09 September 2009

Gracious Hosts...Not Often Enough

I live in an area of Puerto Rico that abounds with tourists, both from other parts of the Island as well as from around the world. In My conversations with them, I often ask the foreign visitors what keeps bringing them back to My neck of the Caribbean.

The most common answer: The people.

Now I'm on record as saying that My brethren here often suck at personal service and especially many of those who work in the hospitality industry. But what the foreign visitors refer to is not "the people in the industry," but simply the people that inhabit the areas they visit.

We often forget--or at least, I have forgotten to mention--that Our People are very kind and generous, excellent hosts with a warm heart. It is common to be invited into a home, as a friend of the family or on a social visit, and be treated like royalty. You get offered several things to eat, several to drink and if you say no to everything, you'll get asked what you want so your host can get it for you.

And many times as well, from the first visit, you'll get treated like someone who's visited often...and will do so again. It's not an empty phrase to most of My Brethren the "Come again" farewell you'll hear as you leave.

As the foreigners have discovered.

Why that pleasant part of Our personality is not replicated in Our tourism workers is a major flaw We've had for decades. More than "fewer hotel rooms," it is this sour-puss, "Yankee-or-not-go-home" surliness that has cost Us Our long-held position as the #1 tourism destination in the Caribbean.

Maybe We're hiring the wrong people, but if We're doing that, We're too screwed up to be fixed this century. It seems the problem is one of attitude, a demeanor that implies that treating someone else well--for a salary or a tip--is beneath Us. If that's the case, then maybe We should just stop paying people in the hospitality industry and let the "natural" instincts take over.

Or then again, maybe We should just take a hard look at Ourselves, take in the reality that is Us and work Our butts off to make Our "public" attitude as welcoming as Our "private"

After all, isn't having two faces a bad thing?

The Jenius Has Spoken.

1 comment:

Antigonum Cajan said...

Perhaps I have lost
touch with what seems
real. The PEOPLE, keeps
bringing the tourists,
Oh LORD, forgive
me because I have sinned.