10 reasons why I love Tobago but hate going there!!!

This is a general shout out and blogger rant to all the people in Tobago who work in the tourist industry or what purports to be a tourist industry.

I don’t live in Trinidad anymore – some days I’m sad about this, but all it takes to remind me that I’m glad to visit but not stay in Trinidad is a two week refresher in Trinidad itself. However, the frustration I feel at Trinidad, is nothing compared to the contempt I generally feel to those in the Tobagonian tourist industry.

A couple points about why tourism in Tobago cannot and will not ever grow or be significant

  1. Tobago needs the tourism but the tourists do not necessarily need Tobago yet the powers that be that control tourism cannot see that the problem is the people themselves.
  2. Customer feedback is a waste of time. Abject, absolute waste of time. Tourist “people” in Tobago ask for an exit survey when you leave. You can make the most wonderful suggestions – do not bother – it is a colossal “make work” project, so a politician can say that they are trying to improve things.
  3. Tourists need efficiency and facilities. The airport is neither efficient or has facilities. Until some money is spent to upgrade Crown Point – it will just be the same unconcerned staff with their nonchalant attitude about you, your time or your business. I always fly to Tobago from Trinidad, either very early or very late – since I don’t want to have a problem with these people – they couldn’t shit in a swimming pool.
  4. Have you all heard that computers have revolutionized the world – “we can use them to make things go faster”. Customs and immigration use a considerable amount of time going through papers and documents and using stamps but never seem concerned about getting the people through as soon as possible.
  5. Smiles are free, even if your people seem to be broke all the time.  When I have to beg for a coffee or almost slap someone in a grocery to give me a bottle of rum, while she dusts the aforementioned bottle of rum and people are behind cussing, will make tourists homicidal.
  6. I’ve never had to pay a bill or use a bank, but I have heard of waits of two hours at a bank for service. Which tourist in their god damn mind would come back?
  7. Hustlers made people hate Jamaica, and unless you’re a German woman looking for a black Tobagonian penis (Germans are especially unwelcome in Tobago for the way they behave); hustlers are not welcome. I hate people grabbing at me and trying to hustle me for anything.
  8. Why should Sugarlips, Tight Chest, Dimples  (actual names on the beach… seriously) be hustling to rent  chairs and umbrellas on the beaches (at Store Bay for example). Having these hustlers is just terrible and gives tourists the impression that Trinis and Tobagonians are some hungry, starving people who can’t find jobs. These guys can’t hustle me, since I’m hard with them and don’t even talk to them until I am ready …
  9. Everything is so expensive. Food is brutally expensive, when compared to other islands. I have no issue with being charged US prices, but then give me US or Canadian service with the same portion size.

    You all claim it is expensive to import things into Tobago … what about other islands, don’t they have the same issues? Tobago still has a long way to go in order to meet the standards of the other islands and tourists are having to pay too much for what they get in return. When the tourists go to other islands, they realise this and never return to Tobago.

  10. Spend money on “Tourist” police, like other tourist destinations. Police who specially trained to deal with tourist and civilian matters.  Spend money on presence also – as a Trini, I can handle myself in Tobago, but other people have issues with this.  Trinis like value for their money, don’t you think that tourists also like get value for their money.

Fix all of this and maybe then one old British couple won’t be able to wreak havoc on perception of Tobago and then they will want to come and spend money in Tobago.


PR professional for Tobago tourism

Originally printed at http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/PR_professional_for_Tobago_tourism-112841024.html By Abby Brathwaite abby.brathwaite@trinidadexpress.com
January 4, 2010

The advice of a crisis communication expert will be sought for help in dealing with the damage to this country’s tourism industry as a result of a cutlass attack against a British couple in Tobago last year.Minister of Tourism Rupert Griffith made the announcement yesterday after a meeting with tourism stakeholders at the Ministry of Tourism head office.The meeting was in response to record low tourist arrivals in Tobago and also came on the heels of a public campaign by British couple Peter and Murium Green, who were hacked across their faces in August 2009, to warn tourists about the crime situation.The Greens have complained that their promised compensation was not forthcoming.
 “Among some of the decisions we took here today was on the Greens issue is that we see the need for an intensive PR (public relations) campaign for damage control because of the effect it is having on the tourist situation not only in Tobago but Trinidad and Tobago,” Griffith said. “We want to engage a crisis communication PR agency whereby we will seek to get all the facts surrounding the Green issue and we will set up a marketing strategy to do some damage control.”

Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Orville London, who was also at the meeting, said hiring this expert should not be seen as an admission by the THA that they did not handle the situation properly.”From the perspective of what was already done I do not think that the Tobago House of Assembly can be faulted we got to accept the reality and that is according to international standards we would have treated with this situation in an exemplary manner,” London said.

“But the perception out there is something that must be treated with and that is one of the areas that we may need some expert advice. But the fact that we are doing it does not indicate that we are dissatisfied with the way that we treated with the issue.” He added that additional compensation for the couple was not discussed at the meeting and said that they (Greens) could still access compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act. Cabinet is yet to appoint a board to administer compensation to victims of crime.
Tourism stakeholders will meet again tomorrow in Tobago where it is expected a decision regarding the hiring of the public relations expert will be made. London also noted that a major cruise ship company, Royal Caribbean, will not visit this country for the 2011-2012 season, until an outstanding sum of $6 million which was stolen in Grenada, but ended up in Trinidad, was returned.

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at rishi@rishiray.com

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