Published on Monday, February 13, 2012
Well it’s 5.30am, it's Sunday morning, it's dark, and it's the Bahamas, that means ... Yep you got it alarm bell, taxi (Friendly Bobs), airport, flight back to Nassau and then off to the last island in this itinerary Abaco. I must say in passing that the inter-island flight service whilst a little early in the morning has been exemplary. My experience has shown them to be timely, interesting and relatively cheap in comparison to Europe (lack of APD helps!!!). The small airports matched by the size of the aircraft mean no queuing for check-in, security or indeed the aircraft themselves. On most of the journeys the planes go no higher than 10,000 feet and last no longer than twenty five minutes. This is the precise amount of time and height that allows you to study the fabulous Bahamian sea and land masses in detail without falling asleep or getting bored.
The other general observation has been the friendliness of the Bahamia people. Not just those individuals that are employed directly within tourism and hospitality, one should normally expect that, but everyday folk in all works of life. Abaco was full of prime friendly folk. The first example was at Marsh Harbour International when upon arrival there was nobody there. Whilst contemplating my next move a man approached "Mr McKenzie?" he asked to which I confirmed my identity. "Ok we have just had a call to say that Michelle will be here in a minute." Minutes later Michele turns up with the wheels and a welcoming smile. Nice.
Checking in at the hotel I am allocated an apartment overlooking the marina given some suggestions as to the local surrounds, invited to the Super Bowl party starting later that night plus an itinerary for the next two days. Lovely.
I hire a bike and am told ‘pay me when you get back or tomorrow’. It's hot but I have no head covering so I take a gander at the local golf club and ask if they have any hats for sale. The man tells me that they have run out, sorry, but hang on a minute. He returns from the back office with a brand new baseball cap made especially for a local tournament but he has one spare. How much? 'It's yours, don't worry'. Coolio.
I cycle and stop for lunch and having sat down am asked by the owner "are you McKenzie? I have a phone call for you." It was Michelle checking I was ok!!!!! Nifty.
I eat my meal, go to pay by credit card and am told it’s cash only but 'Don't worry pop the money in tomorrow'. At one point I was tempted to punch the owner on the shoulder and say ‘You are awful but I like you’. Wicked.
Thing is, if you have people like that and it’s part of your culture to behave in such a way that not only gives you as a visitor a nice warm feeling but it certainly gives your destination a head start in these very competitive times. Winning.
Friendly inhabitant of Abaco
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The recent insolvency of Low Cost Travel Group, one of the large players in the travel industry had a big impact on the travelers, hotels and all related players from both wholesale & retail arms. There were about 27,000 people on a holiday who had booked through the company comprised of a €200 million wholesale arm and €500 million OTA / retail arm.