I recently attended a conference at a Caribbean hotel, where we had to walk through the casino to reach the conference centre each day. The flashing panels, sounds, and chingching of the slot machines was quite tempting and downright calculated, forcing a daily focus on prioritising work over play. Several presenters, which included world renowned security experts, indicated that data was the new gold, in dealing with issues, risks, and attending to customers. Basically, if you capture the right data, and process it correctly to make reasonable inferences, then your actions have a sound basis on which to be grounded.
In that light, it is understandable to hear of the recent news of Virgin Atlantic’s “demands of a multi-million dollar subsidy” made to the government to continue its current flight schedule into Saint Lucia. From that news, one might assume that Virgin predicts a near-future in which its profitability may be impacted by prevailing issues and economic trends, and therefore sought to plug the hole in its predicted profitability. All well and good!
Less encouraging, even disappointing, was the government announced reason for turning down Virgin’s demands for a further subsidy to maintain its flights! The fear of ‘setting a precedent’ in which other airlines might demand similar concessions, is plausible, yet weak, and passive. Recognise that we live in a country where the cost of fuel is re-computed on a thrice-weekly basis via a pass-through mechanism. It is evident that fuel records are maintained, studied, and then decisions regularly made on the basis of these figures.
Since our government and our country can boast of ICT centres all around, and ICT capacity bursting at the seams, this fear seems a poor reason to turn down Virgin Atlantic’s offer. We collect data for hotel occupancy and tourist arrivals. The next ingredient is the analysis of this data to arrive at predictions even before Virgin, LIAT, BA, or another carrier makes the first move in demanding subsidies.
The true fear should be that other industries are further ahead than our own government, outflanking us with respect to understanding issues and trends that impact our major tourism industry. Otherwise, we remain paralyzed living in perpetual fear of stakeholders holding us to ransom, instead of making proactive decisions based on data well within our reach.
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About the Author
Dr. Lyndell St. Ville is an ICT Consultant based in Saint Lucia. His expertise includes systems analysis, database design, and capacity building.