A PRIVATE hotel development is under way in Tobago. Chief Secretary and Secretary of Tourism Ancil Dennis revealed this last week at the post-Executive Council media briefing at the Scarborough Library. He said this development would add another 74 more rooms to the island’s stock.
“That hotel would be branded, to some extent operated, according to the guidelines of a very recognisable and a very well-established hotel brand in the world," he hinted.
He added: “There is development taking place in the tourism sector despite our challenges, and I am heartened that there are people in Tobago who are willing to invest in Tobago, and I want to continue to encourage that even during this time.”
He said despite the fact that tourism across the world has been tremendously ravaged, the island remains in the tourism business and therefore "we must also be in the hotel business to ensure that we have quality rooms across the destination.” He also gave an update on Manta Lodge Hotel, which he said the THA bought in 2015 at a “highly discounted price.”
“It was a bargain. The hotel was valued at…I think it was $14 million. We were able to purchase it for $8 million. I want to announce to the people of Tobago that we have given the authority to engage Udecott as project manager to begin the renovation of that hotel establishment.
"We expect that that project would be completed by the end of this year and therefore we would have available to the tourism sector in Tobago another 24 high-end rooms,” he said adding that Sanctuary Villas will be tackled in the next fiscal year, as it will cost the THA far more to renovate.
In 2015, the assembly spent $32 million on Sanctuary Villas at Black Rock and Manta Lodge at Speyside. Since then, it has left both venues unattended and out of business. The hotels are now in a significant state of disrepair and sparked questions about the squandering of money by the THA.
Previously, he told Newsday that renovation would cost the assembly $70 million: $10 million for Manta Lodge and $60 million for Sanctuary Villas. Questioned about a waste of taxpayers’ money, he said, “It isn’t a waste. I do not consider it a waste, I consider it an investment in the people of Tobago.”