PORT OF SPAIN, Trinida – Trinidad and Tobago is expected to receive a huge tourism boost in 2009 with the hosting of two major international summits that will see an increase in visitors estimated at over 10,000 just for the two international Summits alone.
The Summit of the Americas is the highest level political forum in the Western hemisphere. More than 4,500 visitors including Heads of State and Government and their spouses, high level government officials from the 33 other countries of the Americas, heads of international organizations, private sector representatives, civil society representatives, media and supporting technical personnel are expected in the country for the event.
The Summit of the Americas will be followed by the Commonwealth Heads of Government conference in November next year, which will attract 52 countries, bringing over 5,000 visitors to Trinidad and Tobago over a two week period.
While this country is seeing a significant expansion in its hotel stock with the completion of the Hyatt Regency Hotel and several similar projects on stream, there are still fewer than 1,700 hotel rooms available in the greater Port of Spain area where the Summits will take place.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago is considering chartering two cruise ships from the Carnival and Princess Cruise Lines to address the immediate shortfall in available accommodation for the Fifth Summit of the Americas over the period April 17 – 19 2009.
The National Secretariat for the Fifth Summit of the Americas is currently working with the designated cruise lines to determine accommodation rates for the delegates, media, and others to be housed on the vessels in order to effectively address the issue of cost recovery.
Discussions are also ongoing on the possibility of two separate Caribbean cruises leaving the Port of Port of Spain immediately following the meeting. This is another measure specifically designed to maximize revenues from the use of the vessels.
In addition to the provision of accommodation, the two cruise liners will also augment the hotel stock as the venue for other events on the margins of the Summit. This includes a Hemispheric Private Sector Forum which is expected to attract leading members of the business fraternity of all 34 countries and other interested parties from further afield.
This is a premier event on the calendar of the hemispheric business community which features high level participation from business leaders from North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
The use of the cruise ships will adequately address all issues of accommodation related to the Summit.