The inevitable tourism evolution
Published: Jul 26, 2013
Can you briefly describe your experience in the tourism sector and what your role is today?
My role in the tourism industry is a bit more unconventional than most. SIDDA Communications Group Ltd. is a global marketing and public relations consultancy based and staffed here in The Bahamas. We service clients locally as well as in the greater United States and Caribbean markets. My role in tourism as it relates to my company has been to continue to foster those global initiatives and contracts that promote the talents and creative resources that we have here in The Bahamas.
Why did you choose to work in tourism as a career?
In order for any company to survive and indeed thrive, it is absolutely imperative that it considers its positioning in the global market. I understood very early on that the talent and standard of work that we were capable of producing as a team here at SIDDA could stand against any other firm in the world. So while most tourism-based initiatives are focused on bringing tourists dollars to our shores, SIDDA is choosing to take The Bahamas to the world; our challenge is to attract business clients to spend their marketing and public relations dollars with a Bahamian firm employing Bahamian people.
What has been your most memorable moment?
There have been so many memorable moments for my company in the last three years. As it relates to the global contracts that we have secured, it was our esteemed honor to have been contracted by the NAACP to create an Original Memory Book commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Medgar Evers. The event was held at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia where former U.S. President Bill Clinton and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder were in attendance. Another proud moment for me continues to be our partnership with the NAACP in supplying t-shirts and signage for the nationwide protests calling for justice for Trayvon Martin. That, I feel, is such an important cause on a global scale because discrimination is not just a United States race issue, but it exists even here in The Bahamas to a certain degree. These kinds of events help to foster the conversation about how we view and respect those persons around us that may be different from ourselves. We are certainly proud of the work that we are doing to support that initiative.
Has the industry changed since you started your career? How?
I think the evolution of the tourism industry is inevitable. Further, I think the industry is constantly evolving into a more effective view of itself. We have to because the world around us continues to evolve as well. Ten years ago there was no such thing as social media. Now Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram are all commonplace buzz words in marketing meetings across the industry. Certainly it has provided us as a company with an effective and affordable marketing tool to reach our global target demographic. You also have to consider the insurgence of tourism investments; the new national stadium that now presents a golden opportunity to capitalize on sports tourism, the expansion of the LPIA, the Baha Mar development, all of which lays the foundation for the Bahamian tourism industry to remain a major player in the coming decades. As time goes on, I expect that the industry as a whole will continue to find innovative ways to remain current and relevant in the global market.
What should The Bahamas focus on to stay competitive?
In my opinion, The Bahamas should remain focused on the technological advances that create innovative ways to market itself. The resurgence of young tourism enthusiasts integrated with those more experienced tourism professionals can offer a unique partnership in keeping our industry on the cutting edge in marketing the tourism product. I also feel the continued efforts to attract those investors both locally and internationally to maximize the potential of our tourism product as a whole is essential. This includes developing the resources we have on other lesser known islands as a unique tourist destination for both locals and persons from abroad.
What advice would you give to a young person who is considering a career in tourism?
First and foremost, I would emphasize the importance of tourism on our economy. This industry accounts for approximately 60 percent of our GDP, which plays a major role in keeping our financial system afloat due to the foreign exchange. Having said that, I would also stress to the young individual the need to always provide a high standard of service as this particular skill would create more opportunities for advancement in their career in tourism. Moreover, it would ensure client satisfaction, and therefore, the probable return of the tourist. Additionally, I would suggest the need to seek courses or a tertiary education to further develop their skills and knowledge about the industry. I believe that this would create a breeding ground for more innovative ideas strengthening our number one industry thus sustaining or assisting to increase our overall GDP.