News

Finding Authenticity in Caribbean Tourism

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - October 17, 2013

Above: Martinique (CJ Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

How does a Caribbean destination deliver authenticity?

For Dominica native Dr Lennox Honychurch, the answer lies in presenting a complete package to visitors — exposing them to the Caribbean’s cuisine, culture, history and landscapes — and doing so in an honest, straightforward manner.

“Here in the Caribbean we increasingly market ourselves as the genuine article. We have sites related to the real pirates of the Caribbean, real rainforests, real coral reefs and real people taking part in traditional cultures of the islands that have evolved over centuries with the coming together of a variety of ethnic groups,” he said. “All of this and the story which goes with it, comes together to form what we market as ‘the Caribbean experience.'”

It’s putting together the pastiche of landscapes, botanic gardens, colonial settlements, old forts and other history that make for an authentic experience, he said — including both the good and the bad of Caribbean history.

“The harsh aspects of the Caribbean experience must be honestly and frankly told — Plantation houses, like the forts, are important parts of our product and it is best to be completely open about how things were and how this influences the present,” he said.

“There have been some very successful adaptations of plantation houses as productive visitor sites,” he said. “These combine rum production, with wedding and event destinations as well as general visitor receptions.”

Honychurch, who was speaking to introduce a panel on authenticity at the State of the Industry Conference in Martinique, mentioned Habitation Clement in Martinique and St Nicholas Abbey in Barbados as examples.

And there are new opportunities for visitor experiences in every area — from highlighting the history of the pre-Columbian period in the Caribbean to capitalizing on the Pirates of the Caribbean film series by incorporating the region’s involvement with the real pirates of the Caribbean.

“Our average visitor is far better informed than they were when the tourism industry began to blossom in the 1960s,” he said. “A limbo dancer walking on crushed glass and fire eating with a steel band tinkling away in the background was all the entertainment that was necessary for a fun filled evening. But now we must come far better than that.”

Popular Posts jamaica new hotel montego bay

Looking for a Budget-Friendly Montego Bay Vacation? There's a New Hotel for That  

It’s home to one of the most famous streets in the Caribbean, named after one of Jamaica’s global music icons: Jimmy Cliff Boulevard.  While the heavily-trafficked street has seen its share of ups and downs in recent decades, that’s been […]


At These 13 Resorts, You Can Take the Perfect Adventure-Filled Vacation in Belize

belize blancaneaux

Belize, a Caribbean travel destination full of natural wonders that also happens to have some of the coolest adventure resorts on the planet, from top-flight jungle hotels to luxurious river lodges and just about everything in between, whether you’re seeking […]


Why Ambergris Caye, Belize is the Caribbean Capital of Overwater Bars

belize san pedro ambergris caye

You can hear the ballad from Palapa halfway across Ambergris Caye; for a moment you swear the voice belongs to Dolly Parton herself.  Palapa is the town’s most prominent stage, hosting a revolving door of talented artists for intimate concerts […]


Related Posts carnival cruise line

Carnival is Making Its New Grand Bahama Cruise Port Bigger 

In what is expected to be a massive boost for Grand Bahama, Carnival Cruise Line is in the process of building a brand-new cruise destination on the island called Celebrtaion Key, which is slated to open in 2025. Now, Carnival […]


Island Routes Is Expanding to St Vincent and the Grenadines 

la soufriere volcano

Caribbean attraction company Island Routes is adding another destination in the Caribbean: St Vincent and the Grenadines.  The company’s expansion comes ahead of sister brand Sandals Resorts International’s imminent debut of the new Sandals St Vincent resort, slated for this […]


The Bahamas Is the Caribbean’s Hottest Spring Destination 

pink sand beach

The Bahamas is the most popular destination in the Caribbean for spring travel, according to a new report from travel insurance company Squaremouth.  The Bahamas was the only Caribbean destination to make the top 10 among the most popular destinations […]


SUBSCRIBE!

Sign up for Caribbean Journal's free newsletter for a daily dose of beaches, hotels, rum and the best Caribbean travel information on the net.


No. Thank You