Friday, May 20, 2016

A better tourist trap

When I’m choosing a holiday destination, I like to look for somewhere that has great beaches, a vibrant night life and a low probability of me being brutally murdered. That’s why Minister of Tourism Shamfa Cudjoe was upset this week at people who were sharing grisly pictures of murdered victims on social media, making it appear we have a towering violent crime epidemic. 

After all, we don’t want potential tourists getting the wrong idea; that T&T is a place with reliable internet connections. Or for that matter, drawing their attention to our towering violent crime epidemic.

 But perhaps Minister Cudjoe should adopt a new strategy when it comes to tourism. Instead of the usual method of tricking people into coming here, let’s just own who we are. The fact is, T&T is a tough sell to a foreigner who wants an exciting, culturally enriching holiday; that doesn’t involve being potentially strangled to death in the Queens Park Savannah.   

We should instead focus our appeal on those demographics who would surely find T&T the perfect holiday hot spot. These include:

Forget the Scarlet Ibis or the Leather-back Turtle, T&T is a child bride watching paradise. That’s because the Inter Religious Organization (IRO) is strenuously defending the law that says Hindu and Muslim girls as young as 12 and 14 may get married.   

According to IRO leader Brother Harrypersad Maharaj, child marriages are an “ancient tradition” and “age does not determine maturity”. And presumably that “after 12 is lunch”.
According to global black market tracker Havocscope, a child bride can go for as much $US25, 000. This is surely more money than Carnival generates.

According to psychiatrists, necrophilia is a term used to describe a fascination with the dead. This can range from a morbid curiosity for watching dead bodies, to desiring sexual pleasure with a corpse, to really sick things like buying a copy of the Newsday.  

Necrophiliacs will certainly have the time of their lives in T&T. With our spiralling murder rate and love of watching dead bodies, whether it be in the media, Facebook, or just along the highway; necrophiliacs can rest easy knowing they will not stand out as the weirdos they are.

Plus thanks to the IRO they may even be able to marry dead children.

Paranoid Schizophrenics 
Paranoid schizophrenics live with the mental disorder that makes then think they are constantly under secret surveillance. This makes T&T a prefect holiday destination for them. Here they don’t have to worry if they are crazy because they really are under secret surveillance! 

That’s because T&T recently passed controversial legalization that allows the state to spy on anyone they deem to be a threat. And they have promised never to abuse it. Like they did in 2010 when some trade union leaders, journalists and opposition politicians were all secretly spied on. 

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi has said that privacy is not an absolute right except of course if you’re a government minister making large cash deposits at First Citizens Bank. Or if you’re using your credit card to buy your wife sexy underwear.

We have always ignored the Venezuelan tourist market. That’s because Hugo Chavez Supporters like the late UWI Professor Norman Girvan maintained that Venezuelans had no desire to leave a socialist paradise like Venezuela. But as we all know though, thousands of Venezuelans are currently exploring their options for possible long term holiday destinations.       

Of all the demographics mentioned, Venezuelans may be the easiest group to lure to our shores. All they really seem to want is a place that has peace, quiet and no mention of the words “socialism”, or “Hugo Chavez”.

There are some challenges though.  Recently acting Prime Minister Colm Imbert said that even though 14,000 Venezuelans had visited these shores this year, the vast majority returned home. With only 43 staying. It should concern Minster Cudjoe and everyone else in our tourism sector that people from a country with no electricity, food or toilet paper, should come to T&T, and decide  they would rather go back home.

However I’m sure by changing our approach in targeting potential tourists we will attract thousands of new visitors to our shores. And Trinis will welcome them with eager and open arms. As long as they are not Jamaican. 

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