Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lose the Flags...Please חייבים להפטר מהדגלים

You must have noticed them: the flags. You know the ones I mean: the pathetic-looking ones that "grace" the entrances to many of our hotels, particularly around the Dead Sea, but certainly not exclusively. I always wonder: What exactly is the message here? "We cater to people from Lots of Countries"? "All nationalities welcome here"? A-duh! It's a hotel, for God's sake.

I get the feeling that some Tourism Minister 'round about 1975 got the idea to start the Flag Thing, and since then no one has questioned it, and just left them fluttering forlornly to welcome all the Japanese, Germans, and Swedes swarming in to visit.

I can imagine that if done properly, it looks quite grand, a la the entrance to a world-class hotel in Hong Kong, or a luxury safari guest lodge, or, say
the Kampala (Uganda) Serena Hotel Conference Center, where:

"The broad plaza to the front of the conference centre features the flags of the nations with a generous sweep of stairs that leads into the grandeur of the marbled entrance lobby…"

…but unfortunately, our local examples, unlike the Kampala, conjure up the opposite of class, i.e., an old-time traveling circus or carnival road-show. In other words…tacky. Rinky-dink. The two last things you want to be if you're in the tourism business, right? I beg of anyone reading this who's in a position to have any say in the matter: Lose the flags. Please, for all our sakes. I would hope that we strive for class.

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