Showing posts from June, 2011

GDS battle


Mexico City is located in the Valley of Mexico, which is a large valley in the high plateaus in the centre of Mexico.  Large is an understatement as the Mexico City metropolitan area has over 21 million people and the magnitude of the urban sprawl is best appreciated from the air as one lands at the Mexico City airport.   The city is absolutely huge.  It is a complicated city of contrasts with an indescribable energy you can feel as you walk along any of the major streets.
Walking around Mexico City which was once the capital of the Aztec Empire, I struggled to remember what my Form 1 History teacher Mrs Hackshaw taught us about its history all those years ago.  I specifically remember learning some bits and pieces about the Mayan and Aztec empires which at differing times dominated the Central American region.  Unfortunately since I was in Mexico City on business, I did not have the opportunity to leave the city and explore some of the Aztec ruins outside of the City.  But more than…

The Power of Dreams

Last Tuesday evening my friend Jalaludin Khan invited me to chat with his Tour Guide class.  Jalaludin teaches a Tour Guide vocational skills training programme that falls under the Youth Training and Employment Partnership Programme (YTEPP).  According to the Government portal, YTEPP is an intervention strategy aimed at addressing the issue of escalating unemployment, particularly among young persons between the ages of 15 and 25.  YTEPP does this through more than 80 vocational courses in 12 occupational areas, with training conducted in six-month cycles. 
The YTEPP Tour Guide class was at the Belmont Secondary school.  When I arrived the class was nearly empty.  The students were not there on time, I was told, because most of them have full time jobs.  That I could understand but what surprised me was that there was not a single male student in Jalaludin’s class that day.  In fact, as I walked through the corridors of the school, I could not help but notice that so few young males…

Lessons from Montserrat

Recently, I had the privilege of visiting Montserrat for the first time.  Briefly, it is a small British overseas territory, just west of Antigua and because of issues with its active volcano, Montserrat has seen its population shrink through emigration, from 13 000 to about 4 700 now.  The volcano is on the southern part of the island and most of the population lives in the North-West in a ‘safe zone’.  Aside from the occasional ash cloud, which has not really happened in about a year and 3 months I am told, life continues as normal for this island which is said to resemble coastal Ireland.
After I finished my business for the day, I coincidentally met up a Trini who works there.  Ishwar Persad works with the Montserrat Tourist Board and I could not resist chatting with him on the differences between life in Montserrat and life in Trinidad.
Ishwar gave me a list of things he loves about Montserrat, but two jumped out at me.  Firstly, Montserrat is a time capsule in that it is among…

Getting Airlift Right

There is no need to remind anyone that the world supply of natural gas is increasing and according to BP's Chief Economist Christof Rühl, the global demand for oil/gas may have adjusted to a lower level from the previous peak. In economics, an increase in supply plus a decrease in demand, equals downward pressure on market prices. This is not good news for gas producers like Trinidad and Tobago. Tourism however, offers a credible path to economic diversification and employment growth.  Tourism was also featured prominently in the manifesto of the present administration. 
A necessary but not sufficient element in any island state’s tourist strategy is airlift.  If we do not have the right number of seats, at the right price, from the right source markets, landing at the right times, we will have a problem attracting visitors from our identified target markets.  Airlift is however, a very complicated element in an island state’s tourism development strategy.  One popular myth is th…