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Kingston, Jamaica: Lisa, Business Leader Whose Industry Is Struggling

It has been a long time since Lisa had a good night's sleep. Behind her poise, honed by a lifetime as a top hospitality entrepreneur, Lisa feels powerless to help most members in her industry association. She accepted the position of president of the hotel owners association because she believed another way was possible for Jamaica's tourism industry. Today she is not so sure.

After studying English literature at Oxford, Lisa returned to her native Jamaica to support her parents in running their hotel. The family business has grown from a single property venture into one of the prominent chains on the island.

Over the past decade, Jamaica's tourism industry has struggled. The island has become hostage to a cartel of large travel wholesalers selling sand and sun packages to low-paying tourists. Most hotel owners are now reduced to working to barely pay the mortgages on their properties. Larger international or regional chains with integrated distribution networks are taking over the industry.

The sector has reduced both the number and the quality of jobs, fuelling the unemployment crisis and increased violence on the island. This has resulted in the local tourism industry losing significant ground. With its limited resources, the government has not been able to offer any assistance to struggling properties. Relations across the industry have deteriorated as the pressure on stakeholders increases.

A recent hurricane damaged several properties on the Northern part of the island. A crisis meeting has been called with government. Lisa knows that several of her members will not fail to raise the unsustainable state of the industry and is not quite sure how to answer these valid concerns.

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