While this column has never been about individuals, I celebrated a milestone birthday a couple of weeks ago and could not help but spend a little time reflecting on the fifty years that I have largely spent in the tourism industry.
Different people evaluate success or what the definition of it differently and there can be nothing wrong with that.
My introduction to the world of commerce at a very early age was driven not so much by any desire to become fabulously wealthy with all the associated trappings, but more by the basic need to fend financially for myself without the benefit of sustained further education, as a result of a prolonged illness.
Looking back, I learnt very quickly and by the age of 21, I had already become the majority shareholder and managing director of four companies which employed scores of people. This is not a boast, but a simple fact.
By the time I reached 24 years, I had been offered the position of executive chairman of a substantial British tour operator. After turning the job down, it is almost impossible and probably totally futile to speculate on what difference that move would have made to my life.
Not that long ago I experienced a public admonishment by someone that can only be described as successful and it got me thinking of what exactly was the attraction that has kept me in this industry virtually all of my adult life. On reflection it never was about the money, but the means to travel and experience a world of differing cultures, architecture and experiences.
Now having past retirement age who knows what opportunities lay ahead.
It seems that it takes almost a lifetime to acquire sufficient skills and knowledge to effectively make things happen. And when you hopefully reach that point, is there is still sufficient energy, drive and desire to use it productively for the greater good?
Decades ago, naively I thought I could change the world. Nowadays, my goals are somewhat more realistic and but perhaps stand a greater chance of ‘success’, whatever that really means.
One thing for sure, very few objectives can be attained without help and I will be eternally grateful to those who have looked beyond the petty partisan politics and purely focused on what positive differences can be achieved.
Junior Minister of Tourism, Chloe Walker
I would also like to congratulate our new Junior Minister of Tourism, Chloe Walker, and plea with our policymakers to give her more than just superficial exposure to decisions taken within the sector. One way, even if it’s just in an observer capacity, would be to let her attend the frequent Barbados Tourism Marketing, Product Authority and Hotel and Tourism Association board meetings.
With the stated intention of increasing our e-commerce and social media presence in all source markets, a bright young and fresh contribution could add meaningful value to any plans yet to be implemented.
So Chloe, if you read this column and I could proffer just one piece of advice…
If you make this industry your chosen career, remember that success is not always measured by the number of private jets and yachts you have. For many of us, just making people feel very special and appreciated, is more than enough reward.