Behind the Smile: The Working Lives of Caribbean Tourism

By George Gmelch | Go to book overview

3 THE AIRPORT

On islands, the airport is the gateway for most travelers. Other than cruise-ship passengers and the small number who arrive on private boats, everyone arrives by air. The airport in Barbados, Grantley Adams International, is named after the island’s elder statesman, Grantley Adams (1898–1971), who was instrumental in modernizing the antiquated system of government in Barbados in the 1940s and ‘50s and in moving the country from domination by a white planter class to a democracy. The airport, which is on the south coast, was opened in 1939, modernized and expanded in 1979, and modernized again in 2007. For many years a steel band would greet arriving passengers as they made their way from the tarmac into the large immigration hall. Although it is one of the largest and most efficient facilities in the Caribbean, immigration formalities can take time. A lot of time. The delays getting through immigration, which are of considerable concern to people in the tourism industry, are unfortunate for a country that spends millions of dollars in advertising to entice people to visit Barbados.

Emerging from the arrival hall during the winter peak season are pale-skinned travelers weary from their long journeys from Europe and North America. A few have slipped into shorts on the plane, but most are still in long pants and sleeves, having come from the cold. Once they clear immigration, they find their bags on the luggage carousel, stop at the bureau de change to get local currency, pass through customs, and go to the curb outside to engage a taxi or bus to take them to their hotel.

On the opposite side of the airport is the departure area. There, refreshed from a one- or two-week holiday on the beach, their skin

-43-

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Behind the Smile: The Working Lives of Caribbean Tourism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Preface to the Second Edition xi
  • 1- Island Tourism 2
  • 2- Work and Encounters in Tourism 28
  • 3- The Airport 43
  • 4- The Hotel 57
  • 5- The Beach 114
  • 6- The Attractions 139
  • 7- The Research and Promotion of Tourism 188
  • 8- Conclusion 211
  • Epilogue 228
  • Acknowledgments 244
  • Acknowledgments for the Second Edition 246
  • Bibliography 248
  • Index 254
  • George Gmelch 258
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