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Mytobago

United Kingdom
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Mytobago

I would just like to recommend to any members planning a trip to Tobago, to look into this excellent and extremely informative site.

I wish it was a book! What more could you ask for? It's the best reference for the Island I have found to date.

Thank you to all who contributed - I will take my 'Bible' with me!

Makata

caribbean
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20 posts
2 reviews
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1. Re: Mytobago

Theres a lot of info on mytobago and many fine contributors, just approach it with an open mind, particularly the reviews, and what they are not saying. It was a far more appropriate site before Steve Wooler stuck his head in the trough.

Manchester, UK
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88 posts
3 reviews
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2. Re: Mytobago

Oohh- hope Steve doesn't read that!

United Kingdom
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722 posts
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3. Re: Mytobago

Meaning !!!

I would be grateful if you could elaborate on that comment because now you have me just a little concerned.

caribbean
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20 posts
2 reviews
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4. Re: Mytobago

Come on, get real. what do you think I mean?

Do you really think all those glowing reviews are so impartial? Then theres the downplaying of the security situation and any other negatives. A few weeks ago there was a very serious accident on Pigeon Point when two snorkelling tourists were run down by a speeding pirouge, within a few yards of the beach. They are still in intensive care in Miami. You will not find any mention of that on mytobago, despite the clout the website clearly has to influence things.

United Kingdom
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5. Re: Mytobago

If things on the Island are that bad, why take so long to post?

What is YOUR advice for anyone who is considering booking a holiday there? Are you implying that travellers are taking unneccesary risks in going to Tobago - or is it the travellers that take unneccesary risks when they're there?. Lets face it - no where is safe these days and we realise, having read some of the posts, that keeping your witts about you and using a bit of common sense is the order of the day not only in Tobago, but in most other places.

I might be completely wrong, but you sound very angry........................should we really be concerned about our booking?

As far as Mytobago goes I'm not that gullable to think that everything I read is 'as it is' so to speak, nor do i wear rose tinted spectacles. I just thought it was extremely informative reading for a first time visitor, giving lots of ideas for excursions/trips/diving/fishing/places to stay and eat etc.........I'll go switch on the shredder and do some serious thinking!

Makata

caribbean
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20 posts
2 reviews
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6. Re: Mytobago

Tobago is still a very nice island, and anyone visiting there and keeping their wits about them should have a wonderful time. It is still one of the least developed islands in the Caribbean, but as i said keep an open mind about some of things you read. That is all.

New York
1 post
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7. Re: Mytobago

Makata, you said it yourself - this guy sounds very angry. I bet there’s more to this than meets the eye. Maybe he’s been chucked off the mytobago forum? Maybe he’s just one of these types that lurk in the darker recesses of the Internet, hiding behind inane nicknames, all too ready to criticize anything and everything.

We have visited Tobago 7 times over the past 14 years. The first four trips were to large all-inclusive hotels. Then we found mytobago. The site persuaded us to ‘go independent. We’ve never looked back. We have found it wonderful to move around the island and so choose different accommodation from the reviews on the site each trip. We have found the reviews to be honest and well balanced. Over the years we have gotten to know Tobago well and remain avid readers of the site because it keeps us in touch with an island we now love deeply and now know very well, thanks to mytobago. Is this guy really telling you that all the thousands of reader reports and posts in the mytobago forum are phoney and written to support editorial reviews and articles? Do me a favour!

If Caribbean Sailorman is so concerned that they are downplaying the security situation on Tobago (which still has considerably less crime than Barbados, Antigua, St Lucia and others) has he posted his concerns on their forum? I thought not!

He claims that there was a snorkelling/boat accident that isn’t mentioned on the site. Maybe it happened, maybe it didn’t – but a boat accident, no matter how tragic, is hardly major news in any sun and sea destination. I read the local online newspaper every week and haven’t seen any mention of it. He seems to read the site regularly – why? Has he bothered to post information about the accident or ask why it hasn’t been mentioned? No, I thought not!

This guy also appears to have an issue with the owner of mytobago. Steve Wooler IS mytobago. He created the site. There was no mytobago before he published it about 5 years ago. So what planet is this guy on saying “it was a far more appropriate site before Steve Wooler stuck his head in the trough.”?

My advice, Makata – go with your own instincts. I know which site I will be relying on.

John

caribbean
2 posts
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8. Re: Mytobago

The boating accident was reported in Tobago News.

They suffered head injuries.

Crime and security are important issues in Tobago.

They are somewhat glossed over by the Government here

and not every incident gets reported.

They realise that tourism is the lifeblood of the island, and do not want a bad press.

The mytobago site does paint a more rosey picture than reality,

in my opinion.

United Kingdom
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722 posts
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9. Re: Mytobago

John

Thanks for the feedback. It has put my mind a little more at rest.

It will be our first time to any of the Islands and we would really like to get out and about to see as much of Tobago as we can.

Our intention was to do some of the boat trips - hubby would also like to book up for a few of the fishing trips - maybe golf, a bit of diving and get some of the 'interior/island' day trips booked up with a reliable guide - Harris MacDonald seems to gets a good write up.

We normally do our own thing on holiday - hire a car and just set off, but if the situation is such that it would be safer to sign up for the organised tours, then fine. As you obviously know the Island well, we would be grateful for any recommendations you may have. We are planning to stay at the Toucan Inn. After checking out various S/C private properties and hotels we decided that this was the place for us - it ticks all our boxes anyhow. (Just hope it lives up to the recommendation it gets on the various sites).

Makata

caribbean
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20 posts
2 reviews
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10. Re: Mytobago

Well said Redman.

Having thought about this a while I have been stirred into putting pen to paper so to speak.

