Special Features
November 30, 2007
The winning essay in the 2007 Nast ‘My Caribbean Essay’ contest – John Rickhards


“Imagine you are the Minister of Tourism for your island. What would you do, and what projects could you create, to help bring locals and tourists closer together?”

One summer, my parents explained to me that we were going on a holiday and we were going to be tourists. I was so excited with the thought of being a tourist because I could go snorkeling, hiking, jet skiing, sit on the beach in the sun in my straw hat, and have a fancy cocktail drink.{{more}} I even thought of drinking a little wine with my candlelit dinner, but I know my parents wouldn’t allow me to drink alcohol. I wanted the ideal tourist experience because I have seen tourists in movies and they appear to be having fun.

Years later, I still remembered my first tourist experience and I dreamt of making my island the ideal tourist attraction. My dream turned real when one morning I woke up with a burst of energy which caused me to jump out of bed and run to the television. I turned on the television to make sure that last night wasn’t a dream, it actually happened. I flipped from channel to channel and the headline was obvious. There was a change in government and the new Prime Minister had indeed called me last night and offered me the job as Minister of Tourism.

Several projects which would draw locals and tourists immediately came to my mind. I wanted locals to be involved in order to make tourism a success. Firstly, I would examine all the natural tourist attractions such as waterfalls, the volcano, beaches, and hiking trails. I would have workshops with the locals to inform them of the importance of natural attractions and how they could play apart by securing these attractions from criminals in order to make the tourists more safe. The locals would act as tour guides whenever tourists would visit the island and educate tourists about our local culture.

Secondly, I would work with the travel agents to develop tourist packages including tickets to local shows. During these shows the tourist could join with the locals in dances and songs and even learn to cook local meals. Tourists would also be encouraged to take part in local sports so there would be competitions between locals and tourists. These activities would draw the locals and tourists closer.

To conclude my project, I would make sure that all the work that made this project a success would be featured on BBC America, TLC, and also the Travel Channel. This will allow more tourists to see the country and also locals could see the programs on their cable and learn how they can make tourism a success.

“The tourist could join with the locals in dances and songs and even learn to cook local meals.”