Sandals, The Savior?

Sandals, The Savior?

Is Sandals the savior of the Tobago tourism and economy? There are many sides to the debate on whether this international resort brand is a good idea, and if its advantages outweigh the possible environmental impacts, etcetera, etcetera.

In a letter to the editor in one of today’s newspapers, a citizen pointed towards the vast benefits this brand will bring to the island, giving it advanced potential to attract the standard wealthy visitor. Yes, to anyone who knows about big Caribbean brands will understand how much more popular Tobago will become once there is a Sandals on board.

But we ask…is the brand enough to give Tobago what it needs? How will Government and Sandals work together to improve infrastructure and facilities on the island to give more leisure options to the targeted individuals? We know a new airport terminal and access road is being built, but that not enough.

The island needs a boost of restaurant options beyond the traditional ‘tourist areas’ from Crown Point to Scarborough, and better facilities at the nature trails and northern beaches. On top of that, a major overhaul in customer service is severely needed to deal with the expected influx of foreigners.

We’re currently in the ‘cruise ship season’ in Tobago, and many foreigners are already flocking to these spots when they offload at the Scarborough port. The Tourism Agency should constantly conduct exit polls to find out how they feel about the products and services being offered on the island. This could lead to a blueprint of what significant changes must be done ahead of the Sandals introduction, if there is indeed an agreement on the cards.

We’ve always said Tobago has the potential to bring in much more revenue that it does, from tourism alone. We’re only now beginning to peek at the possibilities, but at least it’s a move in the right direction. We’ve had the renovated Magdalena Grand Resort for some years now, but that hasn’t been the cash cow that it was hyped up to be. New approaches are needed, and Sandals may be part of that large, complicated puzzle. Let’s give it a chance, but there must be full transparency from the Government and the resort’s executive at all stages. This must be done right.

Web Master

November 29th, 2018

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