Demming Chronicles chat with Tourism Professional, Warren Soloman & Graphic Designer, Ayrid Chandler

Trini in Montserrat

Warren Solomon, director of the Tourism Division in Montserrat comments that the pandemic has provided the region with an opportunity to rethink and re-design our tourism offerings especially since the Caribbean is seen as one of the world’s most famous holiday destinations.  The experience of living in Montserrat with a population of barely 5,000 (the size of a pre-pandemic Carnival fete) has helped him to have a greater appreciation for the unique beauty of our smallness.

Regional Transportation

He acknowledged that regional transportation has a major role to play in stimulating and sustaining the tourism sector.  As a micro island where airlift is limited, the current offering is on 9-seater carriers which Montserrat is planning to improve to 19 seaters later this year.  The region’s traditional focus on North America and Europe as source markets could be refocussed to target our Caribbean people as a potential market.  The major implication would be to find a way to make regional travel less expensive and more convenient.  It is well noted that intraregional travel is expensive, time consuming and not easily available.

The Cruise Ship Opportunity

With the potential rebound of the cruise industry, the Caribbean has an opportunity to renegotiate some of the lop-sided terms and conditions which currently exist so that the host islands benefit from gaining a greater portion of the tourist dollar which is spent on visiting the destination.     

Our sustainable development agenda must include focussing on changing the way the tourism product unfolds in the region and understanding that there is an untapped market in regional tourism.

Destined to be a Designer

At 20:40 the conversation moved to how design impacts our daily life with Graphic Designer Ayrid Chandler.  Growing up in a Catholic home, her form 5 assignment was to prepare for career choice.  She followed the advice to reflect and pray for guidance and Design “popped up”.  (True Story) Her childhood was spent helping her father who worked in Advertising critique television commercials while her friends looked at cartoons and puppet shows.  Photography, graphic designer and event execution were the ways she contributed to her Alma Mater, so it is not unusual that she ended up as one of our country’s leading young Graphic Designers.

Crisis of Identify

In reflecting on the role of design in national development Ayrid commented that Trinidad and Tobago is in great need of a re-branding exercise which would provide an opportunity for us to reflect on who we are?  Inherent in the design process is an element of problem solving and a 360-degree approach to communicating about anything.  By way of example if she embarked on a national re-branding exercise, she would ask the question: “how to do you want people to feel when they interact with you each time?”  Consider the profound impact that reflecting on this, and similar questions could have on our national psyche.

Ayrid graduated with a B.F.A. in Graphic Design Cum Laude from Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta in 2012.

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