Green light for business tourism in Trinidad and Tobago

By Nikola Lashley

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – At a forum held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port of Spain – attended by Tourism Minister, Joseph Ross, Housing Minister, Gaynor Dick-Forde, Foreign Affairs Minister, Paula Gopee-Scoon and a host of industry stakeholders, a detailed plan outlining the vision for a first world Convention Bureau was laid out following, a green light by government to push ahead with business tourism development.

In Mapping out Government’s commitment to business tourism, Minister Ross spoke of the reality of economic uncertainties stressing that the sector is sure to be challenged to its limit, but that if ever there was a time for innovation to boost tourism, it was now.Ross an experienced politician was under no illusions as to what effect the slow down in business tourism would have on the development of a convention bureau.

Minister of Tourism, Joesph Ross and TDC President, Ernest Littles

He looked back over a decade at the shattering blows to the industry following 9/11, SARS and Bird Flu, in support of his expectations, which forms the basis for a realistic development strategy.Minister Ross asked the question ‘Why Trinidad and Tobago shouldn’t be considered as an international business destination? – gaining a share in the lucrative market.

His question was later challenged by a former hotelier who attended the forum and raised the issue of whether Trinidad could in fact meet the international standards. Ross acknowledged the concerns and challenges faced by a capital that it is aesthetically underdeveloped, but added that urgent attention focusing on a long term plan was in development for the regeneration of Port of Spain.

Rick Taylor took to the stage and sketched out the social broad-based benefits of how a 21st century conventions bureau would go as far as aiding in the alleviation of poverty, by creating and sustaining employment opportunities at every level in society.The Minister echoed the push for prosperity and closed the forum by promising to continue the dialogue that will ensure that Trinidad and Tobago reaches its potential as a Convention capital, which puts Port of Spain at its heart.

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