We Don’t Want Tourists Here: A Trini Perspective

For Trinidad and Tobago, investing in tourism makes sense, particularly in the face of our current economic climate. Decreasing oil prices mean that our black gold mine is losing value and, at this moment, cannot support our economy as it once did. We, therefore, need to find other sources of revenue and, with Carnival around the corner, the time is ripe to lend greater focus to our tourism sector.

By nature, we’re perfectly set-up as an in-demand holiday destination for foreigners. By human nature, not so much.

Our tropical climate, landscape, food and culture are great selling points for our twin island home. Foreigners looking for adventure, relaxation, an exciting night life, the experience of a lifetime, or belly-filling eats, can find them all right here. And our sweet T&T is being recognized more and more. We count a placement in Vogue magazine’s top 10 travel destinations for 2017, and this month’s visit by celebrity chef, Anthony Bourdain, among our latest touts.

Yet, a view from the inside shows we fall short on one of the basic means through which to attract tourists, and keep them coming back. If they can overlook our litter-strewn streets, annoying traffic and (more often than not) unkempt public facilities, our customer poor service will not go unnoticed. It’s a simple concept and requires little exertion: be kind to those who seek your service. Bad attitudes have infested T&T’s business sector, however, and an encounter with good customer service feels like an anomaly.

How many of us have walked into a business place, only to be greeted by scowling faces, bored stares, harsh tones and pure ignorance of the service being offered? When was the last time you reached the head of a line and the cashier wouldn’t even look at you as you placed your order? Or you called a service provider only to have the Customer Service Representative cut you off mid-question? Too many people, too many times, and if we’d like to capitalize on our potential to qualify as The World’s Greatest Getaway, we need to clean up our act now.

As customers, sometimes we feel there’s little we can do to influence the quality of service we receive, but there are a couple remedies we can all use to combat bad service:

Speak up and take action.

If you’re experiencing bad service, complain about it. Be sure to let the owner or manager know of your displeasing encounter, so that they can fix the problem. If it comes down to it, you can refuse to accept their service and leave. The more customers demand good service, the louder businesses will hear our plea.


Businesses can try to eliminate or decrease the occurrence of bad customer service attitudes by providing mandatory, intensive customer service training to their employees, but the best time to begin training is from childhood. Parents, guardians and teachers should try to instil values of kindness and charitability in T&T’s children so that they grow up understanding and practicing the underlying tenets of good customer service.



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