St. John may not be able to profit from the next big trend in tourism – "green vacationing." It’s got the beaches, eco-tours, and an unspoiled environment. But it also has hassles today’s travelers will not put up with. The biggest obstacle, says a nationally known travel industry consultant, is getting to the island.
"It’s all about facilitation," explained Berkeley Young of Randall Travel Marketing. "From the time people get off the plane in St. Thomas at the airport, they are frustrated.
"There’s no proper greeting. They’re given a urine cup’s portion of punch. There’s nobody asking, ‘How can we help you?’ They have to fight taxicabs. It’s a horrible experience," Young said.
While veteran travelers will endure the challenges of getting to Red Hook, onto a ferry, and finding their villa or resort greeter in Cruz Bay, Young warns many will not. “They get on island and they’re irritated and angry.”
"When people come to these islands, they are desperate for escape. They want someone to do it all for them," Young said. He warns that cruise ships are strong competition for tourists’ dollars. The industry has made it simple. You make a phone call, they’ll book your airline ticket, greet you at the airport, they’ll handle your bags, put them in your cabin.
He urged the island’s Tourism Commissioner to work with hotels, restaurants, and villa managers to work together to improve the experience for travelers.
How do you think St. John could be more accommodating to visitors? Offer some advice here.
Listen to the first part of our conversation with travel consultant Berkeley Young.
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