The revival of tourism in Tobago is back on the agenda with the swearing in of a new government minister.
Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Orville London and Tourism and Transportation Secretary Assemblyman Oswald Williams have raised, with recently appointed Minister of Tourism, Stephen Cadiz, several areas of concern which are critical to the development of tourism in Tobago.
London, Williams and Cadiz spoke for more than an hour yesterday at the Calder Hall Administrative Complex in Tobago.
Among the matters discussed was the inadequacy of the terminal building at the ANR Robinson International Airport, the Caribbean Airlines service to Tobago, and the cruise ship industry which had a recent setback as a result of Government's inaction to offer incentives to Royal Caribbean which wished to operate 26 cruises to Tobago this year.
In a statement to the media yesterday, the THA said Cadiz gave a commitment to have the issues tabled for resolution.
London is quoted as saying that it is particularly significant that Cadiz was the first, among the newly appointed ministers, to hold discussions with the THA.
"I think it is in recognition of the importance of tourism to the economy of Tobago and the development of Tobago and it is also important because I think the Minister appreciates the need for very close and meaningful collaboration between the THA and the Central Government and the Division of Tourism and the Ministry in relationship to this industry," London said.
Cadiz is quoted as saying that on assuming the post of Minister of Tourism, he looked at how crucial the tourism industry was to Trinidad and Tobago and in particular Tobago. He said he hoped to deal with many of the issues as possible for the tourism industry to provide tremendous support for the economy, in particular in Tobago. Cadiz promised to meet with stakeholders very soon to roll out his plans for the tourism sector in Tobago.
As Minister of Trade, Cadiz had assisted in formulating a $250 million Tobago Tourism Development Fund earlier this year to assist hotels of less than 50 rooms with their debt restructuring, upgrade and maintenance. However, according to the THA, hoteliers have been complaining that it was taking too long for them to access the fund.
Cadiz said he was looking forward to working with the THA in his new capacity and also to being part of the discussions of the Tobago Tourism Standing Committee. He said his objective was to make Trinidad and Tobago, and in particular Tobago, a hugely successful tourism destination that would then become a major support for the national economy and not the other way around.