Saba is featured in the Forbes magazine, described by contributor and travel writer Joni Sweet as an “island paradise that is the Caribbean’s best-kept secret.” Sweet’s recent visit to Saba, facilitated by the Saba Tourist Office, has resulted in a highly positive article that has had already more than 42,000 views online.
The feature article, which was posted on the lifestyle section of the famous United States business magazine on May 24, starts with the dilemma of the visitor who has fallen in love with Saba whether to keep this paradise a secret or not.
In the article, Sweet writes about the landing at the Juancho Yrausquin Airport, “arguably the most famous feature of Saba: it’s runway,” which at less than 1,300 feet is the world’s shortest commercial runway.
“No chain hotels or tourist traps. Just craggy untamed hills, fairy-tale inspired cottages and vibrant views that seem to get prettier each time you look,” Sweet says about Saba. She describes her visit and “what will make you fall in love with this enchanting Caribbean paradise.” The article features several photos and a short You Tube video of the landing and take-off.
The article mentions sleeping in a 150-year-old cottage offered by Juliana’s Hotel, “experiencing the power of feminism through Saba Lace,” including a bit of history on this famous handicraft by Saba women, hiking through tide pools and a cloud forest, dining at the high-quality restaurants on Saba, and diving on the pristine Saba Bank.
If you’re ready for a different kind of Caribbean vacation, plan a trip to Saba. No other island in the region rivals the exquisite natural beauty, quirky history and refreshing small-town feel of Saba. Just think twice before letting the secret out on this special place,” Sweet concludes her article.
The Saba Tourist Office regularly invites and hosts travel writers from abroad as part of the strategy to promote the island. This has already resulted in several positive articles in renown international media and magazines.
Would be nice if you would mention the other places she visited as well! Instead of naming them ‘high-quality restaurants’ all those restaurants have a name! Just like you name Juliana’s!!!!!
I would love to visit Saga.
From someone who adores Saba, and who visits every year for at least a week by saving every penny I can, this aggressive marketing push over the past months only worries me.
So many places much larger than Saba have been irrevocably damaged by over-tourism, with the smallest suffering most catastrophically (i.e. Venice, which has been swallowed).
I can’t claim to know how hard it is to make a living on this island, but through discussions with Sabans in all walks of life during my visits, and learning something of their struggles (including surviving the devastation of Irma and Maria), I still think there is a sweet spot in terms of marketing where a place can retain its culture, natural beauty, and sense of seclusion – all the characteristics that make it so attractive and unique in the first place – and not succumb to greed. Because once things reach a certain point, there is no turning back.
It strikes me as sad, for instance, that “vloggers” who swoop in and out of Saba to ultimately win views on their website or youtube channel are treated as saviours of the island (this is at least how a recent article came across to me), when it’s the quiet visitors who deeply love and respect Saba, and return to it time and time again, who are the ones who should be most appreciated and nurtured.
The most upsetting of all is the tragic paradox of promoting a location such as Saba as a “secret”. Because once a secret is shared, it’s not a secret anymore. And the magic rapidly begins to wear off. Iceland, for example, is guilty of this. It has lost so much of itself as a result.
Secrets are meant to be kept, or shared very carefully with those who will take care of them. If Saba is gentle and humble in its marketing of itself, it will not only see more and more tourists who are visiting for the right reasons, but there will be some control, and a sense of pride, in how this is accomplished. The last thing this island needs is to be discovered by celebrities and youtubers as a sort of “trophy location”. In my opinion, it’s too small to bear this and survive.
Probably this is just a silly overreaction. I truly only want the best for Saba, so perhaps it’s time it opens its doors a bit wider to the world. I just think care needs to be taken, and I hope that Saba continues to take care of what matter most, which is the preservation of Saba, and Sabans, and Saban culture. In the long run, this should be all that matters.
I’ll be back soon, dear Saba.
P.S. I’ve posted this under another article as well; please forgive the repetition. 🙂