REDjet Airborne: Policy Implications for Intra-Regional Travel, Air Transport and Caribbean Tourism Development

By Wayne Soverall

The bold initiative of REDjet to establish a low-cost carrier (LCC) in the Caribbean immediately captured the public’s attention because it literally meant that everyone could afford to fly.  First, it represented, perhaps, the best opportunity to date to transform tourism’s outdated legislative and regulatory framework to facilitate genuine competition.  Second, and more importantly, the low cost air fares generated an immediate ‘REDjet effect’ by stimulating a significant increase in intra-regional travel which had steadily declined by over 25% since 2005.  Third, for too long, the regulatory framework has failed to keep pace with the demands of the travelling public for lower air fares and innovative changes that were needed to revitalise Caribbean tourism development.  Fourth, REDjet’s innovative business model needed support as the first designated carrier of Barbados and the new flagship of the Caribbean’s travel and tourism industry. 

Fifth, it was no secret that intra-regional travel in the Caribbean has been adversely affected by a lack of competition in general and, the high cost of air fares in particular, yet very little policy action had been taken to reverse this situation.  Sixth, although regional tourism accounted for 18% of GDP and 34% of employment, a lack of airlift remained a major challenge for Caribbean governments, especially Barbados which is among the top ten countries in the world that are most dependent on tourism for its economic survival.  This exploratory paper therefore examines these policy issues within the context that the Caribbean is dependent on tourism, it is the only region in the world without an LCC and, it had suffered reductions in travel when all other regions experienced significant growth.  Given these realities and the debilitating impact of the current global economic recession, it was imperative that Caribbean governments implemented innovative approaches that enhanced tourism development, and increased both airlift and passenger traffic within the region by providing affordable air fares.    

 Key words: low-cost carrier, regulatory framework, innovative business model.

 Pages: 6-39

Gathering Festival Statistics: Theoretical Platforms and their Relevance to Building a Global Rubric

By Jo-anne Tull

The explosive growth of festivals and special events around the globe has brought into sharp focus the need to better understand and give better account of their value to their respective host societies. Recent approaches to culling cultural data are now generally applied to a broader spectrum of cultural expressions including festivals; but this has also highlighted the need for greater specificity in measuring and gathering statistics for such sub-areas of culture. The more widely accepted methods and practices for gathering festival statistics emanate from the contemporary discourse on event evaluation.  To date, there is yet to be devised a globally accepted framework for gathering festival data.   Against this backdrop, this paper seeks to present a synthesis of the key perspectives and debates on measuring festival phenomena and to explore the lessons to be learnt from the literature in considering the development of a global rubric for gathering festival statistics.

Key words: cultural statistics, festivals, festival statistics, event evaluation, festival management

Pages: 40-70.

Competitiveness of Small Hotels in Jamaica: An Exploratory Analysis

By Densil Williams, Lesley Hare

This paper reports the findings from an exploratory study into the competitiveness of small hotels in the Hotel sector of the Tourism Industry in Jamaica. Hitherto, little academic work has focused on the competitiveness of this group of firms, which make up a significant part of the Hotel sector in the Tourism Industry. This study, using qualitative data and analysis techniques, seeks to fill this gap by providing critical descriptive information on the state of competitiveness of a sample of small hotels, drawn from the main resort areas in the country. The research revealed that the majority of small hotels from the sample are not competitive. They generally do not show any characteristics of the major drivers of competitiveness, such as: innovation, benchmarking, operation at international standards of quality, leadership, knowledge of their industry, among other things. The only small hotel that had these drivers in place is the one that has turned over the highest level of profitability – a strong measure of its competitiveness.

Key words: small hotels, competitiveness, tourism sector

Pages: 71-96.

Assessing Gender Depictions in Jamaican Hotels through the lens of Entertainment Coordinators: An application of Butler’s theory of Performativity to the study of Creative Industries

by Dalea Bean, Andrew Spencer

This paper attempts to discuss the applicability of the feminist theory of ‘performativity’ to the issue of the work and perceptions of entertainment coordinators in hotels. Entertainment coordinators increasingly, though perhaps unwittingly, reproduce what feminist theoriser Judith Butler and others refer to as a stylised repetition of acts, or miming of the dominant conventions of gender. This work investigates what these prevailing conventions of gender constitute within the space of the Jamaican hotel industry, particularly those which rely heavily on personnel to create an enjoyable space of amusement for guests as a crucial part of a successful entertainment product.

This paper will contrast the literature on entertainment dynamics in the hospitality industry with leading feminist theorising on gender identity. By focusing on an area largely ignored in the research on the Jamaican hospitality industry, this work will use a phenomenological theoretical foundation to interrogate issues of guests’ gendered expectations of entertainment coordinators and the differences in perceptions of the sexualities of male and female personnel in this field.

Primarily a qualitative paper based on interviews with entertainment coordinators in Jamaican hotels, this work argues that guests’ contentment with the work of entertainment coordinators, which is critical to their satisfaction with the hotel’s entertainment product, is directly linked to the performance of accepted gender norms.

Key words: Entertainment coordinators, performativity, acceptable gendered behaviour, hospitality industry

Pages: 97-114.

Assessing the Potential of Diaspora Tourism

By Sherma Roberts

While there is a growing body of scholarship on transnationalism and diasporas, relatively little work is being done in the area of diaspora tourism. Diaspora tourism therefore, is still without a clear conceptual definition, and as a corollary, measurement remains elusive. One possible reason for this could be the privilege that is often ascribed to the economic value of travel and tourism, where the target market has no social ties with the destination receiving country. In this regard, diaspora tourism continues to be relegated to the proxy of visiting friends and relatives (VFR); with this segment’s contribution seldom being touted by destination organisations. Compounding this invisibility is that discourses around the Caribbean diaspora in particular, have traditionally ‘been dominated by materialist interpretations of movement….the so-called migration pushes and pulls’ (Thomas-Hope 2009: xxxvi). More recently, the focus has been on the value of remittances generated by this segment. However, there is increasing evidence to indicate that the growing transnational and regional circulation of people and their economic and social relationships have become so implicated into travel and tourism, to the extent that is raises questions around the complexities of identity, definitions of tourist, and potential contributions of this segment beyond tourist spend.

Drawing upon secondary sources, this paper maps the contribution associated with migrant travel back to their native home for the purpose of leisure, and as a corollary proposes related strategic imperatives that Caribbean tourism policy and decision makers can engage in the pursuit of this segment. Central to this discussion is an articulation of a definition of diaspora tourism.

Key words: diaspora tourism, transnationalism, visiting friends and relatives (VFR),

Pages: 115-132.



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