When I read the article ‘Slow Crop Over for car rental businesses’ in one section of the media, I was quite surprised, as the provisional arrival figures and various comments made by politicians, event organizers and policymakers indicated that attendance was good. If the headline has contained the word ‘some’ or ‘a couple’, perhaps it would be far more credible.
Just days before, the same ‘news’ source had published an article entitled ‘Lashley over the moon at Crop Over success’, in which the Minister was quoted as saying ‘it was virtually impossible to find hired cars’ over that period.
Having personally been a victim some time ago in the hands of the same media outlet, following a public confrontation with a hotel mogul, where it was totally misreported and absolutely erroneous comments were made. At the time I asked for a correction or retraction to be made but sadly these requests fell on deaf ears.
I fully understand that our ‘journalists’ cannot be experts and knowledgeable about every subject they write on, but surely if you do not know, it is your responsibility to check prior to going to press in absolute fairness to all involved.
To obtain some degree of balance, I contacted one of our largest car rental companies with a fleet well over 100 vehicles and they explained that around 85 per cent of their vehicles had been rented during the Crop Over period. Adding that when factoring that some of the vehicles were under repair this resulted in a virtual 100 per cent utilization.
There are already so many myths and misconceptions in tourism that it does no-one any good whatsoever to expand these in an already contentious industry, through poor and ill researched reporting.
Even after fifty years in the sector, involved in various component parts that make up the industry, including as a travel agent, tour director, tour operator and hotelier, I would be a fool to myself labouring under the illusion that I knew everything. Surely, it is no different in the media?
If in fact the one named company and the other operator ‘headquartered at Derricks, St, James’ were correct and ‘there was no business out there during Crop Over this year, you have to ask why some companies would do so well and other appears to fail dismally?
When I saw the cost of ‘paying the average $176.25 a day for a hired car,’ maybe that is where the challenge is. That’s a little less than I paid for an entire week hire for a compact car collected at Louisville airport in Kentucky last year, which included all the fees and taxes with a major brand rental company.
With available funds in the banks and financial institutions, I would have thought that the car suppliers and these lending entities could partner to offer more affordable hire purchase and leasing options for our car rental sector, to help bring down what are hugely globally uncompetitive rates, when compared to where many of our visitors emanate from. There also seems an enormous amount of room for our car rental providers to work better together to ensure we maximise foreign exchange earning potential.