THA capitalising on ‘cost-effective’ World Trade Market

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Chief Secretary Farley Augustine, left, shakes the hand of a tourism stakeholder on Tuesday during a meeting at World Trade Market 2022, London, England. Photo courtesy THA

CHIEF Secretary Farley Augustine says Tobago is getting high value from its appearance at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London, England.

“The highlight for me so far has been the overwhelming amount of engagements,” he said on Tuesday during day two of the WTM. “If I am to position my government to meet with all of these agencies and potential deal-makers, it will cost me tens of millions and it will cost me the entire year in terms of time to get that done.”

Augustine said since the start of the WTM on Monday, they have been engaging 20-plus agencies per day. This, he added, translates to between 60 and 80 agencies by the time the event closes later this week.

He said the delegation also got the opportunity to engage agencies which they have never interacted with before.

“We will never have such an opportunity at such a cost-effective price, certainly with the time factor in one week. That will be impossible otherwise but WTM makes that possible.”

Augustine said he felt as though many people at the event are anxious to get involved in something new.

“For us in Tobago we have been so relatively unknown in the global tourism world that it is now beginning to appear to the tourism world that there is a little island south of the Caribbean that we have not been to as yet.

“That is why we talk about being undiscovered, unspoilt and untouched because that, essentially, is what we are, and we hope to monetise that and we hope to give the world a beautiful piece of ourselves.”

Augustine said Tobago is not trying to compete with developed destinations around the world.

“We are not fixated on trying to get skyscrapers built. But when I talk about the greatest little island on the planet, I am talking about an island with a comparatively high standard of living; an island whereby there is a high quality of education for our young people; an island that is sustainable, that is green, that is innovative; an island that is autonomous; an island where indigenous communities feel a sense of independence and feel as though they can live out their dream; an island where people can actually self-actualise.”

He added all of these dreams can be achieved through tourism.

“I am hopeful with the re-engineering of Tobago’s tourism product coming out of covid19, coming out of having very low numbers in previous years, that we can return a lot of visitors to the island.

“That will mean a greater spend in terms of forex. It will also mean greater global engagement and it will mean an island that can certainly act bigger than it is.”

Augustine said it is also about aspiring to the point where size no longer matters.

“What really matters is really the size of your heart. For us in Tobago, we have big hearts and we are ready to embrace the world.”

WTM delegates were entertained by soca artiste Adana Roberts, a drummer, pannist and dancers from the Tobago Performing Arts Company.