When we first started visiting Tobago there was something particularly charming about the island that kept drawing us back. However for a while now I have felt that in many respects, particularly having recently visited and been able to compare Tobago to some of the other islands, it is going backwards.

If the current Tobago Administration do not do something positive to address it soon they may just allow their foreign tourist industry to slip straight through their fingers. This may not be the most appropriate thread to post this in but, it’s an open forum where anyone can have their say, whether they are toeing the party line or not, and now is as good a time as any.

To put tourism in Tobago in perspective, compared to some of the other islands that rely almost entirely on tourism revenues; In 2004, the last figures I saw, tourism brought in some TT$800million, and is still the greatest money earner on Tobago however it represents just over 1% of the GDP of T+T as a whole. The mainstay of the T+T economy comes from petroleum revenues. I saw recently the THA had asked for $3bn to run Tobago next year. Heaven knows what they intend to do with that amount of money, but what I do know is they have a track record of doing very little. There are many projects in the 2008 budget which have been rolled over from previous years, yet still not started, and others that they cannot seemingly get completed. For instance, progress of the new hospital, which has been stalled in arbitration for the best part of two years, while the old Scarborough military hospital continues to have many issues. For the moment this is not an island on which to fall ill while on vacation.

Many local businesses bemoan the difficulty they have persuading the young people of Tobago to enter the tourism industry, to be properly trained, and work hard to earn a living, when they can simply pick up a government cheque for doing very little by attending the latest CEPEP or other THA project, and with all this available cash there is no shortage of them. Yet when it is proposed to bring in trained labour to support the tourism industry, even from the other CARIACOM states, they are blocked and harrassed, so the vacancies remain unfulfilled, and tourism suffers some more.

The lack of an effective response to the security situation is of concern. The general crime level is still very low compared to some of the other Caribbean island destinations, but the difference on Tobago is that tourists have been deliberately targeted. Tourists have been attacked in their villas, on the beaches, and at the waterfalls, etc. The number of attacks that are reported are still not so many. Cash, jewellery and cell phones seem to be favourite, and machetes’ the weapon of choice. On most occasions I have read the victims were not badly injured but how likely are they to ever return or recommend Tobago? I do not want to appear to overstate this as the reports would still appear to be few and far between, but recently there have been a couple of particularly brutal, humiliating, and armed, attacks, which have been well reported in the local newspapers, and available to read online, for anyone who has the time to seek them out. The UK Foreign and Colonial Office have had an advisory in force for two years now, yet what effective steps have been taken to tackle the situation? No one in tourism on the other islands would allow this to go unchecked. Whenever there is another incident there are the usual cries that the perpetrators must be bad boys from Trinidad spoiling the reputation of this fine island, yet when they are caught, they are invariably local.

The hotel stock of the island is starting to look very tired indeed, particularly those up on the Grafton and Turtle beaches. The last time I was up at the new Hilton even it too was looking neglected and could do with smartening up, and something seemingly just as simple as finding a decent restaurant can be quite a challenge, whatever your budget.

The decline of Pigeon Point Heritage Park is a great shame, and steps really do need to be taken to reverse it right now. There was much criticism of the way it was run under its previous, private, ownership but the current consensus of opinion is they did a far better job of it than the THA have since.

The management there has changed three times recently and there is little regard to repairs or maintenance. The last time I was there the bar had run out of stock, the fast food outlet had got even worse and the restrooms even more dilapidated and unhygienic than ever, yet every time a cruise ship comes to town, up to 2000 people are led to this beach. It is considered to be Tobago’s finest! The reintroduction of the jet skis and their lack of control is a worry. Since I was there last I read that some buoys had recently been put down to separate swimmers from watercraft. It has been a long time coming, and only since a tragic accident has taken place. It is to be hoped these buoys are to be maintained and to date I have yet to see a lifeguard on this beach. The erosion of the beach following the removal of sea-grape and coconut palms is also going unchecked. THA have stated they will take action to reverse it, yet when? Then there is the Bon Accord Lagoon and Buccoo Reef, a protected environment. The Bon Accord sewerage treatment plant has apparently not worked effectively for years. Despite more houses being built there, untreated waste is still being discharged into the lagoon at the back of Pigeon Point Beach.

There are complaints that tourist numbers are down. Is it surprising?

It saddens me to write this as there is still much to like and to recommend about Tobago but at the moment I cannot see where it is heading, and it will be those hard working individuals in the local tourist industry that will ultimately lose out. The current Tobago administration seems to have little regard for foreign tourists, their needs, or foreigners in general for that matter. Earlier this year a law was passed banning the sale of land to foreigners. The THA always had the ability to declare certain parts of Tobago protected, but in February of this year, declared the entire island a protected area, so no foreign nationals could purchase land or houses whatsoever. ‘Tobago for the Tobagonians’ said the Rt Hon Orville London. There are promises to bring in a licensing system, but so far they are just empty promises. This, despite treaties that have been signed with the US, UK and Canadian governments not to do anything that would diminish the value of foreign investments. Does this sound like the action of an administration that really is welcoming you to their shores and wanting to promote itself overseas?

Much of what I refer to is already in the public domain, for all to see, and it’s a pity the other website has not had the foresight to use its influence and do something more proactive than glossing over it all. It is to be hoped someone takes up the mettle and starts to deal with the issues now before it becomes too late.

When I started writing this I did not mean it to end up sounding political but unfortunately thats how it has turned out. Perhaps I may be able to find a more appropriate outlet.

In answer to JohnMathersons accusations yes, I used to contribute to mytobago, but my membership of that site was cancelled, without so much as a by-your-leave, just because I had the audacity to criticise one of his favoured restaurants, which has now closed. On this site at least the advertising is transparent and everyone is encouraged to voice their own opinions.

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