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White sand beaches can't lure tourists

 
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
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"ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands – "Please buy something and help me keep my job," Sylvia Brown kept repeating to potential shoppers as they trickled into the Coral World Ocean Park gift store in St. Thomas on a recent morning."

The full story can be found here: http://fieldnotes.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/03/04/1819596.aspx

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Topic starter Posted : March 4, 2009 6:01 pm
East Ender
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I hope Tourism sees that one!

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Posted : March 4, 2009 7:29 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
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Maybe some of our more positive forumites can send in their comments to that thread - I hope the current respondents there are not indicative of the general feeling about the VI.

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Posted : March 4, 2009 8:34 pm
Trade
(@Trade)
Expert

I know a manager there (for several past years) who had never heard of Sylvia Brown who said she worked there for 10 years. Wonder if Trudy Prior has seen this. I have to agree about a lot of the taxi drivers.

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Posted : March 4, 2009 9:11 pm
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
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I wondered if the attention grabbing article introduction was fake, I too think the taxi mafia with their monopoly have rigged the prices much too high, and like some respondents to the article I haven't seen fuel charges dropping with the cost of fuel. That said, I'm not sure individuals tempering their spending habits is a bad thing. Spending beyond one's means could never have worked long term. Perhaps when some businesses close and the tourist dollars are spread among fewer businesses, the remaining businesses will once again be profitable enough to make their enterprises worthwhile. Like everyone else, I would like to see this happen sooner rather than later, but it won't happen until there have been sufficient business casualties to rebalance the local economy.

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Topic starter Posted : March 4, 2009 9:27 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
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I honestly don't know anything about the taxi industry on STT, my crib is STX. The tourist that come to STX for the most part for the past seven years came via plane. The rates are posted and controlled by the Govt and the Taxi association. I never had a problem with the Taxi assoc drivers from the Airport or the independent drivers to the Airport. But this is what I do recall, when the ships would come in to STX ,the less expensive cruise ship people thought that they were the cats meow. They were rude, full of themselves and gave the impression that "we all were here to serve them. So I really didn't miss the " The Big Fat Black socks sandal straw hat flowered shirt with shorts and the boxers hanging below the shorts. They would argue with every merchant on price, stiff the staff and servers etc. I Know the economy is in the tank now (not only the islands) the casinos in AC are all going Bust. This is as close to the big "D" of the 30's that I hope and pray doesn't happen. Just my 2 cents. Oh and some of the comments made by the people in relation to the article didn't even know where STT is/was located.

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Posted : March 4, 2009 11:46 pm
Linda J
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I've never seen the taxi problems on STX that we hear about on STT. Maybe part of that is because our guests are here for 5, 7 days or more. If the driver is friendly and courteous while taking a fare from the airport to the hotel, he can give them a phone number to call and have a fare for a week or more.

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Posted : March 5, 2009 10:15 am
stxdreamer
(@stxdreamer)
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I've never seen the taxi problems on STX that we hear about on STT. Maybe part of that is because our guests are here for 5, 7 days or more. If the driver is friendly and courteous while taking a fare from the airport to the hotel, he can give them a phone number to call and have a fare for a week or more.

Absolutely right on. We hit it off with a particular cab driver the first time we visited STX and we used him that entire week for transportation services. He was a terrific guy--and even "escorted" us through a particular area that he deemed inappropriate for us to walk through on our own at a particular time of day. In addition, we have found that the taxi service on STX is generally excellent--prompt and courteous drivers who are knowledgeable of the island. The only real complaint I could ever have is the cost, and I not actually complaining about that, just noting that it can be expensive, depending on where you are going.

Steve

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Posted : March 5, 2009 11:29 am
divinggirl
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There are many people who have been gouged by taxi drivers in STX. There was a recent article (I think Sun/Mon) in the Avis about Disney passengers having a taxi driver "change his mind" after the fact about how much he was going to charge them to return to the ship. I also know of a man who was charged $100 from the airport to the Divi. So, STT doesn't corner the market on bad taxi drivers. All of the people in the VI need to understand that there are many other destinations that provide POLITE, FRIENDLY, PROMPT service and are just as beautiful as the VI. The rude service will no longer fly. Remember there is a difference between being a servant and providing a service!

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Posted : March 5, 2009 11:50 am
SapphireBeach08
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I put in my two cents worth.

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Posted : March 5, 2009 12:05 pm
Betty
(@Betty)
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I've heard quite a few of the Hovensa workers I've rented to complain about the taxi drivers on stx. Saying that one day the rate will be $10 and the next its $20. I think we have our fair share of bad ones as well. I'm just very grateful we don't have near as many. I always tell friends and family to rent a car, its always much cheaper, even if you're just here for the day. Obviously we don't have enough rental cars for a whole cruise ship, so I don't know what the solution is.

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Posted : March 5, 2009 12:11 pm
Exit Zero
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About the msnbc article: I have talked with 9 different people who have sent in responding comments to msn about this report and not one was 'accepted' - it is looking like they only will publish very short comments that support the article.

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Posted : March 5, 2009 12:24 pm
divinggirl
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Exit Zero - I'm shocked that a media outlet would refuse to post genuine comments unless they support their reporting....oh wait, maybe I'm not shocked. I miss the good old days of having "Reporters" report actual facts for the news instead of "Journalists" telling us how to feel about what "facts" they want to let us hear!

