Mitchell must hit ground running

Tourism stakeholders in Tobago are calling for more collaboration from the newly installed Minister of Tourism, after the Cabinet reshuffle on Monday.

The information announced by the Prime Minister via a press release indicated that Randall Mitchell is no longer the Housing Minister, but has replaced Shamfa Cudjoe as Minister of Tourism. Cudjoe is the new Minister of Sport. Maxie Cuffie who has been hospitalised over the last few months has been demoted to Minister in the Ministry of Public Administration, while Marlene McDonald will now assume the full ministerial portfolio of Minister of Public Administration.

Speaking via telephone on Tuesday, head of the Unique Bed and Breakfast Self-Catering Association Kaye Trotman called on Mitchell to hit the ground running. “He has a quick learning curve and we hope that he can jumpstart very quickly to especially put these two new agencies; the Tobago Tourism Agency and the TTTourism Ltd, get them operating, because they have not fully being operational.

“So we hope he can really push to ensure that those agencies get the kind of funding that is needed in going forward. And even that he does even more engaging collaboration with the sector to get the programme going. It cannot be done by him alone so, he has to be a little more engaging with the sector as we try to push forward, because we are really behind the rest of the Caribbean in performance. We have no time to waste on personality issues or anything else, but just to get the job done,” Trotman said.

She added: “I don’t know how much better this is going to be, since I am personally not aware of the new minister and what he brings to the table. So I am not sure if this is out of the frying pan into the firem so to speak, or if it’s just same old same old. He needs to engage the private sector a little more. Don’t pre-judge the private sector, have his own experience with the private sector before he can make that judgement call.”

Chairman of the Tobago Tourism Agency (TTA) Louis Lewis said the success of Tobago from a tourism perspective depends to a large extent on collaboration with Trinidad, particularly because Trinidad is a gateway to arrivals to Tobago.

“I am looking forward to that sort of collaboration. There are areas that obviously we have to work very closely with. One that stands out is the data capture, and how do we get information on the visitor arriving in Trinidad and also in Tobago because both islands (are) one country... each of them is a point of entry.

“The reason why we are looking for that is that you need to know the people that are coming into your country, the average age, gender, their shopping habits, where are they staying, how long they are staying, because that allows you to do a proper calculation and computation of the value of business that they are bringing to your destination, so that collaboration has to happen.


"Mitchell must hit ground running"

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