Categorized | Editorial

The Tourism Sector has received its share of attention over the years

An Audit of the Montserrat Tourism Development Project Marketing and Promotional strategy  has been ongoing this week with a view to inform the realignment of the Montserrat Tourist Board’s (MTB) current marketing and promotional strategy.

This is being done according to the Terms of Reference of the audit, in the light of improved access arrangement and the next phase of the Little Bay Town development. And, it is hoped that the review will provide a number of recommendations on how the current strategy can be refocused to facilitate the achievement of the projects goals and purpose as outline in the TDP  project memorandum. (This was obviously written some time ago this year.)

There is a school of thought that has been expressed with more regularity these days, which suggests that Montserrat (the private sector) has not been playing its part. That whatever lack of progress, or the most of it, falls not on MTB but the private sector for waiting on government to provide…

That thought may have merit in some instances but may well be ill informed and not be well aware of the MTB’s mandate, which has wide ranging functions impacting the economy and well being of the island. Montserrat’s circumstances may have been considered difficult, but this very exercise in the background states that in 2003 GoM (Government of Montserrat) approved a comprehensive strategy (NTSP)  which recommended a phased approach to developing Montserrat’s tourism.

Among the duties and functions of the Board will be found that they are to (e) “encourage by such measures as they may think fit the development of such amenities as may be calculated to:

enhance the attractiveness of Montserrat to tourists with special reference to entertainment, conservation of local flora and fauna, nature trails and handicrafts;

(f) to undertake such research, experiments and operations as may appear to be necessary for the improvement of the tourist industry and to control or eliminate any undesirable factors that may affect it; and (g) to foster an understanding within Montserrat of the importance and economic benefit of the tourist industry;

It is fair to say, we have said so ourselves, that the private sector, the organisation that looks after it, the Montserrat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) is in darkness. But then the question must also be answered as to whether the MTB has lived up to its mandate, to encourage…

As for starters, while this has not been so previously, the present Board is not properly constituted and if the Chamber had the gumption and existed in any light, they would have challenged the Chief Minister for not appointing any member of the Chamber as required by law to the Board when he took office last year September.

The Tourism sector has faced some problems but like so many aspects of the GoM the people are not familiar with them. The Little Bay Development has been talked about since 1998, should have started in 2002, and in 2010 the MDC, the creature which was supposed to be the savior of Montserrat, is all but defunct. It hardly every been!

The CM this week told this Editor in a sit-down interview, “MDC as we knew is no longer in the systems, the board and the structure of MDC has changed we are now incorporating the land aspect…let us put in place a system which will more readily provide us with opportunities for development the private sector side. Let us get the private sector development going, let us make it work…”

Another major problem has been that of access, and even with the appointment of the “so-called access coordinator”, that sector is still uncertain, maybe not so as of today during the Christmas season, baring the bad experiences of previous years.  With a ferry on hand and with FlyMontserrat (Montserrat Airways Ltd.) promising to position itself to carry on air access with improvement in its fleet, maybe tourists will see Montserrat in a different light.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

An Audit of the Montserrat Tourism Development Project Marketing and Promotional strategy  has been ongoing this week with a view to inform the realignment of the Montserrat Tourist Board’s (MTB) current marketing and promotional strategy.

This is being done according to the Terms of Reference of the audit, in the light of improved access arrangement and the next phase of the Little Bay Town development. And, it is hoped that the review will provide a number of recommendations on how the current strategy can be refocused to facilitate the achievement of the projects goals and purpose as outline in the TDP  project memorandum. (This was obviously written some time ago this year.)

There is a school of thought that has been expressed with more regularity these days, which suggests that Montserrat (the private sector) has not been playing its part. That whatever lack of progress, or the most of it, falls not on MTB but the private sector for waiting on government to provide…

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That thought may have merit in some instances but may well be ill informed and not be well aware of the MTB’s mandate, which has wide ranging functions impacting the economy and well being of the island. Montserrat’s circumstances may have been considered difficult, but this very exercise in the background states that in 2003 GoM (Government of Montserrat) approved a comprehensive strategy (NTSP)  which recommended a phased approach to developing Montserrat’s tourism.

Among the duties and functions of the Board will be found that they are to (e) “encourage by such measures as they may think fit the development of such amenities as may be calculated to:

enhance the attractiveness of Montserrat to tourists with special reference to entertainment, conservation of local flora and fauna, nature trails and handicrafts;

(f) to undertake such research, experiments and operations as may appear to be necessary for the improvement of the tourist industry and to control or eliminate any undesirable factors that may affect it; and (g) to foster an understanding within Montserrat of the importance and economic benefit of the tourist industry;

It is fair to say, we have said so ourselves, that the private sector, the organisation that looks after it, the Montserrat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) is in darkness. But then the question must also be answered as to whether the MTB has lived up to its mandate, to encourage…

As for starters, while this has not been so previously, the present Board is not properly constituted and if the Chamber had the gumption and existed in any light, they would have challenged the Chief Minister for not appointing any member of the Chamber as required by law to the Board when he took office last year September.

The Tourism sector has faced some problems but like so many aspects of the GoM the people are not familiar with them. The Little Bay Development has been talked about since 1998, should have started in 2002, and in 2010 the MDC, the creature which was supposed to be the savior of Montserrat, is all but defunct. It hardly every been!

The CM this week told this Editor in a sit-down interview, “MDC as we knew is no longer in the systems, the board and the structure of MDC has changed we are now incorporating the land aspect…let us put in place a system which will more readily provide us with opportunities for development the private sector side. Let us get the private sector development going, let us make it work…”

Another major problem has been that of access, and even with the appointment of the “so-called access coordinator”, that sector is still uncertain, maybe not so as of today during the Christmas season, baring the bad experiences of previous years.  With a ferry on hand and with FlyMontserrat (Montserrat Airways Ltd.) promising to position itself to carry on air access with improvement in its fleet, maybe tourists will see Montserrat in a different light.