First Day of Autumn – Let’s Get Going South – ENCORE

This should be the start of the peak tourist season – its the First Day of Autumn, its time to head South.

The movement behind the book Go Lean … Caribbean asserts that Caribbean tourism can be rebooted, reformed and transformed to capture a reliable market of Snowbirds – people who live in Northern climates who want to spend the winter in warmer destinations. A case for this Tourism 2.0 was presented in this previous blog-commentary.


Imagine this vision of a Caribbean future. Instead of Late September/October being the slow season for tourism, it could be the peak “Travel South Season”. See the photo here; imagine island-hopping on ferries to get to a tropical destination.

This is the business model envisioned in the Go Lean book. It asserts that with the right guidance, investments and the adoption of best practices that the Caribbean region can give refuge to these northern snowbirds for the winter, and profit our communities at the same time. One required investment would be the network of island-hopping ferries, as depicted here.

Imagine the scenario – in the VIDEO here – but a ferry of cars and RV’s (Recreation Vehicles) arriving in one Caribbean port after another:

VIDEO – RVing on the Gulf Coast Ferry System –
Published on Mar 6, 2013 –  … On a recent trip from New Orleans, LA to Galveston Island, TX, both Google Maps and our GPS suggested that we drive inland, along interstate 10. Since we prefer to stay on more scenic local roads whenever possible (and we were also eager to take the RV on the ferry ride to Galveston Island) we stayed along the coast instead. As a bonus, we drove through peaceful and scenic marshland and got some views of the Gulf of Mexico as well.
While researching our route, we discovered that there would be an additional water crossing required, on the Cameron-Holly Beach ferry. We weren’t sure if a large motorhome would be able to make the crossing. Were large vehicles allowed? Was there a problem with low tide causing steep approach or departure angles? A little online research showed that it wouldn’t be a problem, although we’d recommend that anyone planning to follow this route check for any updates or changes to ferry policies or conditions. The Cameron-Holly Beach ferry trip is laughably short… only 1/4 mile and about 3 1/2 minutes. …
When we arrived in Port Bolivar, TX to catch the ferry to Galveston Island, we were pleased to find that the trip was free for all ages! During the crossing we saw dolphins riding in our bow wave and were lucky enough to catch one of them on video, as you can see. Next time you’re RVing along the Gulf Coast, get off the Interstate and head out onto the water. It’s a great way to travel by RV!

Consider the original blog-commentary here from April 11, 2014. It is being ENCORED for this first day of Autumn 2018:


Go Lean Commentary – Florida’s Snowbirds Chilly Welcome

Florida's Snowbird Chilly Welcome - PhotoTo the Canadian Snowbirds, looking for warm climates and a warm welcome, we say:

“Be our guest”.

To the Caribbean Diaspora, living in Canada and other northern countries, we say:

“Come in from the cold”.

The book Go Lean…Caribbean aligns with the news story in the below article. While the US may be retracting the Welcome Mats from Canadian snowbirds, after 180 days, the islands of the Caribbean extend the invitation for them to pass the wintry months here. They are invited to bring their time, talent and treasuries; (according to the foregoing article: billions of dollars).

  • Need an extra month? No problem.
  • Need access to cutting-edge medical treatment? Got it.
  • Need protection from crime and harassment? Got you covered.
  • Need video communications to interact with Embassy and government officials? Sure thing.
  • Need access to your Canadian dollar bank accounts? No problem.

The source news article is embedded here as follows:

Title: “Congress protects America from Canadian pensioners”
Gulfport, Florida – A chore combining carpentry with diplomacy awaits Gordon Bennett, a retired Canadian soldier, after his move to a larger mobile home near Florida’s Gulf coast. As commander of an overseas post of the Royal Canadian Legion, he likes to fly his national flag from a handy palm tree. But as a respectful guest—one of about half a million Canadian “snowbirds” who own winter homes in Florida, using special visas good for a total of 180 days in any 12-month period—he knows to follow strict protocol when mounting his flags, or face complaints from American neighbours. His Canadian flag cannot be flown on its own but must be paired with the Stars and Stripes (though never on the same pole). The American flag may not be smaller or fly lower, and must be flown in the position of honour (the right, as you emerge from a doorway).

