Tobago has enormous potential in terms of tourism, but destination marketing was crucial to its development.
So said Sir Ronald Sanders, keynote speaker at the Division of Finance’s 11th annual Tobago Economic and Business Conference, which began on Tuesday at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort in Lowlands.
“Tobago is not an island unto itself. Tobago does not exist in isolation, apart from its integrated relationship with Trinidad. It exists in a regional and international environment.
“Therefore, it is crucial to take full account of the environment in trying to analyse and determine the realistic possibilities for Tobago,” he said.
Noting record breaking climate changes across the region this year, Sanders said destination marketing was a missing element in Tobago’s development.
“Tobago has enormous potential for tourism, not only with its sun, sea and sand variety, but also with its heritage and eco-tourism. You need to do the research into what kind of tourism you can best attract, then you need to do the marketing.
“What Tobago requires is spending towards more effective destination marketing and in positioning the island for more local and private sector investments in hotels and ancillary facilities,” he said, noting that even though this island would confront
intense matured competition from already established destinations, “there was room for an aggressive and ambitious Tobago.”
Also speaking at the event, Finance Secretary Joel Jack said the Division was focussed on stimulating innovation to create avenues for economic growth and sustainable employment on the island.
“Even as we confront the challenges, I am excited about the prospects for Tobago accessing alternative financing beyond its Tobago House of Assembly (THA) annual subventions in this fiscal year, and the possibilities of engaging the private sector and our international stakeholders. “We must explore and implement all innovative financing mechanisms to support the efficient delivery of essential projects and services vital to Tobago’s development,” Jack said.