“I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly” – John 10:10

Last Sunday my son Bevan and I, basking in the euphoria that is Dubai, continued our travels to Singapore. We were confirmed in Business on Emirates for the Dubai to Singapore leg (seven hours flying). We stopped in Colombo, Sri Lanka and the in-flight service was again exceptional.

Although the UAE, Sri Lanka and Singapore newspapers comprehensively covered Cricket World Cup 2007, there was no evidence of any public relations or advertising presence from Caribbean travel and tourism players – public nor private – in the print or broadcast mass media we had consumed in these parts of the world.

It would seem sensible to start the sales effort now that the marketing exposure is unprecedented. Something can still be done about it with six weeks of cricket action to go. What are we waiting for? Surely, after the World Cup one would have missed the impulse buyer window, since the level of CWC marketing exposure would have dwindled considerably.

Some aspects of the Caribbean tourism product can be experienced in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Far East, but there is a market niche, with considerable disposable income, consisting of persons who are looking for new, exotic leisure experiences.

I must say that from the press reports of journalists who were present in Trelawny for the CWC Opening Ceremony, it was a grand affair. We watched the event on the Internet and were similarly impressed with the content and performances, even though the choreography for the TV presentation left much to be desired.

Congratulations to the West Indies team on winning the tournament opener with a very professional performance, particularly from the younger members of the team. A report by Paul Radley, Sports Reporter with Emirates Today reads: “Dwayne Bravo revealed a crisis meeting between the West Indies’ young guns was the inspiration for their uplifting opening win over Pakistan. The side’s junior players called the meeting after their embarrassing 85 all out in a warm-up defeat to India. Golden Oldies like Captain Brian Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul were barred. Bravo said, ‘we decided it was time to put our hands up and come to the party, especially when the senior players don’t really step up. That worked out. I must give credit to Marlon Samuels, who batted very well, and Dwayne Smith with the ball. I think the bowling performances by all of us were very good.’”

It is refreshing to see some leadership potential emerging from the young guns. This starkly contrasted with captain Brian Lara’s reported announcement of his intention to play Test cricket until he is 40.

Our Singapore visit, Bevan’s first, and my fourth, was inspiring. Dr. Carlisle Boyce, my contemporary at Harrison College secondary school in Barbados was the perfect host. Now the Executive Director, Industry and Electronic business of 3M Corporation in the Asia Pacific Region, he extended the finest in “CaribAsian” hospitality, meeting us at the Changi International Airport upon arrival. He later took us out for a memorable Singaporean seafood experience.

We watched the CWC opening ceremony on Monday morning and then visited the 3M plant for general discussion and to finalise our plans for the visit.

On Monday night we were hosted for dinner by one of Bevan’s media colleagues, a Singaporean, who is an editor of a top travel trade publication which dominates in the Asia Pacific region. We discussed that Caribbean editorial exposure in such a magazine could help boost tourism arrivals and expenditures from new markets. Even though the best strategy would have been to generate this exposure prior to CWC, a long term alliance with media in this region would be prudent consideration for our tourism marketers.

The next morning, we met Carlisle for an early breakfast along with Dr C. Devendra (affectionately known as Dev), an animal nutritionist, friend and a former faculty colleague at the Faculty of Agriculture, UWI, over 35 years ago. He is now a fellow of the Academy of Sciences in Malaysia.

Later, Carlisle took us to meet with the Economic Development Board, which has a very good relationship with his company. We had a stimulating presentation and discussion with Ms. Meow Ling on Singapore’s development strategies and performance over the past 45 years and on possible areas for Caribbean collaboration.

That evening, Dev treated us to a Singaporean Indian culinary experience which naturally included some delicious curry samplings. Joining us on that occasion were Dev’s Singaporean hosts, both medics, and an oil industry colleague of Bevan from his United World College past in British Columbia, along with his wife. Our after dinner treat was the West Indies Pakistan match which induced night-time sleep, amidst the Internet buffering, and later until midday that day.

Carlisle accompanied us at our final dining experience at Clarke Quay and then on a short river cruise spiked with historical commentary. It was well after midnight when he saw us past airport security after visiting his 11th floor apartment. We partook of the panoramic view and an appropriate nightcap.

Next week … a continuation of the Singapore story I penned in 2003 after my second visit to this striking small island nation. Until then, be blessed.

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc.)

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