Mr. Bennett, a genial octogenarian, does not resent the fussing. In his winter home of Pinellas County—an unflashy region of mobile home parks, “senior living” complexes, golf courses and strip malls—the welcome is mostly warm for Canadian snowbirds, who pump billions of dollars into Florida’s economy each year. His post shares premises with the American Legion, and has introduced local veterans to Moose Milk, a lethal Canuck eggnog-variant involving maple syrup. He routinely brings 50 or 60 Canadians to ex-servicemen’s parades, picnics or dinner-dances.

But once issues of sovereignty are raised, America’s welcome can chill. Visa rules force Canadian pensioners to count each day after they cross the border, typically in late October. They are enforced ferociously: overstayers may be barred from re-entry for five years. Some members of Congress have been trying to ease the rules for Canadian pensioners since the late 1990s. A law allowing Canadians over 55 to spend up to eight months in America each year, as long as they can show leases for property down south and do not work, passed the Senate in 2013 as part of a comprehensive immigration bill, but like the bigger bill, it has now stalled. In the House of Representatives an extension for Canadian snowbirds has been tucked into the JOLT Act, a tourism-promotion law introduced by Joe Heck, a Nevada Republican.

Canadian pensioners are not an obviously threatening group—few Americans report being mugged by elderly Ottawans armed with ice-hockey sticks. They pay property and sales taxes in America. They must cover their own health-care costs while down south, through the Canadian public health-care system and private top-up policies. If allowed to stay for eight months, most would stay only seven, predicts Dann Oliver, president of the Canadian Club of the Gulf Coast (staying longer would complicate their health cover and their tax status). They just want a few more weeks in the sun.

Yet even something this easy is proving hard. Mr. Heck is willing to tweak his bill to focus on two reforms: the Canadian extension and visa interviews by video-conference for Chinese, Brazilian and Indian would-be visitors, who currently face long journeys to American consulates. But many members of the House “are reluctant to do anything with the word immigration in it,” says Mr. Heck. Optimists hope the bill might come up for a vote this year. For Mr. Bennett and his wife, Evelyn, Canadians whose “bones ache” in their homeland’s cold, it can’t come too soon.
Source: The Economist (Retrieved 03/08/2014) –

Florida's Snowbird Chilly Welcome - Photo 2The book, Go Lean…Caribbean, serves as a roadmap for the implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU) over a 5 year period. The book posits that tourism products can be further extended to attract, accommodate and harvest the market of Snowbirds. These ones bring more than they take, and therefore should be viewed as low-hanging fruit for tourism’s economic harvest. While some CU member-states may target a High-Net-Worth clientele, there is room too for the hordes of retirees who may seek more modest accommodations. In the end, billions of dollars of economic output from the Snowbird market are still … billions of dollars.

From the outset, the book defined that the purpose of the CU is to optimize economic, security and governing engines to impact Caribbean society, for residents and visitors. This was pronounced in Verse IV (Page 11) of the opening Declaration of Interdependence:

Whereas the natural formation of the landmass is in a tropical region, the flora and fauna allows for an inherent beauty that is enviable to peoples near and far. The structures must be strenuously guarded to protect and promote sustainable systems of commerce paramount to this reality.

In line with the foregoing article, the Go Lean book details some applicable infrastructure enhancements and advocacies to facilitate more Snowbird traffic:

  • Ferries – Union Atlantic Turnpike (Page 205)
  • Self-Governing Entities/Fairgrounds (Pages 105, 192)
  • Optimized Medical Deliveries (Page 156)
  • Marshalling Economic Crimes (Page 178)
  • Improve Elder-Care (Page 239)

The purpose of this roadmap is to make the Caribbean, a better place to live, work and play; for snowbirds too! This way we can benefit from their presence.

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

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