Barbados should consider gaming on a controlled basis if it wants to remain competitive and assuming this is what the tourism market is looking for.
This suggestion has come from Alvin Jemmott, the former President of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA). Speaking at last weeks BHTAs annual general meeting at the Sherbourne Conference Centre, Jemmott said that the Jamaican government is running into stiff opposition for the introduction of a structured gaming regime into their tourism offerings.
Jemmott told the meeting that he is not a supporter of gaming for locals or on a widespread basis.
Speaking to Business Monday about the issue, the tourism executive reiterated his stance on the matter.
He said, We compete with a lot of entities and one of our biggest competitors in this areas is the cruise ship industry. You can go on any cruise ship and had the gaming. And if we are going to be successful at what we do we have to sell to the customer what the customer wants to buy.
He added, But I certainly do support the argument that the Jamaican government has got it right in terms of introducing gaming in a controlled environment. I do not support having gaming on a widespread basis for locals so thats where I make the separation.
I certainly think that if we are going to compete globally and if we are going to be able to contract to get the consumer to buy into what we are offering we must be providing what the consumer wants to buy.
This issue has brought major debate over the years with many locals contending that there could be spill over effects. Many others have been concerned about the impact that such activity would have on the society and its moral fabric, while others have been arguing that something can start small and controlled and then become widespread.
But the issue remains something that the tourism sector appears to be interested once it is a controlled fashion outside of the reach of locals.