Tourism stakeholders not optimistic of change

Tourism stake­hold­ers in Trinidad say too much tur­bu­lence in the tourism sec­tor has un­der­mined the in­dus­try over the years. Here are some stake­hold­er re­ac­tions to the ap­point­ment of Howard Chin Lee as chair­man of Tourism Trinidad Ltd and the re­moval of Janelle Pen­ny Com­mis­siong from the post.

Denise Ale­ong-Thomas - Pres­i­dent, Small Tourism Ac­com­mo­da­tion Own­ers of T&T


“We are to­tal­ly ex­haust­ed in the tourism sec­tor. There have been so many changes in the tourism sec­tor, we haven’t been able to get off the ground.

I am hop­ing that this new board will hit the ground run­ning, and hop­ing this will not be more of the same.”

Ale­ong-Thomas said the board should pro­vide pol­i­cy di­rec­tion on the grow­ing num­ber of pri­vate prop­er­ty own­ers who of­fer ac­com­mo­da­tion via Airbnb, the on­line mar­ket­place for lodg­ing rentals.

She said while reg­is­tered ac­com­mo­da­tion own­ers have to meet na­tion­al stan­dards, there is no reg­u­la­tion for Airbnb prop­er­ties.

Wen­dell Grif­fith - Pres­i­dent, T&T Tour Guides As­so­ci­a­tion

“I think it’s quite un­for­tu­nate that the new board be­fore we could have seen any per­for­mance, any­thing sub­stan­tial, they’ve been scrapped and gone. Mr Chin Lee has achieved in the past, both per­son­al­ly and in his min­istry.

I think he will bring some­thing good to the ta­ble. The rest of the board, I don’t know of their per­for­mances. The tourism sec­tor has been in too much tur­moil. When will we see a re­al tourism prod­uct, what year?

I am al­ways in prayer that whomev­er they put there will of­fer some­thing re­al.”

Syd­ney Valere - Pres­i­dent of the T&T Tourist Trans­port Ser­vice As­so­ci­a­tion

“I have worked per­son­al­ly with both of them, I worked with Howard Chin Lee when he was Min­is­ter of Tourism in an old PNM regime and I worked with Pen­ny un­der the new Tourism Trinidad Ltd (TTL) and with both of them, I have found they are both con­scious of what they are do­ing.

TTL has not been giv­en any sort of fi­nance or man­date to do any­thing; they have been lit­er­al­ly non-ex­is­tent for some time and now that they have been try­ing to get on their foot­ing...maybe a bit of tur­bu­lence may just wake us up in the tourism in­dus­try.

The tourism in­dus­try is not seen as im­por­tant to the GDP of the coun­try. We are not seen as im­por­tant to any sig­nif­i­cant growth of the econ­o­my out­side the en­er­gy sec­tor. So all the changes that have hap­pened, noth­ing has re­al­ly im­proved.

We are still at a stand­still, not go­ing any­where. We haven’t been meet­ing with the Tourism Min­is­ter. Noth­ing is hap­pen­ing with the tourism in­dus­try.

We are still at square one.

Reporter: Faine Richards

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