The Government’s announcement that steelbands will be branded as tourism ambassadors has created excitement for Pan Trinbago president Beverley Ramsey-Moore.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert, during the reading of the 2022 budget on Monday, said Government would use any or all steel orchestras such as Desperadoes, All Stars, Invaders, BP Renegades, among others, and brand them as tourism ambassadors.
He said this would showcase local talent and create employment opportunities for TT’s young, talented people.
Ramsey-Moore, when contacted by Newsday, said this was exciting news.
“It seems as though the Government is also concentrating on the orange economy. And when we talk orange economy, it is all about the creative trade. In linking it with tourism, we as steelband leaders have to get ready to be participants in this orange economy.”
Ramsey-Moore said paying attention to the contribution that steelbands can make to tourism and bringing in revenue for the country was “an excellent move by the Government.”
Imbert said the soon-to-be constructed Desperadoes pan theatre will generate a unique visitor experience in steelband music.
On the tourism and creative sector, Imbert said the Government planned to take advantage of the opportunities for synergies among culture, arts and tourism, and to monetise these assets through marketing and promotion.
He said the Government was focused on reopening the tourism sector, in particular business tourism, eco-tourism, sports tourism, festivals and event tourism.
“We are ensuring that these sectors will become economically viable and will contribute more significantly to the national economy, employment and competitiveness.”
Imbert said Trinidad and Tobago’s major tourist sites and attractions were being modernised and upgraded to globally-accepted standards to attract domestic and international tourism. These include Las Cuevas, Manzanilla and Maracas beaches, La Brea Pitch Lake, Galera Point lighthouse and the Paramin lookout.
TT’s cultural performance and heritage spaces like Queen’s Hall, Naparima Bowl and the National Academy for the Performing Arts, among others, were also being updated.
During the presentation he also announced a new KLM Royal Dutch airlines service before the year’s end. He said an airline collaboration with Air France and Sky Team will increase TT’s presence in Europe ensuring TT’s destination remains central to potential visitors.
He also announced the expansion of TT’s hotel room stock to “ensure accommodation for an expanded visitor presence.”
This will be done through the reconfiguration of the former Carlton Savannah, which will now be the Brix by Marriott, a soon-to-be-completed hotel in Tobago called Comfort Inn and Suites, a new 152-guestroom hotel under the Sheraton Brand near Piarco, the Financial Complex Suites Ltd with 79 guestrooms scheduled to open in April 2022, and a Marriott-branded $500 million luxury hotel resort at Rocky Point, Tobago.
Imbert said the creative and cultural industries will play key roles in enhancing visitor experience and domestic tourism.
The Government also announced plans to upgrade and repair the facility at the Queen’s Park Savannah to “ensure that the National Carnival Commission (NCC) is in a better position to host events comfortably and safely.
“Carnival 2022, if it moves forward, will present a formidable visitor experience, thereby enhancing the festival as a staple event in our annual cultural calendar.”
He added that grants and subventions will continue to be supplied to individuals, groups, community-based, faith-based, cultural and other non-governmental organisations.
He said funding will be in the support of projects which contribute to building the community, cultural, religious and creative sectors of TT.