Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles says he has hope Sandals will return to Tobago but until then the island will focus on developing its product to attract other world-renowned hotel chains.
“I am not giving up, I am optimistic – but in addition to that we are not sitting and waiting. We are out there looking at the possibilities. As a matter of fact there are some expressions of interest that we are currently evaluating. It’s not all over,” Charles said during TV6's Morning Edition on Monday.
Charles was responding to questions from the show’s host about the loss of the Sandals Resort. He said the island was preparing to benefit from the returns of the resort and they “would have been talking about the number of high-end rooms, we have been talking about increased airlift, because Sandals attract airlift where ever they go. We would have been talking about sustainable employment for thousands of persons. Also, when one talks about circulation of money and the spin-off effect you would have seen, it would have had an impact.”
He said he was still hopeful because: "If we can recall, at a private-sector session, it was said by Arthur Lok Jack, I think, that they were going to try and see, using the private sector, if they can get Sandals to come back with some kind of arrangement.”
When asked what was next for Tobago’s tourism, Charles said “where there is life, there is hope,” adding that in the meantime Tobago will continue doing what it is supposed to do.
“I am saying we are not sitting by, we are approaching and we have been approached by other parties, and we are working to see whether there can be a deal.”
Though Charles refused to give details of the potential deals, he said Tobago’s people, and economy will significantly benefit.