By Bevan Springer
BARBADOS – I often look forward to my travels to the Caribbean – a region with breathtaking scenery and with some of the most creative, not to mention caring, people on the planet.
Admittedly, occasionally my mind starts drifting to warmer climes while traversing the exhibits and meeting rooms of places like the World Travel Market in London, one of globe’s largest and most frenetic travel events.
Soon my Caribbean sojourn was underway to St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, Dominica, St. Lucia, Martinique and Barbados.
Connections allowed only short stops in St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Dominica and Martinique but I was blessed with a day or two on the other islands attending conferences and business meetings.
While in St. Croix and preparing to moderate a panel discussion on social media, my computer froze. Not only did the laptop freeze but it was overheating and the unit’s fan was blowing at a rapid pace.
I immediately returned to my hotel room to speak with my IT advisor stateside who in turn walked me through steps to open up the machine and examine its interior.
With the clock ticking, I needed a mini Phillips screw driver which was provided in record time by Edmond, a staff member at the Divi Carina Bay Resort and Casino on St. Croix. Not only did Edmond bring one, but he offered about four different varieties!
Realizing the challenge I faced, he sat patiently with me as my IT advisor talked me through the process of testing memory cards and slots while delicately removing hardware from the machine. Before we knew it, the machine powered up and Edmond shared my joy.
Edmond represents the authentic Caribbean – people who not only generously assist visitors, on leisure and vacation, but also through their basic kindness allow tourists to have memorable experiences during their visits to the region.
Similarly, I was overjoyed by the incredibly warm reception offered by the staff of the elegant Calabash Cove Resort and Spa in St. Lucia who, in the spirit of excellence, were able to accommodate me at a moment’s notice during an unplanned visit to the island.
From the personable owner Konrad Wagner to the taxi driver who assisted me with my luggage, the receptionist, and the elegant Hotel Manager Unita Felicien who came to personally greet me on arrival, I was once again impressed by the natural warmth and spirit of the people, something which many skeptics in the region believe is not as evident as it should be.
My check-in experience at Calabash was mirrored 12 hours later upon check-out as Ms. Felicien personally bade me a fond farewell to my next destination, Barbados, where I was
blessed to spend quality time with my family.
Now, it’s back to the US mainland where memories of the Caribbean will keep me quietly glowing and ready for the next visit.
Life so needs the Caribbean!
Bevan Springer, a New York Amsterdam News columnist who writes frequently on travel and tourism issues as well as the Caribbean Diaspora, is the President of the New Jersey-headquartered Marketplace Excellence – a full service, integrated marketing firm committed to excellence in the fields of public relations, marketing and media coaching. He also produces the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism – CMEx.