in tourism artificial attraction is also very necessary, weather that’ll be various park settings, observation points, more planting of trees, more sidewalks, better illumination, in general a better composed and more attractive down town. Anguilla has always failed to invest in those primary areas of attraction for tourism, so our high priced guests get stuck on location, in the hotel environment. It is imperative that aspects of our marketing strategy be focused on the local environment as well. Activity measurement in capital cities and down town commerce is a primary indicator of economic strength. We must invest in the country to make us competitive and viable in the rivalry throughout the region. The Spanish speaking Caribbean, Dutch and French, and our immediate surrounding neighbors all continually invest in their infrastructure, also adding artificial attraction and accommodation for tourists. In most cases these islands have strategic investment plans, so that tourists coming to the island on an annual or semi-annual basis, there is always new and added attraction. We are extremely hesitant to interfere with our shorelines, our beach fronts and anything to do with our cultural heritage which is completely off limits and we deny accommodation as incentive to foreign investors who wish to bring tourism attraction to the island. We must use these important facets in our marketing strategy to maximize our benefits. A clear example is the Dolphin pool unfinished in Blowing Point bay.

I concur with one of my colleagues in commentary who has raised the stakes in suggesting that it might be time to introduce public action committees and or lobbying groups in our political structure that would stand up and champion support or no support for some public policy issues in the interest of the country, such issues as “good governance, accountability and transparency in government, education reform, constitution reform and perhaps our tourism policy as part of economic diversification” action where the actual voices of the people are heard in policy matters that affect the long term interest of the country." In many cases these matters come before government as House business, when in fact is all the business of the people.

By: ejharrisxm

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