Ramish and Leela
Friday, 03 June 2016 21:01

Much to do to improve Tobago tourism

Written by C News
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Tobago needs to upgrade the airport and invest in improving hotels to attract more tourists. Those were just two suggestions coming out of Friday's Joint Select Committee Meeting on the Tobago House of Assembly where THA representatives looked at where they have fallen short in the area of tourism.

The Joint Select Committee of Parliament on Local Authorities, Service Commissions and Statutory Authorities focussed on the efforts being made to increase the marketability of Tobago and profitability of the tourism sector.

Despite some of the best beaches and cuisine in the Caribbean, tourism to Tobago falls short of satisfactory.

The Vice President of the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association, C. Birchwood-James, said the airbridge is inefficient, especially during peak periods.

"Our airport, there is no first class lounge and if you have two flights coming in, Immigration is processing people on the tarmac."

THA Senior Research Officer Deokie Ramnarine said hotel inspection is a major area of concern.

"The TTIC Programme as we keep going back to and that has not been ironed out yet with the Division and the Bureau of Standards, as far as I am aware. But we do have advisory visits where persons from the Division go to properties and inspect."

Over the past five years, $65 million was spent and the THA only reaped $17 million in revenue.

Although the JSC heard that the Tobago Jazz Experience fell short of expectation, there were some advantages, according to the THA's Transport and Tourism Coordinator, Samuel Henry.

"When you look at the return from the Jazz Festival, it is not right to look at direct expenditure, direct revenue, because there are indirect benefits. For example, when you travel to Speyside where the Jazz Festival is held, or Castara, you can see 20, 30 vendors plying their trade and benefiting from the Jazz Festival. The taxi drivers benefit for the Jazz Festival. The communities benefit from the Festival."

JSC Member Faris Al-Rawi said the Government is getting closer to sealing the deal on a brand name franchise and he said there are plans to develop four marinas.

He assured that the current administration is pushing to promote tourism to Tobago and will invest in making the island more attractive to visitors.

Read 527 times Last modified on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 09:17
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