Interesting article...
 
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Interesting article on cruise ships and shopping  

 

sallyf
(@sallyf)
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October 19, 2012 12:36 am  

http://travel.newsvine.com/_news/2012/10/10/14348133-caribbean-cruises-leave-wave-of-bitter-merchants

the Newsvine comments are quite a good read too - always interesting to get new perspectives - seems to be a lot of desire for "local made" or high end DI -


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gparrot
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October 19, 2012 1:43 am  

I did enjoy the article and printed it out for future reference.....I particularly liked the last couple of lines "The pot is starting to boil and, trust me, it will boil over if things don't change around here," said Davy, who helped build the pier as a construction worker but turned to crafts vending a year and a half ago. "Why can't we, the people who actually live here, make a living off the cruise ships, too?" Selling tourist items is not an entitlement......we built the pier so the tourists have to buy our tourist junk. I have been to Jamaica a few times...and frankly I am surprised the locals don't sell more of those 18 inch tall sculptures with 8 inch penises..... Tourists buy things they like....PERIOD. Trying to make tourists buy things they would be embarrassed to put in there homes does not make sense. I never felt safe in Jamaica....nobody in there right mind would ever venture away from the secure sites.....these people want tourist money.... TREAT TOURISTS WITH RESPECT....AND CLEAN UP YOUR VIOLENCE IN YOUR COUNTRY.... this is also good advice for the Virgin Islands. And, if locals want to sell locally made items.....make things tourists desire....not try to force tourists to buy simply because it is locally made.


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Ronnie
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October 19, 2012 1:13 pm  

The intent of the vendor's plaza in St Thomas was to have locally made items available for sale to visitors. As I tell my guests, when we pass there, that if they forgot to pick something up on their last trip to China, they can find it there. It's sad. Nothing is policed. I doubt there are two local vendors there. Many selling knockoffs which itself is illegal. When oh when will things be done right? Last night, at the DRI presentation for the various projects for downtown and the waterfront, there were some vendors there but none asked where the plans were to put them. The spot will be used for a reflecting pool and fountain!


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Alana33
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October 19, 2012 2:29 pm  

A reflecting pool and a fountain would be a good deal more attractive than the unsightly mess of what is presently there.

I have to agree that is you wish to purchase something from China or t-shirts, that's the place to go.
All too many offer the same cheaply made items.

Actually, down town shopping has become less attractive as many so stores sell the same type items (made in China) and do not offer
the quality shopping experience that there once was. I am not speaking of the high end jewelry stores such as Cardow's, etc.
On a not so recent trip to town when friends were visiting, we went down Drake's Passage and was dismayed to see the same items for sale over and over again in different stores.


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Isle Tell Ya
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October 19, 2012 6:40 pm  

The tourists coming off the ships are more concerned with "great deals" then they are with locally made crafts. What are the two most popular words downtown and in the shooping districts??? DUTY FREE!!! People want bargains - they want to buy that ring or necklace without paying the 5, 6 or 8.5% sales tax. Tourists also want something that says St. Thomas or VI on it - and I can tell you from personal experience - they don't care if it was made in China or Indonesia.

Our commerce needs to adopt more of a "give the people what they want" philosophy. Do that, and there will be plenty of room for local crafts.


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Mytcar34
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October 22, 2012 7:12 am  

As tourist we enjoy going thru the different shops. Even thou we buy a number of tee shirts, trinkets, and some higher end jewlery we still enjoy our shopping. And yes sadly a lot of it is made in China. But to us these are treasures of our travels in the VI. no so much the stuff we buy but the friendly people we buy from, some of the island folks, the taxi drivers, waiters. bus boys and many island people selling there wares made our stays something we will never forget. Every time i see a trinket or picture from the VI it brings a smile to my face.


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Bassman
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October 22, 2012 1:06 pm  

Ronnie,
I'm not doubting you but, the last time I was at the market there was one young lady that had, what I perceived as original jewelry. Not like the stuff you see on every island in the Caribbean. I'll be down in 5 weeks to find the other one.


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AandA2VI
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October 22, 2012 7:09 pm  

I did enjoy the article and printed it out for future reference.....I particularly liked the last couple of lines "The pot is starting to boil and, trust me, it will boil over if things don't change around here," said Davy, who helped build the pier as a construction worker but turned to crafts vending a year and a half ago. "Why can't we, the people who actually live here, make a living off the cruise ships, too?" Selling tourist items is not an entitlement......we built the pier so the tourists have to buy our tourist junk. I have been to Jamaica a few times...and frankly I am surprised the locals don't sell more of those 18 inch tall sculptures with 8 inch penises..... Tourists buy things they like....PERIOD. Trying to make tourists buy things they would be embarrassed to put in there homes does not make sense. I never felt safe in Jamaica....nobody in there right mind would ever venture away from the secure sites.....these people want tourist money.... TREAT TOURISTS WITH RESPECT....AND CLEAN UP YOUR VIOLENCE IN YOUR COUNTRY.... this is also good advice for the Virgin Islands. And, if locals want to sell locally made items.....make things tourists desire....not try to force tourists to buy simply because it is locally made.

I agree with this, its all about SAFETY. I'm a big cruiser, 7 so far and most to the Caribbean. I hate to be herded off the ship onto vans for excursions. We always buy our excursions locally from websites or just off the port. I would MUCH rather buy local products and always do. IMHO the main and possibly the only reason that people stick to the port area and book excursions through the ship is CRIME. It only takes one mugging to put fear into the tourists resulting in a overall "not safe" vibe even if it really isn't true. It's the fear of the "unknown" that your traveling to a place never ventured (usually with money in your pocket) and if you read or heard someone got mugged or went missing wouldn't you just stick to the port areas??

Belieze was my first experience with feeling unsafe outside a cruise port. I have several friends that have traveled there with no problems but I felt VERY unsafe. We usually walk around outside the port areas, take cabs far away from the port looking for local food (our favorite thing about traveling). I felt so unbelievably unsafe in Belieze I won't go back. People following us making weird comments and when we would turn around they would also, walking in opposite directions, only to return to following us when we turned around. I was very worried we would get mugged.

It only takes one negative review on a message board for cruisers to put fear into future cruisers. It makes them want to hang close to the port and not venture into the "unknown". for us that is the BEST part of cruising, experiencing the food, crafts and local culture.


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