The Tobago Tourism Agency (TTA) has a critical role to play in tourism and cannot be silent, says Vice President of the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association (THTA), Carol-Ann Birchwood James.
The TTA was commissioned on July 2 under the chairmanship of Dr Sherma Roberts, Graduate Co-ordinator, MSc Tourism Programmes at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill.
The responsibilities of the agency, which falls under the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation, include policy implementation in the tourism sector, as well as designing and implementing
suitable marketing strategies, product development, and research.
In an interview with Newsday Tobago on Monday, Birchwood James said the agency:
“They are silent… We know that there is a board in place and after that, we have heard nothing, we don’t know if they meet, if they are still in existence, if they have a CEO, if they have employees, if they have a structure.
“Nothing has been told to us as the stakeholders or even the hoteliers.
She said tourism in Tobago continues to suffer, and more so because of the unreliable sea bridge.
“This is our third disastrous weekend in succession; the First People’s weekend, then we had an act of God with the high seas and now we have this weekend for reasons not really known, some saying the union, some saying it’s the captain and some saying it’s a repair.
‘Is the Port Authority board doing enough? No, obviously they are the reason why we are in this state because obviously maintenance has to be done on the boat. The boats are old and they need spare parts, they need people who know what they are doing and they need proper maintenance,” said Birchwood James.
Contacted for an update on the TTA, Tourism Secretary Nadine Stewart-Phillips said she would address the issue at today’s post Executive Council media briefing. Chairman Roberts told Newsday Tobago that she was unavailable to comment.