Caribbean Tourism: it's the same everywhere

One of the stories on the news last night (that's right, ZNS news) was a longish feature on the sufferings of Atlantis, Paradise Island, as the result of the recession. I really didn't write down the figures, but they were enough to elicit weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth -- 3% down in occupancy from projections (it's important to get these titles right) overall this year until May and June, when the occupancy was 20-something % down from projections.I wept, I tell you. Wept.What I found fascinating, though, was that the news didn't go beyond Atlantis and find out what the overall tourism economy was like. Atlantis has always had significantly higher occupancy rates than the national average, for a number of reasons that I'd rather not go into here and now (though one of them is that they don't promote the fact that they are in The Bahamas all that much, and that they suck tourists right off the face of the rest of New Providence and swallow all their money so that ordinary Bahamians don't get anything other than crumbs from the master's table -- don't believe me, go watch After the Sunset, the Big Movie our Ministry of Tourism landed half a decade or so ago to much fanfare and celebration, and tell me if you ever hear either the word "Bahamas" or even a recognizable Bahamian accent in the whole thing. I can tell you now you won't -- the place it's set in is called "Paradise" and the main location, despite some forays onto the main island of New Providence -- was Paradise Island, aka the home of Atlantis. But I digress.) Perhaps, on National Pride Day (the Friday before Bahamian Independence), the news would be too grim.So anyway. I thought I'd take the liberty to cheer us up by sharing the misery a little, and by sharing maybe too a laugh or two. This is thanks to Nicholas Laughlin, whose tweet directed me to this post. Let's look beyond our shores and cast our minds upon our sister B'Island (I mean Barbados, in case you didn't know), where tourists and tourism are addressed by one Ingrid Persaud. There's unity, after all, in shared suffering.

Times are hard and money is too tight to mention. If you can still afford a vacation we really want you to come to our small rock. Never mind the scandalous treatment of undocumented workers or the huge hike in water rates because the water company failed to put aside funds for depreciation. None of this will perturb your paradise. You must come here for the exquisite beaches, superb restaurants and friendly people.Well the beaches are fantastic but maybe best to avoid Mullins Beach because the extensive building works in that area have directly caused severe beach erosion. Restaurants are world class but once you are prepared to pay London prices your digestion will be easier. And the friendly people you might meet on the beach are very friendly if you want to buy shells or get your hair braided. The rest of the population will treat you as if you have had a longstanding quarrel or more likely ignore you.But these are minor matters. I really, really want you to choose Barbados rather than Bali for the summer or winter hols. Maybe you have been put off because there are questions you have but were too afraid to ask. I have gathered a number of such questions that the Tourist Board have neglected to address and provided answers to the best of my ability. These are authentic, hearsay inquiries. If you have others please drop me line.

--Notes From A Small Rock: WE PROMISE YOU PARADISE