BeKenya Smith - January 2017

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January 2017

BeKenya Smith
Duty Supervisor
Nassau Airport Development Company


1.    Can you briefly describe your experience in the tourism sector and what your role is today?

Over the past years, the tourism industry has evolved significantly in our country. We have facilitated groups of visitors from various tourism sectors through LPIA. Sports, financial, eco, and religious tourism have all been in the forefront over the recent years.  As a result, there are some new developments in the industry.  However, we continue to facilitate the traditional families traveling in droves to our shores displaying eagerness to create lasting and unique experiences with their loved ones.
As a Duty Supervisor at LPIA, one of my key responsibilities when conducting my duties is to ensure that visitors and returning residents are provided that "exceptional customer service or experience" while transiting the airport" from the moment passengers step foot in the jet bridge upon arrival as well as once they arrive at the curb for departure. Our objective is to "wow" them while creating a lasting, memorable experience of our country and airport.

2.    Why did you choose to work in tourism as a career? 

There is a saying that we use around the airport, "Never a dull day at LPIA" . This is one of the reasons why I chose to work in the industry. It is truly exciting! Every day brings new challenges and no two days are alike. This is what I crave! I enjoy being able to put on my creativity cap and find ways to resolve issues or problems and to make things happen!  The amazing opportunities of being able to meet the needs of persons from every walk of life, to resolve operational issues with a tenant, or assisting an airline with the smooth processing of passengers from a diverted flight, or helping a stranded passenger apply for a visa to enter a country is what makes me excited to wake up for work every morning! 

3.    What has been your most memorable moment?

It was March 16th, 2011 when the first stage of the redevelopment of LPIA - US Terminal opened for business. The faces of every man, woman, girl and boy who entered the facility for the first flights for the day was truly something to marvel! Scores of highly spirited individuals came out during the wee hours of the morning just to be some of the first to experience and admire the awesomeness of the structure and the milestone that our country had achieved. Yes, this was a glorious day for all! There would no longer be embarrassment anymore by the numerous buckets strategically placed throughout the terminals during rainfall to catch the water from the leaking rooftops, out dated washrooms or the very limited food/beverage choices were a thing of the past. To be a part of such history and to celebrate such an achievement in our country is a moment that has etched itself on the walls of my mind.

4.    Has the industry changed since you started your career? How?

The industry has certainly changed over the years. I have noticed that the number of arriving visitors at  LPIA continues to move northward as a result of the emergence of new markets from Latin America and the expansion of direct services from North American cities, new projects such as boutique hotels around the family of islands and mega developments as that of BahaMar. I have seen more investment than times before in the promotion of the islands of the Bahamas via social media portals, televisions, billboards in US cities, worldwide magazines etc. I have seen more visitors connecting to family islands through LPIA than ever before. For the industry to be successful, we have to continue in this trend to secure its growth in the region.

5.    What should The Bahamas focus on to stay competitive?

Firstly, the Bahamas must begin to take pride and cherish our beautiful archipelago of islands.  Every island has resources that showcase our natural heritage and the beauty of our country. We must continue to safeguard and maintain these resources if we truly would like to remain the destination of choice. Secondly, we have to search deep within ourselves and find ways that we can assist in the fight against crime in our nation. Our nation cannot compete on the world stage as the premier destination if we continue to have increasing crime rates in our country.  Lastly but more importantly, it is absolutely essential that persons working in the tourism and related industries demonstrate a passion for what they do and strive to provide consistently, superior customer service. It will set us apart from the rest!

6.    What advice would you give to a young person who is considering a career in tourism?

A few pieces of advice come to mind. Firstly, I would encourage young persons to never give up on your dreams and to always know that you can break any glass ceiling by constantly applying pressure! Continue to greet every opportunity with an open mind and to be on the lookout for various opportunities that may present themselves. Finally, never stop learning! You never have enough or too much education. Education is endless.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 April 2017 13:00  

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