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FROM THE HEART BY BEVAN SPRINGER – Gay Nagle Myers: A heart for the Caribbean

Gay Nagle Myers: A heart for the Caribbean

Caribbean tourism stakeholders are beginning to flex their marketing muscle in anticipation of a strong 2022-2023 winter season.

Stories about hotels and accommodations, attractions and airlift abound and are undoubtedly necessary, but what seems to be in short supply are features that accentuate the wonderful qualities of our people.

This week I learned that veteran American travel journalist, Gay Nagle Myers, known for her editorial excellence in the travel trade media, would be “stepping back” from her daily deadlines as a Caribbean beat reporter with Travel Weekly (TW).

Reflecting on Gay’s prolific Caribbean writings over four decades, I recalled my association with her first as a fellow journalist and later on as a public relations practitioner, participating in many a conference in the region together over the past 30 years.

“Travel and the Caribbean are in my DNA and although I am leaving daily deadlines behind as TW’s Caribbean beat reporter, you will see my byline in TW from time to time as a ‘special correspondent’ as well as in other outlets,” she reassured when I reached out to her.

“Covering the Caribbean – a region I love – for a publication I love was a dream job for me, an amazing, fun, rewarding and, at times challenging, job that has given me a lifetime of memories, experiences, friendships, insights about a region that I shall always carry with me,” she continued.

While Gay has received many awards for her writings about the Caribbean, tourism stakeholders recognize her immense value lies in telling the stories of our people throughout the years.

Her disciplined approach to her work, her attention to detail, her inquisitiveness at press conferences, and her commitment to ensuring her final editorial product is accurate and engaging are virtues our younger peers would do well to emulate.

In responding to me, Gay reiterated that the people of the region have contributed to her rich Caribbean experience: “It’s the hospitality and warm welcomes I received from the people of the Caribbean that really run deep – the womenin the markets; the schoolchildren in uniform; the fishermen hauling in their catches; the local pastor who invited me to join his Sunday services; the rum shack lady who poured me her ‘special’; the coconut guy on the side of the road; the vendors in their stalls who spotted my earrings and waved me over to look at their wares; the housekeepers who left extra chocolates on my pillow along with a goodnight prayer; the gardeners at the resorts; the taxi drivers who fed me local gossip; and the people on the buses who said hello as I got on – experiences like these really made up the fabric of my Caribbean experiences. 

“There were so many and, of course, the tourism ministers and directorsgovernment officialshoteliers, many of whom became important contacts for stories and then friends.”

As we engage with publishers, negotiate our media buys, develop our social media calendars, and design our digital marketing plans this winter, let’s remember the immense value of profiling our people in our stories. And equally important, let’s engage even more with the people who pour their hearts, souls and more into covering a region they love dearly. 

Gay Myers is not from the Caribbean, but she has no doubt been Travel Weekly’s “Lady in the Caribbean”

We salute her for not only telling our stories, but also loving our region and our people.

Thankfully, she assures: “I’m not done – there are islands I haven’t yet visited so my carry-on and flip flops are always ready for the next adventure!”

Bevan Springer is the President and CEO of Marketplace Excellence, a global public relations, marketing and media company.


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