While there has been an increase in domestic travel to Tobago, there has also been a 75-80 per cent drop in international arrivals to the sister island.
It has become a critical issue, according to president of the Hotels and Tourism Association Christopher James.
James told the Express yesterday that this, coupled with the low detection rate in relation to crime in Tobago, is a recipe for a disaster.
“We have seen a 75 per cent or 80 per cent drop in international arrivals. The other thing, the Government loan guarantee needs to be rolled out quickly. The whole purpose of that was that it is not a grant in any way. It’s a loan and we need that confidence of that to help us renovate the existing properties, but also to get investors interested in new properties,” he said.
James said the Government needs to be serious about Tobago’s tourism thrust.
“We know that Virgin Atlantic pulled out for two reasons, the airport and the other reason was the lack of choice of hotels, and the lack of quality hotels. So we’re emphasising that we need four-star and above hotels, and the only way we’re going to get that is with some guarantee from the government that we are serious about tourism.”
He said the low crime detection rate needs to be looked at, in terms of the impact on the tourism industry.
“We need the crime protection rate to be increased. Crime has two problems in Tobago—it has the social problem it has all over the world, but it also has the economic.”