A recent visitor to the Baltics including Riga and Latvia said it quite clearly (TBT 656):
"My present joke is, in the Baltics, the customer is always wrong. This gets a laugh because the first rule of business is the customer is always right. Service was not always bad, but it was poor on many occasions. So I think this concept must be continually stressed. We had a very rude woman at a guesthouse in Tallinn, so we would not recommend that place to a friend...."
"â€¦we paid quite a lot of money for many bad meals, served by surly staff. I could eat only so many smoked flounders and dreadful pizzasâ€¦Often though, the food had quantity but not quality..."
The letter writer went on to say ... "If I return home and don't give a favorable report, then our friends won't visit...."
For weeks now all the so-called Latvian experts have said: "lower Value Added Tax 's it's hurting our tourism."
This Rooster has said it before and will say it again.
People will come and people will spend money if there is a reason, value and customer service.
What is it going to take to get the so-called "local experts" to see the handwriting on the guest's wall?
As the letter writer said: they spent $US200.00 per day.
They did not complain about the 21 percent VAT. Rather, they complained about the bad food, lack of imagination, lack of friendly service providers and tourism objects with no value.
OK, local service providers, if you don't like to smile at a visitor as you feel it is wasting your time, then go 'hug a tree' and enjoy your free time away from the job that has gone away as the number of visitors continue to go away and those few who do come spend less.
Yes it's more than a smile; but, a smile really helps.
It's also good customer service and a set of high value set of products and services that will assure that people go away with a good memory of their experience.
They will go home and tell their friends how great the experience was.
That's free advertising.
Don't tell this Rooster that advertising is not expensive these days.
We need all the free advertising we can get.
We need to stop complaining about the economy and find ways to make good value "lemonade" from the sack of lemons the government has left us with.