Tuesday, 21 September 2010

A tale of two countries



People choose holiday destinations for some simple reasons.

They have good beaches. They are uncrowded. The hotels are welcoming and provide good service. Access is easy and the package is attractively priced.

It helps if the destination offers unique attractions, is desirable and provides reasons why this holiday should not be deferred.

Most holiday experiences are pleasurable, so what factors beyond a stress free holiday makes tourists return?

I believe the overwhelming reason given by regular visitors is the friendliness of the locals and the warmth of their welcome.
Mauritius is a beautiful island in the Indian Ocean with some of the happiest people in the world. Their people don't just welcome tourists; they don’t show any resentment or indifference to visitors from richer countries. It’s not just that the tourists are safe and treated courteously. Mauritians are genuinely welcoming.

The smile says it all. Even the hotel staff knows your name.

In the USA, the welcome varies .The people at customs and immigration are almost always rude, and though people in places like San Francisco and Boston are polite, the general impression left is negative.

Canada is another story. Their citizens are such a friendly bunch that a return visit is almost mandatory. Toronto is an interesting city, Niagara is inspiring and the CN tower impressive. I will remember with fondness a gentleman we met on the "Rocket "their equivalent of the London tube. He sat with us, marked our card about places to visit, including the wild and beautiful High Park, and even offered to take us around in his people carrier.

I think it was Pierre Trudeau who said: “Other countries have history. We have geography”. True it is a vast and beautiful place, but even more important, their people are amongst the friendliest and helpful. It’s like they believe in the old adage;

There are no strangers, just friends you haven't met.

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