6 more hotels to benefit from government tourism project

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell (centre) poses with the recipients of the Tourism Accommodation Upgrade Project grant at the Brix Hotel, Cascade on Wednesday.
Left of Mitchell are Pamela Gopee, managing director at Par May La’s Inn, Jasen Rodriguez, chief financial officer of Crews Inn Group and Jason Laing, director at Tradewinds Hotel.
To his right are Sherry Sookoo, representative from Royal Hotel and Hassel Thorn, general manager at Cara Hotels. – Photo by Narissa Fraser

TOURISM Trinidad Ltd (TTL) has chosen six more hotels which will benefit from the Trinidad and Tobago Accommodation Upgrade Project.

He was speaking at a ceremony for the signing of contracts at the Brix Hotel, Cascade on Wednesday.

The hotels are Care Hotels, Holiday Inn Express and Suites, Par May La’s Inn, Royal Hotel, Sundeck Suites and Tradewinds Hotel.

The project categorises properties into those offering one to five guest rooms and those offering six to 150.

Those in the former category can access reimbursements up to a maximum of 40 per cent while the latter category can access reimbursements of up to 50 per cent.

This allows owners and operators an opportunity to upgrade their facilities.

Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell said the government has paid a lot of attention to the tourism sector in its diversification efforts.

“Because we understand the value of tourism but, in part, the value of the accommodation segment of tourism to the economy of TT.”

He said different sectors benefit from this industry including agriculture and manufacturing.

It is because of this, he said, government understands the importance of incentives.

He said government is trying to bring the loan-guarantee programme – which is currently only available in Tobago – to Trinidad.

Owners and operators in the tourism sector will be guaranteed loans of up to $10 million.

He said TTL’s accommodation programme is very important and further ensures guests can have a “very high-quality stay.

“We need to get this economy going again,” he said.

“And we need you the accommodation providers to reinvest in the improvement of you hotel rooms because we are also concerned with the creation of jobs and stimulation of our economy.”

TTL interim CEO Carla Cupid said the company is “truly optimistic” about the tourism sector’s growth “from this year and onward.

“We are recalibrating our goals to rebuild the sector so it can be more resilient, more sustainable and more competitive.”

She said grants like these are important since they are “part of our support system to stakeholders to ensure that there is first class accommodation.

“…And this is accompanied by our training programmes, which ensure service excellence.”

She urged the recipients to “go beyond” the upgrades and work on having “as much preventative maintenance as you can to keep these spaces appealing to many incoming travellers.

“Also, remember that tourism is driven by word of mouth and our stories.

With social media and booking engines, people are able to judge your hotel and guest houses before they even buy a ticket. I encourage you to do what you can to get the word out that you are open for business and put your best face forward. Let us continue to build and satisfy those expectations.”