The Dissolution Solution for T&T’s Tourism
With this country’s dependence on oil and gas for revenue, there have been numerous calls in the past and present for the Government to begin identifying ways to diversify the economy. It’s very much the way to go, given the volatility in the oil and gas sector internationally. Trinidad and Tobago, a Caribbean island, which was once known for its potent agriculture, is also known for its beautiful scenery and rich culture.
So why not market destination Trinidad and Tobago properly? The problem, it seems, is that both islands could not be sold as one product and it’s time to separate them to strengthen the focus on each. That’s why on Thursday last week, we were told by the Minister of Tourism that the Tourism Development Company would be dissolved to make way for two separate entities.
The Minister said Tobago will be given the “authority and autonomy” to treat with matters of tourism, via its entity. It’s a good move, given that Tobago’s tourism may be different to that of Trinidad and officials there could focus on what developing the island’s attractions.
In 2016, Caribbean visitor numbers increased by 4.2 percent over 2015, totalling 29.3 million visitors but how many visited Tobago? Why is the island not cashing in on what seems to be a growing tourism market, right here in the region?
A serious look will have to be taken by the THA to drastically improve the tourism product there, but how long again will that be? The Minister said the dissolution of the TDC is not immediate and the process will have to be done in accordance with the law.
Separately, it was a sudden announcement that took many by surprise, maybe even employees. Concern has been expressed by some, including the CEO of the Trinidad Hotels Restaurants and Tourism Association, about the announcement’s impact on current TDC’s approximately 150 employees.
They may be wondering about the future of their jobs, and the Minister said employees will be invited to apply for vacancies in the new entities. It is hoped that the process to dissolve the TDC and staff the new agencies is a smooth process, so that the business of boosting tourism can finally be realised.
March 13th, 2017