Tobago's small guesthouse operators are to receive the bulk of the Government’s $50 million fund facility to assist in upgrade works for hoteliers.
In making the announcement on Wednesday at the post executive council news conference at Scarborough Library, Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis said guesthouse owners are expected to get some $24 million while small properties and hotels will receive $22 million and $4 million, respectively.
“So, the majority of that money will go towards improving and supporting the smaller properties in Tobago,” he said.
However, Dennis could not say when the hoteliers will be able to access the money.
“I would not be able to give a specific date as to when the funding will be made available. But what I would say is that the process has begun and the Tobago Tourism Agency Ltd will be responsible for the administration of it.”
Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced in March the $50 million fund would be made available to hoteliers, guesthouse operators and bed and breakfast owners so they could refurbish their properties during the covid19 pandemic.
Last week, the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association called for an update on the grant.
Dennis, who met with tourism stakeholders on Monday, confirmed the money has already been approved.
He said the Tobago Tourism Agency should already be working on getting the information to the various hoteliers so they would be made aware of the criteria to begin submitting their applications.
“We believe that this down period should be used to, as far as possible, improve our tourism offerings and that includes our sites and attractions, our properties, our level of customer service. We must also treat with the absence of regulations in some areas.”
He added a committee comprising representatives from both the agency and the THA will be responsible for evaluating the various applications and scope of work.
Dennis also announced that businesses within the tourism sector will also receive grant support to the tune of $50,000 under the Business Development Unit of the Division of Community Development, Enterprise Development and Labour.
“So, we are making the necessary preparations and adjustments.”