• Today
    April 24

  • 12:51 PM

EDITORIAL: Make visitors feel welcome


Added 17 January 2016


PASSENGERS using Grantley Adams International Airport must be made to feel welcome. They must not believe that low standards are acceptable because this is a developing country.

It is only fair that after long and often exhaustive flights, visitors will want to get through Immigration and Customs quickly to get some rest or get on with their leisure or business activities.

As a service economy dependent on tourism, we must have benchmarks for how quickly we can serve each passenger at our ports of entry. This will require proper preparation and planning, especially for arrivals when aircraft with heavy passenger loads touch down within minutes of each other. However many people arrive almost simultaneously, two and half hours to clear customs is unacceptable.

Customs officers at the airport have vital responsibilities, including maintaining security, ensuring there are no breaches in the importation of illegal substances or products, and collection of appropriate duties. But they must also know how to lay out the red carpet for every arriving passenger.

Manpower shortages caused by Government’s budgetary constraints or unresolved industrial issues are not justifiable reasons for passengers to encounter poor customer service. This is why the problems highlighted by the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association of unacceptable delays in exiting Customs must be addressed immediately.

Today’s travellers have many ways to spread a negative message about the treatment they receive in much the same way they can speak of a good experience.

Comments via customer satisfaction surveys, on social media or simply by word of mouth are sometimes hard to counteract. Barbados cannot afford to lose visitors because of a poor reception at the first point of entry. It can cost the country in many ways.

We believe the majority of customs officers are dedicated public officers who do the right thing every day. They are truly committed to making Barbados better by ensuring the customer’s experience is a smooth and easy one. But, there are exceptions and it is the Comptroller of Customs’ duty to find a quick solution where problems exist.

Those officers in supervisory positions must do their job to help ensure the lines keep moving. The trade unions representing customs officers must not defend irresponsible behaviour and should make this clear publicly. We must not tiptoe around this problem in fear of offending wrongdoers.

Customs officers must focus on their primary mission, which is to maintain safety and security at the ports of entry, and also ensure a pleasant experience for all users of the airport.


Dos and Donts

Welcome to our discussion forum here on nationnews.com. We encourage lively debate, but we also urge you to take note of the following:

  • Stay on topic – This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.
  • Be respectful – Meeting differences of opinion with civil discussion encourages multiple perspectives and a positive commenting environment.
  • Do not type in capitals – In addition to being considered “shouting” it is also difficult to read.
  • All comments will be moderated – Given the volume of comments each day, this may take some time. So please be patient.
  • We reserve the right to remove comments – Comments that we find to be abusive, spam, libellous, hateful, off-topic or harassing may be removed.
  • Reproduction of comments – Some of your comments may be reproduced on the website or in our daily newspapers. We will use the handle, not your email address.
  • Do not advertise – Please contact our Advertising Department.
  • Contact our Online Editor if you have questions or concerns.
  • Read our full Commenting Policy and Terms of Use.
comments powered by Disqus


Did you expect more guns to be turned in during the amnesty?