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Tourists rebooking early for next visit

Tobago hoteliers pleased with new trend

By Carla Bridglal carla.bridglal@trinidadexpress.com

Tobago hoteliers are reporting a new trend among international visitors—many are booking their next visit while still on holiday on the island.

"There has been a pleasing trend among international markets (that we have noticed) this Christmas. People who are here are rebooking for 10, 12 to 14 months down the road. And it's not just one or two properties—it seems to be going on across the board. We are getting very good reports about that, and we should not take it for granted," Tobago Hotel and Restaurant Association president Nicholas Hardwicke told the Express in a telephone interview Tuesday.

The challenge now, he said, is to liaise with airlines to make sure people have the opportunity to book seats and plan their vacations in advance.

He said the association has already been in talks with the Tobago House Assembly since the THA elections in January, and will be looking forward to building on the successes that have been achieved over the last year.

"I think in this industry continuity can always be seen as a strength and we have the ability to be working with the (many of the same) people as before. Now that the election is over, there is more of an inclination to look back and take into consideration that, although people voted in a certain way they were also saying more could have, and should have, been done and more is expected. I think that has been clearly understood by the powers that be because all indications show a genuine willingness to achieve genuine progressive results," Hardwicke said.

He added that reports for the Carnival period were still coming in, but so far all indications point to a very good season.

"Most of the hotels and gust houses reported occupancy levels well in excess of 75 and 80 per cent. In the week leading up to Carnival we saw a good influx of people coming into Tobago trying to get away from the Carnival furore in Trinidad; then during the week we had a very good crowd coming in for the cool down. Happily for us the Carnival week also coincided with the half term holiday break in the UK and Europe, so there was an influx of family visitors as well," he said.

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