Tobago hoteliers believe TT’s tourism sector needs special attention, and as such, is against government’s decision to merge the Ministry of Tourism with culture and the arts.
Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association (THTA) vice-president Carol-Ann Birchwood-James said “Our tourism figures for 2019 are drastically down and I think you need a ministry for tourism alone so we can concentrate on building up our numbers of visitors.”
She said “There is no reason to experiment here now (by adding culture and the arts to the portfolio). We need increased numbers.”
According to Birchwood-James Tobago lost an estimated 19,000 visitors last year.
The Tobago Business Chamber is also against the merger of the Tourism Ministry and even went as far to ask the Prime Minister to appoint a Minister of Tobago Enterprise Development to address matters relating to the island.
In the meantime, with hoteliers on the sister struggling, many are also hoping for the government assistance which was promised.
However, Birchwood-James could not say when the disbursements will be paid.
She said “The Tobago Tourism Agency told our president, Chris James, two weeks ago, that they had hired somebody to assess the grants. But no one has received any grant and we have not heard anything further from them.”
Birchwood-James suggested that the interests of hoteliers would be better served through a relief funding initiative so that businesses could stay afloat.