Are we really ready for tourism?
It’s been three years since I last visited my sweet St Vincent and the Grenadines. After almost a week in the Grenadines, I needed to get more local currency. I woke up early to head into Kingstown to stand in line at the bank in the market area. I wanted to get a good spot in the line. I was feeling nostalgic as a vendor across the street at the car park was blasting some religious music and the song “Across the Bridge” was floating melodiously through the air. The people gathering outside the bank started singing along and some were humming, so I added my scratchy voice to the street choir. This is my SVG and I felt at home. My heart was smiling as we sang the lyrics, “Across the bridge there’s no more sorrow, across the bridge there’s no more pain…”. More people were now joining the crowd outside and I noticed there was not an organized line.
As the clock ticked away towards the eight o’clock hour and more people gathered, I started wondering how we would all remember the order of who came first. A few elderly men and women joined the group outside the door. As we got closer to opening, the crowd drew closer and closer to the door, but still no line. A few latecomers pushed passed me getting closer to the door and then the door opened. The same people who were singing the song “Across the bridge there’s no more pain”, were now pushing and shoving to get into the door first. Wait, what is happening? The worst was a young man no more than 30 years old dressed in his company’s logo shirt who pushed his way from the back of the crowd, shoving old women out of his way and successfully got to the front of the line. I stood in shock. This was not my SVG.
I quietly and politely approached the young man when I finally made it into the bank. I told him his actions were rude and unbecoming of a gentleman. He didn’t care. We talked quietly as he justified his deplorable actions. I asked to speak with the bank manager and the foolish answer I got about why an orderly line can’t be formed outside the bank was a clear indication that businesses in SVG have not thought about the ramifications of increased tourism and the need to build the infrastructure and systems that would accommodate the influx of people to our shores.
All the blame is not at the doorsteps of the business owners. We as Vincentians can do better. We have to set the tone for what we want.
3 Ways You Can Come Up Higher
1. Don’t be one of those rude people who push from the back of the line to the front. Our children are watching and copying our behaviour.
2. Encourage your friends and family to wait their turn and form orderly lines.
3. Let’s keep pressing the bank managers and tourism department to help make SVG a truly tourist friendly place.
Karen Hinds is an author, consultant and CEO of Workplace Success Group LLC, a consulting firm that helps organizations develop the next generation of leaders. www.workplacesuccess.com Social Media: @KarenHindsWSG