Caribbean people, tired of how tourists view the region as an expendable plaything, are burying their differences to join forces on Twitter in taking popular British carrier Virgin Atlantic to task on Tuesday (September 14).
The backlash originated from a tweet where Virgin Atlantic listed three “reasons” why travellers should flock to the Caribbean at this time.
“Three reasons why should you go to the Caribbean right now:
1. It’s warmer than the UK
2. It’s not raining
3. It’s warmer than the UK,” VA tweeted.
Understandably, as the Caribbean reels under the impact of the Delta variant of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the ever-looming threat of the ongoing hurricane season, Twitter users from across the region slammed the tweet—adding that islands have been through enough.
From Guyana in the south to the Bahamas in the north, the overwhelming sentiment from the Caribbean Twitterati to travel-eager tourists was clear: STAY HOME.
For many Caribbean users, the tweet highlighted a ‘silent truth’ about the tourist industry, which repeatedly sees the region as an accessory to prance at the expense of fragile countries and systems struggling to cope.
Others argued that it wasn’t a lack of awareness that led to Virgin Atlantic’s tone-deaf tweet, but rather the willingness (or at least they can pretend) to be oblivious to the realities of the region.
For instance, while countries like the United Kingdom boast enviable vaccination rates and have the infrastructure to enact sweeping contact tracing protocols, things aren’t as simple in the Caribbean, which continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic on multiple fronts: vaccination, testing, hospitalisations and lockdowns.
Distressing still, the region is gripped by a wave of misinformation and vaccine hesitancy/rejection—threatening to cripple public healthcare systems as outbreaks worsen.
Also not missed by Caribbean Twitter, in the very replies of the Virgin Atlantic tweet, were disgruntled Britons who complained about safety precautions meant to protect the people of the countries they want to visit.
“St Lucia, Jamaica & Grenada look like going on the red list also Barbados still has a curfew & you must wear masks everywhere & it was raining heavy enough yesterday for the weather centre to issue a warning!! I’ll pass on going just yet thanks,” tweeted @JimmyGlaister.
Virgin Atlantic, and companies (and people) that think the way it does, do not care about the region. They never did.