An essential conversation in Startup Corporation Boardrooms involves deciding on the organization’s Unique Selling Proposition but many fail to fully grasp the following concept:
- What We Do Best & What We Do Better Than Anyone Else are Not Necessarily the Same Thing.
With Jamaica’s Tourism industry being the country’s Number #1 active earner of Foreign Exchange (remittances are passive), our focus should be on what we do better than anyone else, while not abandoning or reducing what we do best either!
For our purposes, we shall label Traditional Sun, Sea & Sand Tourism as what Jamaica does best – amongst a myriad of other tourism providers also offering Sea, Sand & Tropical Weather – basic raw materials abundantly available globally that do not generate a competitive advantage to any single provider.
Porter’s Diamond Model of National Competitive Advantage clearly states that factor conditions necessary for market domination are not inherited but rather created in a nation.
In other words, Jamaica’s Vacation Rental Product – as a random example – will never be internationally dominant as we are using technologies & processes developed & honed elsewhere.
If we Envision Jamaica as the Technological Hub of the Caribbean, our interactions with technology must extend beyond Email, Facebook & Instagram.
For us to compete, in Tourism & otherwise, there has to be greater production of Jamaican technology & processes to move us away from being mere consumers into developers.
The national goals of Jamaica’s tourism sector integrates aspirations for an internationally competitive product that is distinctly Jamaican, in an inclusive sector that contributes to economic development, with a skilled workforce & a sustainable environment, but in reality, these honorable aspirations are actually necessary requirements for market domination.
Jamaica’s well-noted lack of competitiveness & product differentiation within the global marketplace can all be effectively addressed by applying Porter’s Theory of Demand Conditions which states that demand at home has a major influence on almost every industry.
The composition of Demand for an Industry within its Home Country shapes how firms perceive, interpret & respond to buyer needs.
Nations gain Competitive Advantage in industries where the home demand gives local firms a clearer or earlier picture of buyer needs than foreign rivals can have.
Case in point, Jamaica’s homegrown Reggae & Dancehall musical industries.
In Jamaica, Music & Entertainment product life cycles are very short as buyers have sophisticated homogeneous tastes, combined with personal / community identity & status consciousness attached to the musical & entertainment products that they consume.
In addition, there is the traditional fierce competition for entertainment dollars between Jamaica’s multitude’s of Selectors & Sound Systems, collectively making the Industry very responsive to the fleeting tastes & wants of fickle domestic buyers.
Local industry competition is so intense that Sound Systems are “forced” to export their Stage Shows overseas just to find growth in sustainable markets!
Today, this organic combination gives Jamaica a competitive advantage in comparison with foreign rivals. The sophistication & intensity of Jamaica’s Music industry is so fine-tuned we are able to entertain non-English speaking buyers from Tibet to Tajikistan – just from our domestically honed Beat, Rhythm & Vibes!
It was & is not the size of Jamaica’s domestic music market that is important, but the intensity & sophistication of the demand here at home that was significant for our nation’s Competitive Advantage in this particular industry to organically emerge. It is the production of sophisticated home-grown products that gradually gives a country competitive advantage in such production.
It is not an accident that Jamaica leads the world in music production per capita.
A Jamaican is definitely in this moment writing a song about something somewhere…
The question now becomes “How Can we now Recreate or even Exceed the Accidental Success of Jamaican Community Music deliberately with Jamaican Community Tourism”?
In addition to tactical administrative details like awarding 90-Day Visas to more countries and adjusting legislation to allow foreigners to participate in Work/Exchange and/or certain, specific, Temporary Job-types to help finance their stay – strategically Jamaica will need to additionally encourage Home Market consumption of our Community Tourism offerings.
In our case, the Home Market can be easily expanded to include the already constant stream of “Heritage Tourists” – a.k.a. Visiting Diaspora from abroad, as we organically grow, develop & improve our own Differentiated brand of Community Tourism that is distinctly Jamaican.
The Rest of the World Will Adapt to Us – in Safety – as a natural & expected part of their consciously chosen Experiential Travel experience!
By Winston Irie