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Caribbean beaches bring blissful silence

travel Updated: Mar 09, 2012 19:35 IST
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If being constantly interrupted by the shrill sound of a cellphone is your idea of a holiday from hell, one Caribbean hotel group might have the answer. 

Elite Island Resorts, which runs resorts across Antigua, Grenada, the Grenadines, St Lucia and Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, announced this week that it will ban mobile phones from beaches at nine of its resorts.

The scheme will ensure that one beach at each of the destinations will follow a strict cellphone-free policy, with signs reminding guests that the gadgets which have come to dominate modern life aren't welcome.

A spokesperson for the group said that the decision followed a two-year trial of the scheme at Palm Island in the Grenadines which has proved very popular and has subsequently led to events such as the 'digital de-tech week'.

"Over the last few years we've seen a big rise in people bringing laptops and smartphones away with them," Elite Island Resorts' Paula Whitehead told Relaxnews.

"People are using them on the beach and at the poolside -- we are all getting used to being contacted around the clock. We saw the success of the mobile free beach zone at Palm Island and felt rolling it out to our other resorts would be welcomed by guests."

For those that desperately need to log on, all of the resorts provide wifi areas, Ms. Whitehead said.

As the pervasiveness of modern technology in our lives grows, it seems it's increasingly fashionable to seek out destinations where electronic communications are sternly frowned upon.

Cruise ships, once a vacation blissfully undisturbed by cellphone coverage, are now normally connected by satellite, leading some lines such as Crystal Cruises to actively block cellphone signals in certain areas.

Even hotels are getting in on the action, with a host of American properties asking guests to surrender their gadgets upon check-in as part of zen or traquillity packages designed to reconnect travelers with what's really important in life, reports the WSJ.

The town of Green Bank in Virginia has even built a tourism industry out of radio silence -- part of the US National Radio Quiet Zone, its proximity to sensitive radio telescopes means that most gadgets that rely on radio signals (think cellphones, pagers, anything using WiFi and even television) are prohibited in the area, or in many cases, just won't work.

That freedom from both electromagnetic waves and the ring of a cellphone has earned the town something of a reputation in America -- it reportedly attracts thousands of tourists every year, all desperate to escape the constant interference of modern-day life.