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Posted : March 5, 2009 12:30 pm
stt007
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we have had several friends visit us here on STT over the years and one of the common refelctions they take away from their visits is expressed in the following comment posted on the msnbc article on line. I think they would add hateful and a few other adjectives/adverbs to this list. They are confused as they feel they did nothing to these people to warrant the treatment they received, but the surliness is prevalent throughout the island. Granted there are a few exceptions, but the surliness should be the exception, not the rule.

"We were married in Charlotte Amalie, and I can tell you, the islanders were ANYTHING but hospitable--sullen, rude island folk, with $$ signs in their eyes..."

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Posted : March 5, 2009 5:11 pm
Betty
(@Betty)
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I was married in STT as well at the Frenchman's Reef before we ever moved here. The people were warm and friendly and it was a beautiful experience all the way around. We got married in the most beautiful gazebo covered in flowers, right over the ocean with all of our family there. And it was an incredible bargain on top of everything else. We got the cake, pictures, video, minister, rooms to get ready in, all the chairs and flowers, etc for $1500! Usually stateside you might be able to get pictures for that. So I didn't feel like anyone took me for a ride. I tell people all the time it was wonderful and that it is or was cheaper to get married in stt then stx and I live in stx!

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Posted : March 5, 2009 7:17 pm
ColdWhether
(@ColdWhether)
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i've found a mix of nice and really unpleasant people... the nice people are pleasant and kind, nothing out of the ordinary to make me say "WOW".... but the unpleasant people are really really surly and mean, just out of the blue unwarranted meanness towards you because you've dared to step foot on their island. Mean stands out a lot more than nice.

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Posted : March 5, 2009 9:02 pm
Trade
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Give it right back at them & they back down most of the time.

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Posted : March 5, 2009 9:05 pm
Uttica
(@Uttica)
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I know I would hate to be a tourist on STX, driving to my hotel seeing all the trash on the side of the freeway!!

It is great that they cut the trees and grass back, but come on, they cut the trash up as well. They make the island look even trashier than it is. I know my family doesn't want to spend money here. These guys need to pick up the trash before they cut, otherwise their contracts should be cut!!! Get it? Funny, huh??

Anyways, sorry to change the subject... just when I saw the title,"White sand beaches can't lure tourists", I immediately thought of the trashy roads. I don't know why.

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Posted : March 5, 2009 11:18 pm
stt007
(@stt007)
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Perhaps this attitude on STT resulted from rude, demanding tourists over the years. I don't get the same feeling from people on STX. They are much more friendly and cheerful and positive and pleasant to deal with. It is a stark difference but i don't know the reason for it. I've only visited STX a couple of times, and I live on STT so maybe my STX sample size is small, but that is my takeaway from my visits there. The people and their attitudes are different.

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Posted : March 6, 2009 2:00 pm
Juanita
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stt007,
I lived on STT for 12 years and have been on STX for 2 years now. I totally agree with you! I don't know the reason. Maybe as you said, it's because of the number of tourists, but it's night and day.

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Posted : March 6, 2009 4:05 pm
trw
 trw
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hey if anyone needs a driver here on STX i've found a "keeper" he really is a great guy,it's not the stanford guy it's another one and he know his history from the mid 60's to today,he's never been anything but friendly to me,let me know

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Posted : March 6, 2009 6:44 pm
sloop jones
(@sloop_jones)
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I read this article. It seems the reporter came to STT to write an article about how the economic downturn hjas negatively affected our economy. Thje reporter searched for supporting anecdotes and put a tidy package together. Mission accomplished!

I browsed the comments and it appears MSNBC is only posting VI bashers.

It is a sad reflection of an editorial attitude. There are plenty of good story's out there. And there are plenty of us working to keep our businesses afloat, thriving, and moving forward. Begging for a sale as the clerk at Coral world did is not how to do that.

As for taxis, The last time i was in Miami it cost $50 for a 20 minute ride to a store,. The last time my wife went to San Fran, she downloaded directions to her sisters house, because on the previous trip the non English speaking taxi driver got lost and ran up a $100 fare on the meter for a $30 trip.

There is lots of positive stuff to report on here, but it is a lot easier to take the route this reporter took.

Hopefully all those bashers will never return to our islands. I hope they take their unhappy lives somewhere else.

sloop Jones

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Posted : March 8, 2009 10:38 am
Off Island
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I was pleasantly surprised to see how busy everything was when I visited St. Thomas last month to check on my condo and get it ready for new renters. I had lunch with my mom down at Yacht Haven Grande and it definitely had more traffic on that particular day then most of the days I went down there for lunch when I lived on Island. I was also a little surprised at the hospitality we experienced while having lunch at Wikked. I have probably had lunch and dinner there more then a dozen times but that day they really went out of their way to treat us nice.

I will say I had a very interesting experience at baggage claim with a porter. He loaded up my bags to take to the rental car I was waiting on and after I tipped him $6 for 2 bags and a baby seat he informed me that was not enough money and he needed $10. Besides the fact he took off and left me hanging with my 2 bags and a 15 month old while he tracked down another load, I thought it was semi comical for a porter to inform you how much tip they needed or in his case demanded. I guess with the rental car he thought I was a dumb tourist but it made me think how many tourist he made the same demand of for what he thought was a fair tip.

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Posted : March 8, 2009 12:38 pm
SapphireBeach08
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They didn't post my comment. I guess it wasn't negative enough.

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Posted : March 8, 2009 12:58 pm
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