Tobago’s hoteliers and guesthouse owners have begun upgrading their properties with funding from the Government’s $50 million tourism accommodation relief grant, though still navigating the impact of the covid19 pandemic.
In an interview with Newsday on Wednesday, TTAL CEO Louis Lewis said to date, some 89 properties on the island have been approved for financial assistance. Applications opened in June.
“The grant was $50 million, to date we have engaged property owners and developers to the extent of $18 or $19 million, so there is still potential demand that exists on the outside. The latest update is that we have 89 applications that we have actually processed (and approved), and there still exists a tremendous amount of potential for access,” he said.
In March, Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced the initiative, saying it will help hoteliers enhance their properties, post covid19.
Lewis added: “We anticipated a greater demand.”
He could not say what was causing the delay in applying for the grant.
“The terms and conditions had been set by the THA and we are implementing the programme as prescribed,” he said.
Under this incentive, property owners on the island are able to access funding as categorised by their number of rooms, ranging from a maximum of $100,000 for two to seven rooms, $300,000 for eight to fifty rooms, $500,000 for 51 to 99 rooms and $600,000 for 100 rooms and over.
Lewis said TTAL continues to accept and process applications for the upgrade grant from tourism property owners.
“As recent as two weeks ago, we sent out a reminder and we received a number of calls where people are making inquires, and hopefully those would translate into applications and then hopefully it would translate into disbursements, but that is how it has gone so far."
He said step-by-step information is available on the application process on the agency’s website at https://www.visittobago.gov.tt/corporate/tobago-tourism-sector-relief-grants.