3 months ago

The Trinidad & Tobago Business Guide (TTBG, 2009-10)


50 TTBG 09/10

Table 21 Tourist arrivals and accommodation 2007 Total arrivals 485,988 of which leisure/holiday 189,957 visiting friends/relatives 113,649 business & professional 86,344 other 96,038 of which hotel accommodation 115,644 private accommodation 306,261 guest house accommodation 15,360 other 48,723 Source: Central Statistical Office Table 22 Arrivals in the Caribbean: Trinidad and Tobago market share 2007 Tourists strolling on Maracas Beach Total Caribbean tourist arrivals Trinidad and Tobago arrivals 22,548,000 449,453 Market share of arrivals (%) 1.99 Source: Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association A national tourism policy Trinidad and Tobago has never enjoyed the political luxury of an approved national tourism policy within which to develop. The Ministry of Tourism has now crafted one which has gone before Cabinet for consultation and adoption. If approved, this will be a big step in the right direction. On its own, however, it will have little impact. It is a blank canvas awaiting the painter’s brush, which in turn must come in the form of strategic action and land usage plans that will lay down in detail everything that must be done to achieve the coordinated objectives approved by government in consultation with its private sector stakeholders. To date such a plan is still only being talked about. A coordinated approach to tourism development Essentially, there are four principal regions with real tourism potential in Trinidad and Tobago: • Tobago • Port of Spain • Chaguaramas • Trinidad’s north coast. This is not to deny the opportunities that exist on the east and south coasts and in rural Trinidad. All of these have potential. But they are constrained by limitations of access and infrastructure. The tourism sector crosses many jurisdictional lines, and its success calls for in-depth coordination in both development and operation. At present, policy matters are in the hands of the Ministry of Tourism, with marketing, product development and quality control provided by the Tourism Development Company (TDC), the ministry’s implementation agency. Tobago comes under the legal and operational jurisdiction of the Tobago House of Assembly, but its budget, security and utilities remain in the hands of the central government through its line ministries. Chaguaramas, the northwest peninsula of Trinidad, reports to the Ministry of Planning via the Chaguaramas Development Authority, which currently lacks any kind of tourism focus, far less a clear strategic plan, despite the obvious potential for all forms of leisure activity. In addition, the area’s development, like the north coast, is hostage to restricted road access, which lies in the hands of the Ministry of Works. The government owns three hotels: the Trinidad Hilton and the Vanguard Hotel (previously the Tobago Hilton) each have eTecK (the Evolving TecKnologies and Enterprise Development Company) as their landlord, while the Hyatt has Udecott (the Urban Development Corporation). Such a fragmented approach inevitably creates the silo effect so often found in government: it makes a coordinated approach extremely difficult, if not impossible. It was on that premise that the tourism component of the 2020 Vision strategic plan called for the establishment of a Tourism Commission, 09/10 TTBG 51

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