TOURISM arrivals for the Carnival season have been on a downward trend for the past three years and have been decreasing for the past seven years, reported Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe.
She was responding to a question in Parliament on Wednesday.
Cudjoe reported on tourist arrivals for the Carnival season for the past three years: for 2016 it was 82,114, for 2017 it was 78,672, and for 2018 it was 74,191.
Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee asked the cause for the drop and Cudjoe responded for the same Carnival period the country has been experiencing decreases for the past seven years.
“There are a number of issues that relates to Carnival, the competitiveness of our Carnival. Different matters that may contribute to tourism arrivals (such as) immigration issues. A host of issues that may contribute to tourism arrivals.”
Also at the sitting Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi responded to a question about regulations for water sports and reported that at present there were no safety rules, regulations or laws in place to protect citizens participating in jet skiing, parasailing and other watersports activities. He said the Tourism Ministry was currently developing policy to establish the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Regulatory Authority, a body which will create and enforce regulations to govern tourism sector operators for the first time.
He explained the proposed corporate body will deal with areas such as inspecting, licensing, monitoring, tourism operator registration, classification and visitor safety for the first time in the country’s history.
Fyzabad MP Lackram Bodoe asked, with the death of 13 year-old schoolboy Shem Murray in Tobago in February following a jet ski accident, what was the time frame before the activities were regulated. Al-Rawi responded the authority is “a matter of urgent consideration for the Government and that is moving ahead in quick succession” though he could not specify a time frame. He added that meanwhile Government is looking at the regulations independent of the body so the regulations can be promulgated upon establishment of the authority.
Bodoe asked if there was consideration for these activities outside of tourism. Al-Rawi responded these activities can happen anywhere and it was a matter of careful coordination at the Legal Affairs end of the Office of the Attorney General and there was an exercise coming shortly for all non-profit organisations, all entities and all manner of positions. He added the National Security ministry through its provision of lifeguarding services also has a role to play.
“And that multi-sectoral approach is hoped to be harmonised so we are not taking it in the piece meal approach which has existed since inpendence.”