ADAM Stewart, the CEO of Sandals, ATL Group and the Jamaica Observer, called on Jamaicans yesterday to shoulder the burden of the country's economic woes.
The country has to take charge of its economic challenges and cease relying on powerful nations, which have their hands full dealing with their own financial problems at the moment, Stewart said.
"Jamaica's issues are ours to fix. Jamaica is our country. Long ago we separated from United Kingdom," he said.
"The United States of America has its problems. The UK has its problems. Even Canada has its problems. And the more we move into the future, the more countries are starting to pay attention to themselves."
Stewart was addressing the Jamaica Association of Travel Agents luncheon hosted by Sandals Resorts International at the Sandals Whitehouse Resort as part of Travel Agents Month celebration. He was accompanied at the luncheon by the group's chairman, his father, Gordon "Butch" Stewart.
"We serve people and we do amazing things and show people great dreams. We have a duty, everyone of us in here, to recognise Jamaica is ours to fix. If we don't fix it and find a way to bring foreign exchange into this country and stop exporting the foreign exchange out of this country, Jamaica has no future," he warned.
The country needs fewer naysayers, more people with solutions, more hard workers, and stronger backing for young people, he said. "Everybody needs to get up and fix Jamaica's problems. None of us wants Jamaica going down the tubes. Do we?"
He rubbished claims that tourists who stay at all-inclusive resorts are locked inside the properties, away from experiencing Jamaica.
"We have this mindset that people who come to these all-inclusives don't leave. But I can tell you that is nonsense. Island Roots booked over 750,000 excursions out of Sandals alone. That is telling you that the typical people go on two, three, four excursions," he said.
We local travel agents offer airline reservations, cruises and tours, local and overseas hotel accommodation, car rentals, passport and visa renewals, and travel insurance.
Stewart invited the assembled travel agents to visit Sandals properties and familiarise themselves with the staff.
"The best single thing that you can do as travel agents, if you want to make money, is invest a little of your time — just a little bit. We will be more than happy to have you in our hotels anytime you want to come to get to know our general managers, our management team, supervisors, the line. Get to know these properties intimately, that you won't need a piece of paper to talk and to sell that experience," he said.