Editorial

There's great value in big thinking

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

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Last week, in this space, we discussed the need for big thinking in relation to the island's tourism product. Our comments were focused on the Hip Strip in Montego Bay, the lively business, commercial and leisure district on Gloucester Avenue.

We had reason to examine this issue because of comments made by the deputy chairman and CEO of this newspaper and Sandals Resorts International, Mr Adam Stewart, in support of a position advanced by fellow hotelier Mr Robin Russell.

Basically, what both men were arguing was that the State needs to get serious about improving conditions on the Hip Strip because the experience it offers is substandard, given the existence of harassment and poor security.

In April this year Mr Dennis Chung, the CEO of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, expressed a similar view in his weekly Friday column in this newspaper.

Mr Chung told of his visit to the resort city which, he said, went well until he started walking along the Hip Strip. “This immediately struck me as urban decay in action,” Mr Chung wrote. “The pan chicken and other vendors had all taken up residence along the side of the street and even under the bus stops, allowing little room for any pedestrian traffic.

“The sidewalks had obviously not been repaired in many years, and one could see the concrete breaking up. The roads had been cleaned but were badly stained from the vending activities that take place there night after night. And the traffic was horrendous, with taxis stopping wherever they pleased.”

The essential point made by all three men is that the Hip Strip needs to be properly managed and maintained in an effort to make it a major visitor attraction.

Mr Stewart, we believe, advanced the kind of thinking that is needed to transform the Hip Strip. “Let it become the South Beach, A1A of Jamaica showcasing a convergence of entertainment, gastronomy, lodging, and international world-class shopping; exposing the authentic cultural richness of Jamaica that continues to fuel a worldwide obsession,” he argued.

People who are successful in business did not get to where they are by thinking small. The majority of them actually started with a single thought which they cultivated and nurtured over time. As the business grew, their penchant for thinking big was infused in their DNA, pushing them to achieve their objectives. Those with even more drive to succeed go the extra mile, creating products that exceed expectations.

That, though, is not an easy feat. It requires a fixity of purpose, belief in what you are doing and an ability to withstand criticism and doubt because those are usually the responses from people who lack vision.

It also demands the kind of strength to recover from disappointments and the dexterity to respond to shifts in global trends.

Big thinking, we hold, must translate into doing things big. We must remember that Jamaica is competing with the world for a travel market that is not only discriminating but demanding.

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