Tourism + TDC = A study in social media failure!

After my experience at TBEX ’13, I took away four things

  1. Using Twitter to increase your travel brand is MANDATORY. It’s not possible to succeed in Social Media without Twitter feeds
  2. Tourism boards, hotel chains and credit loyalty programs have absolutely come around and see the value of travel bloggers – the ROI is substantive, especially if you’re looking to change or target specific demographics.
  3. Trinidadian tourism and TDC are set up for failure because of the lack of recognition of social media’s impact on tourism.
  4. TDC social media efforts are basically non-existent (I would love to see if there is actually any … since Google wasn’t my friend in that search)

It’s sad when you go to the world’s largest travel blogger conference in Toronto – with exposure to bloggers from all parts of the world … and there’s nothing from Trinidad. We have an embassy here in Toronto and 1000’s of Trinidadians living here … hell, I would say that we have about 100,000 Trinis or Trini descendants just in Toronto alone. When tourism organizations from Israel, Jordan, Belgium or Denmark can send someone to Toronto – why couldn’t someone from TDC pick up the phone, call the T&T embassy in Toronto and work something out?
It’s completely ridiculous when you read about repatriation tourism efforts and the tripe that you see on the government tourism website. I laughed when I read the following from the press release – they sent Stephen Cadiz and some flunkies (High Commissioner to London, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, the Secretary for Transportation and Tourism in Tobago and a number of Stakeholders) to Germany for the International Tourism Bourse … the listed benefits are

  • To stimulate an awareness of Trinidad and Tobago as a prime Caribbean tourist destination.
  • To participate in a forum that provides the ideal opportunity for networking with the travel trade and decision makers in the international tourism industry.
  • To maximize the opportunity for international press coverage.
  • To achieve an increase in European stay over visitors to Trinidad and Tobago.

This is like Rupert Griffith making waves when Trinidad and Tobago was officially recognized with awards for the “World Best Tourism Destination 2012” and “Favourite Cultural Destination 2012” by the ECTT. That award by the “ECTT” made such a huge difference … I can see it now … all those people coming to Trinidad to sample our food without ratings, swim in our inaccessible and undeveloped beaches, wallow in pools of sweat made by staying in traffic or using our super fast transportation system at night after drinking at Smoky and Bunty.

If the TDC and the government wanted to excel and spread the word, they would take all that money that’s been spent and spend a little on one or two full time experienced social media consultants. The ROI would be easy to prove when running Klout scores, Google Page Ranks, Facebook reach scores and Twitter penetration rates within identified target demographics. When large multinationals corporations and much larger tourist boards can recognize the value offered through social media and travel bloggers – why doesn’t the TDC use this?

We are destined to fail at our tourism efforts because the stakeholders, decision makers and governmental associations have no understanding of the new media landscape. They are dinosaurs at the helm and like the dinosaurs … well you know what happened to the dinosaurs …

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

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