CHIEF SECRETARY Ancil Dennis has called for tourism stakeholders to buy-in to the domestic tourism thrust and shed all negativity. Dennis, who also serves as Secretary of Tourism, Culture and Transportation, said Tobago was open for business and the division understands that domestic arrivals would be the mainstay of the tourism sector for the foreseeable future.
“We have taken a number of steps, a number of actions… some of them can in fact be considered tough decisions, in order to ensure that we were ready to welcome that sector and in order to improve the safety and the quality of our tourism product on this island.”
He recalled that on July 6, the Buccoo Marine Park was reopened and is being managed by a policy supported by new regulations which have been accepted by a number of stakeholders.
The Tobago Tourism Agency Ltd (TTAL) has unrolled an aggressive marketing campaign targeting the domestic market.
“A number of hotels on the island have already opened and have themselves established packages targeting our brothers and sisters from the domestic market.
“But of course, there are some among us who are yet to understand the need for unity, the need for collaboration and the need for us here in Tobago to show our best side. So while a number of hotels, a number of property owners, a number of business owners have put their shoulders to the wheel to do what is required in really difficult circumstances to reopen and to offer their properties to their brothers and sisters in Trinidad, there are some, for whatever reason, who choose to whine and complain and criticise."
He added: “Yes, I would be the first to admit that there are still challenges, yes, some of the processes are not moving as fast as we would like. Yes, some persons are yet to receive their grants, yes, some businesses are still struggling, but I tend to believe here in Tobago I do not lead a hopeless and hapless people but I lead a people who are tenacious, who are determined, a people who are self-reliant, a people who are collaborative and a people who love their island and who love hard work.”
In that context, he expressed his confidence in all Tobagonians and in the island’s tourism and business sector “that we would do what is required, we would weather this storm, we would collaborate and we would unite and we would ensure that Tobago shows its best side during this period.”
Dennis also played an video showing a number of visitors and business owners boasting of the beauty of Tobago, to illustrate the island was open for business.