Workers in the tourism industry have been told by Minister of Labour Colin Jordan that there is no room for discrimination against tourists.
Jordan, himself a former tourism executive, took his anti-discrimination message to a seminar on inclusive tourism organised jointly by the gay and lesbian advocacy group, B-GLAD, the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Canadian High Commission and Virgin Holidays.
“We are human beings who are interacting with other human beings”, Jordan said as he stressed the need to treat others as they would want to be treated.
“In tourism, there is no room for stereotyping.
“Human beings fear the unfamiliar, and we sometimes have to train ourselves to be kind, understanding, and respectful.
“In tourism, there is no room for discrimination. We, as workers in this industry, do not discriminate because it is not the decent, human thing to do.
“We do not discriminate because our guests are human beings. When we check in a guest, we are concerned only with the ability of the guest to pay. We do not ask if the guest has a temper, and is prone to destroy hotel furnishings. We accept people as they present, and we work to make their stay an enjoyable one.
“Discrimination is an issue that must be addressed because it speaks of treating to some… as inferior and as not deserving of the same level of treatment and respect as those of the main group(s).
“There are those who are traditionally discriminated against because of their ethnicity; racial identity; gender; sexual orientation; a disability; gender identity; religion; or in some cases their denomination.”
The Labour Ministry is preparing legislation to combat discrimination in the workplace, and put a framework in place to prevent its occurrence, the minister said
“Secondary to being the right thing to do, there are genuine economic benefits to rejecting stereotypes and discrimination, and rather being inclusive in our approach to the tourism industry,” said Jordan.
He stressed tourism’s vital role as the main driver of the Barbados economy, earning approximately half of the country’s foreign exchange, and as the single largest employer in the Caribbean, considered the region most dependent on tourism.