From an operational perspective several policy prescriptions may assist in improving the participation of domestic manufacturer’s in the development of Jamaica’s tourism product. Firstly, information sharing, particularly sharing information on inventory levels, has been cited as a possible countermeasure to the bullwhip effect (Croson and Donohue, 2005). Inventory information can be used to update demand estimates and lessen the impact of demand-signaling errors and delays, with suppliers enjoying most of the benefits. For example, high frequency data on the number of beds on order, number of beds that are approaching obsolescence can provide useful signals to suppliers to begin sourcing materials required to fill potential demand. These signals can thus be factored into the supplier's order (for material) decisions, resulting in lower safety stock and/ or higher service levels compared to cases where no inventory information is shared. Secondly, improving intra-sectoral communication, responsiveness and accountability through supplier integration, can be a significant source for competitive advantage. Improved partnerships with domestic suppliers, arising out of inter-sector dialogue, can help Jamaica’s hoteliers focus resources on their core business.17
Labour Market Insights and Policy Recommendations
The insights gained from the labour market dynamics revealed that the more aggressively hotels respond to annual tourism changes, the greater the shocks they can inflict upon the economy.18 During booms the demand for skilled and semi-skilled workers can increase considerably in a very short period of time. As noted earlier, if the demand on HR exceeds its capacity the quality of new hires may fall, diminishing the productivity of the sector. As such, having a pool of well-trained personnel who are able and ready to meet increased demand for labour is critical and underscores the importance of training and equipping personnel for increased productivity in the tourism sector. Experimentation with the model suggests that in boom the sector could require up to 9,000 new jobs to be generated over the next five years. On the other hand, because the sector tends to
18 17 However, these improvements in supply-chain efficiency occur over time and primarily through the development of existing supplier capabilities rather than large-scale supplier switching. This is true especially during downturns in the sector’s demand for labour.