Today’s Editorial for December 09: What people want

In business, there’s a old maxim that dictates that you have to give people what they want.

Of course, in order to act on the maxim, a business owner needs to know, or at least have a good idea, what it is that people actually want.

One of the problems with the way governments around the world do business is that they seem to operate under different maxim, namely that they give what they want to give, not what the people want.

The Cayman Islands Government has, over the years, been guilty of the same kind of thinking. Not surprisingly, this thinking has led to some very costly mistakes.

Take the Pedro St. James tourist attraction, for instance. Although there is no denying it’s a beautiful venue now, it was built on the assumption tourists would want to come there. They don’t – at least not in large enough numbers to justify the cost of building the attraction.

One problem seems to be that not enough marketing research is done before governments rush headlong into some idea they think is brilliant.

It is therefore very good to see the Department of Tourism trying to get a grip on what it is people want. In particular, the DoT has recently surveyed tourists and residents on two issues: one involving the possible re-branding and change of theme to Pirates Week; and the other concerning the Cayman Jazz Fest.

Such a strategy is sure to lead to more informed decision making, which in turn should lead to better decisions.

In addition, the Immigration Department also issued an online survey recently in effort to give their customers what they want – which is improved service. This might not seemingly affect Government’s bottom line, but if having an efficient and friendly Immigration Department helps lure a new company here, or keeps one from leaving, then it does help Cayman’s economy.

We hope we see much more of this kind of research by many of government’s agencies and departments in the future.