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2005-09-17 16:28:10

Gateway To Paradise A National Disgrace

Why does the first impression and last impression of the Bahamas have to be a crowded, dirty, uncomfortable and inefficient airport?

I HAVE recently moved my family to the Bahamas and I have made a few observations and, -subsequently, have a few questions that I would like to have answered by your readers.

The Bahamas is a very popular tourist destination: I can understand why, beautiful beaches and water, excellent weather and, above all, friendly people. The Bahamas is so popular that there is a school at the College that specialises in the education and training of people who work in the tourism industry. Thankfully, the industry continues to grow, new hotels, new attractions, and additional flights.

- Having said that, I have observed that the gateway to the Bahamas, the Nassau International Airport, is a national disgrace! How is it that a country whose very survival depends upon the satisfaction of visitors does not have and cannot operate a world-class airport? Is it a lack of desire? Is the airport authority being mismanaged? Imagine arriving in paradise only to have to walk down the stairs of the plane to another set of stairs going up, then walking to another set going down again to wait in line for immigration. Many have to use the bathroom, are they the cleanest and the best in the world? They ought to be. I'm sure in one of the textbooks at the school mentions that customers don't like using dirty, unsanitary restrooms and that it gives them a bad impression of that establishment. Then, wait for your baggage in an overcrowded, dark, dingy room only to wrestle through people to clear customs to the curbside where you wait to load all the bags into a taxi. And that's the easy part!

Departing is worse: What is going on with security? I realise the world has changed and there are new security requirements, but is this it? Everyone having to shuffle through, dragging suitcases, backpacks, strollers, etc. Sometimes the bags need to be opened and searched. When does the new
screening equipment arrive? Carry-on bags screened twice, identification checked five times. Is that as good as it is going to get? Or are we planning to improve what we have?

What is happening with the concessions? Extremely slow service (not a good attribute in an airport) and terrible selection and quality. The operators need to be thrown out! Does the management know that competition helps? Allow someone else a chance to serve customers better. The whole experience is frustrating and depressing. For God's sake, have a professor go over there to help them!

Why does the first impression and last impression of the Bahamas have to be a crowded, dirty, uncomfortable and inefficient airport? A country that loves and cherishes its visitors needs a state-of-the-art facility with highly trained professionals who will meet the needs of our travellers.

RICHARD BALDWIN Nassau,
September, 2005

 
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