Refurbished Museum and Visitor Centre opens in La Brea
A refurbished La Brea Museum and Visitor Centre was opened on Wednesday in celebration of World Tourism Day.
Minister of Tourism, Shamfa Cudjoe, opened the Centre which now features a differently-abled access ramp to the museum located on the first floor of the building.
Joining Minister Cudjoe at the Official Opening Ceremony were Nicole Oliverrie, Minister of Energy And Energy Industries and the Member of Parliament for the La Brea area, national swimming champion and youth motivational speaker Shanntol Ince, Warren Solomon, Chief Executive Officer (Ag.) of the TDC and Lisa Bholai, Research and Communications Officer of the National Centre for Persons with Disabilities
In a release, the Ministry of Tourism said the international observance of World Tourism Day, celebrated annually on September 27, is intended to promote awareness of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. This initiative also seeks to address global challenges outlined in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to highlight the contribution that the tourism sector can make in reaching these goals.
The theme for this year’s World Tourism Day, Tourism for all: Promoting Universal Accessibility, highlights the need for tourism destinations to ensure accessibility, regardless of a visitor’s physical or mental limitations; or the special needs required by some. Everyone has the right to access and enjoy tourism products and services on an equal basis but millions of people around the world have encountered barriers to participating in the sector.
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Cudjoe promised that “as Tourism Minister I intend to ensure that all future tourism projects would be designed towards developing a barrier-free destination where all can truly appreciate, experience and enjoy what our twin-island paradise has to offer”.
She said that “differently-abled people, older people, small children and their caretakers, family and friends are among the one billion people around the world who face numerous obstacles in accessing the fundamentals of travel and tourism”. Minister Cudjoe urged tourism stakeholders “to embrace the concept of integration, and develop and implement policies and strategies to ensure that our tourist destinations, products and services are accessible to all people; regardless of their physical limitations, special abilities, age or circumstance”.
Other improvement works that were done at the La Brea Visitor Centre and Museum include: -
- Removal and replacement of the perimeter fencing with high security fencing and installation of new gates to the entrance of the Pitch Lake.
- Refurbishment of all public washrooms; including those for the differently-able.
- Upgrades to the sewage system including the expansion of waste storage, new waste lines and associated fixtures.
- Repainting of the facility, landscaping and the construction of a cascading water feature.
- Museum repairs were completed on the existing displays along with the installation of additional lighting and painting of the internal walls of the museum.
Warren Solomon implored the residents of La Brea “to ensure that the Pitch Lake site is treated with respect by all who visit it and that you show it off with pride each and every time”.