Minority leader: THA wasting PNM gains in tourism

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

THA Minority Leader Kelvon Morris.

MINORITY Leader Kelvon Morris says the THA is failing to capitalise on the many gains established in the tourism sector during the reign of the former PNM-led administration.

On Wednesday, Tobago won the silver award for Most Desirable Island from Wanderlust Travel Magazine at the World Travel Market in London, England.

Wanderlust Travel magazine’s editor-in-chief and CEO George Kipourus presented THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine with the award.

Wanderlust is one of the UK’s leading independent travel magazines. Each issue highlights exciting destinations and experiences off the beaten path.

In a WhatsApp statement on Friday, Morris said he welcomed Tobago’s silver award from Wanderlust Travel Magazine.

“I certainly agree that Tobago is in fact a most beautiful and desirable island to travel to.

However, he said it was important to note that this is just one of many prestigious travel awards Tobago has consistently won over the years.

He added, “It confirms that the strategies adopted by the previous PNM administration continues to attract international attention and accrue meaningful benefits for Tobago.”

But Morris claimed the international tourism awards Tobago received over the years has not resulted in any significant benefits for the island under the Farley Augustine-led regime.

“Going forward, however, my concern has to do with the fact that, with this administration, the awards received have not translated into any significant benefits for the island.”

Saying that almost two weeks have passed in November, Morris said Tobago has yet to receive cruise ship arrivals to the destination. He also noted that Virgin Atlantic is no longer flying to Tobago.

Morris said although Augustine led a team to the WTM “there were no real tangible achievements that gives one any hope that this administration can turn around their poor performance in the short and medium term.

He claimed even their efforts to bring Grenadians to Tobago for carnival had failed.

“Therefore, while this (silver award) is good news for Tobago, Farley and his administration has nothing to celebrate on the cusp of their one-year anniversary as it relates to tourism.

“Rather, it is really the efforts of the previous administration and the resilience of the stakeholders during the past years that has brought Tobago this prestigious recognition.”

Morris said the work of former chairman of the Tobago Tourism Agency Ltd (TTAL) Dr Sherma Roberts and former CEO Louis Lewis and their respective teams must not go recognised.

“Undoubtedly, the strategic roadmap that was implemented during the previous administration resulted in continuous incremental growth in tourism arrivals from 2017-2019.”

He added the former administration also pursued strategic product development initiatives such as the new ANR Robinson international terminal in an effort to boost airline access and arrivals, the stalled Sandals project at Buccoo Estate and the ongoing Marriott hotel development project at Rocky Point to improve the room stock on the island.