Budget 2018: Government places all bets on Sandals
The incumbent Sandals Resort is expected to contribute significantly to the marketing and branding of Tobago as a tourism destination.
This is according to Finance Minister Colm Imbert during his presentation of the National Budget 2017/2018 during Parliament on Monday.
He stated that the tourism sector had been grossly underperforming, leading to the dissolution of the Trinidad Development Company (TDC) and making way for the Tourism Trinidad Destination Management Company Limited (Tourism Trinidad) and the Tobago Tourism Agency. The Tobago Tourism Agency is expected to market and develop the Tobago tourism product as a leisure-based location under the remit of Tobago House of Assembly (THA).
He said that “the oil and gas money we made in the last decade should have been used to invest in being food security and tourism," but indicated that the tourism sector still possessed “inherent potential”.
He said that the government had taken bold steps to rectify these shortcomings, partially with the construction of the hotly contested Sandals Resort. The resort, which will be built at Golden Grove, Tobago, is expected to boost tourism and will contribute significantly to the marketing and branding of Tobago as a tourism destination. It will also create a number of employment opportunities for citizens.
Adding that the construction will also significantly contribute to the expansion of air and sea traffic to Trinidad and Tobago, he confirmed that negotiations with the Sandals group are expected to conclude shortly.
Imbert also stated that more efforts will be made to forge closer links with cruise lines, thereby increasing cruise ship tours to the country.