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Tuesday 20 August 2019
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ACS to help build tourism sector

THE Association of Caribbean States (ACS) has agreed to assist Trinidad and Tobago in developing its tourism sector. So said Julio Orozco, the Association’s Director of Sustainable Tourism.

This comes out of a recent meeting held at the ACS Headquarters in Port-of-Spain “to facilitate dialogue on co-operation activities between the ACS and the local Tourism Authorities in their approach to sustainable tourism development.”

Speaking to Business Day following the meeting, Orozco said there were two important areas in which it was necessary for the fullest co-operation. They are: 1) to strengthen the sector by eliminating duplicity (different organisations connected to tourism doing the same thing), 2) to create an awareness that the sector is working together to develop activities together.

At the meeting Orozco emphasised the willingness of the ACS to foster closer collaboration with the National Tourism Authorities of Trinidad and Tobago as partners in the strengthening of the Sustainable Tourism Zone in the Caribbean (STZC) and to support the efforts of the respective tourism agencies at the national level.

He said, “In this regard as an immediate next step, activities suggested for joint collaboration in this area, included the selection of Trinidad and Tobago as a STZC destination would be prioritised. Additionally, a number of activities were identified for joint implementation.”

It was also agreed that a representative from the ACS and the National Tourism Agencies respectively would be appointed to work towards formalisation of proposals in a meeting of stakeholders relating to the STZC destinations to generate interest and awareness and also to inform of the STZC criteria.

Brian Gift, Tourism Advisor II in the Ministry of Tourism in outlining the ministry’s priorities for the current fiscal year, spoke about the collaborative efforts between the ministry and the Tourism Development Company (TDC) to implement initiatives to ensure growth of the industry in Trinidad and Tobago.

Some of the initiatives highlighted by Gift include the recent award of the ‘Blue Flag Certification’ for Las Cuevas Beach; ongoing refurbishment projects of beach facilities at Maracas Bay; restoration of cultural heritage sites and multi-purpose trails and the expansion of airlift to Tobago.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Donna Ferraz told the meeting the ministry’s staff recognised the importance of the meeting and by extension, the dialogue on sustainable tourism.

Chief Executive Officer of the TDC, Keith Chin gave an overview of the work of the company and highlighted the work his organisation was doing as regards the promotion of tourism, as well as plans to boost the Sports and Business sectors of tourism.

Chin spoke about TDC’s interest in developing a niche market that would deal specifically with Medical tourism and added that the need for small business to become more involved in the sector was being encouraged.

As far as co-operative activities between the ACS and the local tourism authorities, Orozco and Amanda Charles, Sustainable Tourism Advisor of the ACS both emphasise the importance of the STZC, the very first of its kind in the Caribbean.

The STZC is a pro-active and innovative initiative of the ACS and its Member States, which incorporates the principles of sustainable development in integrated tourism planning which offers a unique tool to co-ordinate regional efforts in tourism development.

At the meeting the work programmes of the various tourism agencies (Ministry of Tourism; TDC; and the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), were presented at the meeting.

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