If we were to fight fire with fire, why couldn't we make an epidemic work for us as a region? With the recent pandemic fresh in our minds, we were able to see the impact it had on virtually every aspect of our society - commerce, trade, tourism and hospitality, healthcare, the environment and others.
The tourism sector finally realizes that their locals are also people with spending power, and only now their backs are against the wall try to woo them in to use the products and services they sell. In many cases the locals, many of whom were treated badly before now reject them. It should be a wake up call for an industry that claims to offer hospitality, but only offered hospitality to people with foreign accents and foreign exchange.
Hotels and restaurants clamour for industry recognised accolades of 5 star, green globe, luxury, prestigious, and the like; yet they lost to common touch of how to interact and treat their fellow citizens who work hard and save for vacations only to go overseas since they weren't appreciated in their own domicile. It's for this reason that Staycations may not have enjoyed more success than they could have.
This was a discussion that many shared their thoughts on recently, and they were not complimentary to those who were hospitality practitioners.
What can we do? We have to revamp the mindset of everyone in our countries.
As we learned, those of us who studied hospitality are no longer employed exclusively in tourism. We have gone into many diverse fields within which the what we learned in hospitality now plays an integral part in our careers.
So what is excellence? How can we create a movement of excellence within our countries?
The dictionary defines excellence as the quality of being outstanding or extremely good.
That being said, what are the areas in which we need to be outstanding? How does it contribute to us being renowned for the highest standards of hospitality? When will we move our branding to a more macro level to embrace entire nations as being outstanding in hospitality rather than just the dotted brands contained within the nation's borders? How can we make the attitude of excellence go viral within our borders? Where countries reduce crime, enhance our human touch, become more welcoming, maintain our cultural heritage and showcase our foods and way of life in the most positive way that others yearn for the experience they don't get at home, wherever that may be?
The mindset of excellence needs to permeate our societies as a whole. Growing within our homes, extending to our schools, and finally into the society at large. We need to be great at not only setting, but enabling standards to be realized. Finally, if those who interact with anyone of us realize the quality of excellence we have embraced as a way of life, they too will become enthralled with wanting such experiences.
Beyond our hotels, villas, and restaurants; the excellence should be in our insurance companies, our supermarkets, our educational institutions, corporate offices, small businesses, and even our street vendors. Let us strive to live and demonstrate our best lives, not for tourists, but for our fellow citizens, our neighbours. Wherever we go and whomever we greet, they will realize that we are committed, we have been infected by an epidemic of excellence.