TDC hosts third Tourism Stakeholders’ Forum

 July 24, 2016

Marketing Trinidad and Tobago as a premier destination continues to be high on the agenda of the Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Development Company’s (TDC) priority list following the Tourism Stakeholders’ Forum held at the UWI Inn and Conference Centre on Friday, June 10.

Spearheaded by the Tourism Standing Committee, the Stakeholders’ Forum has been established to provide an avenue for all interested industry stakeholders to discuss and report on operational issues that may be impacting the industry. The third of its kind since the establishment of the Cabinet appointed Standing Committee in January, the Stakeholders’ Forum proved to be a dynamic and interactive session that focused on the development of a variety of niches tailored to meet the needs of our islands’ targeted market segments.

Led by Dr. Acolla Cameron-Lewis, the Head of the UWI St. Augustine's Department of Tourism Management Studies, the 14-member Tourism Standing Committee is responsible for the strategic and sustainable development of tourism in Trinidad.

This Standing Committee has been established to provide technical support and advice for the development of the tourism industry in Trinidad as well as foster linkages between Trinidad and Tobago as it relates to tourism development.

Delivering opening remarks at the Forum, Keith Chin, Chief Executive Officer at the TDC crystallized the Trinidad and Tobago product and expounded on some of the initiatives organized by the Tourism Ministry and TDC, designed to position our islands as a preferred destination.  Chin explains, “Trinidad and Tobago boasts of having three high quality products and experiences that could be marketed internationally; namely Trinidad, Tobago and Trinidad and Tobago; each with its own unique selling proposition…”

Chin continues, “Trinidad possesses cultural diversity and a thriving business environment, Tobago is largely known for its semi-rustic and idyllic island-environment and the duality of Trinidad and Tobago provides visitors with “Two Islands … Two Unique Experiences.”

Through lengthy and detailed deliberations, participants at the forum analysed how Trinidad and Tobago as a tourist destination can be defined and enhanced by its reputation and representation as an all-encompassing destination that differentiates our tourism products and compete in an increasingly competitive and cluttered tourism environment. Some of the niches identified   for further exploration are culinary, cruise, eco and Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism.

The Caribbean Diaspora, described as an untapped resource for impacting economic development through investments in the Caribbean was another key issue raised at the Forum. External migration from the Caribbean has continued to increase over the years, and participants discussed meaningful strategies that can be implemented to enlist the support of the diaspora to contribute to the development of the travel and tourism sector and the overall stimulation of economic growth.

The forum also addressed other matters facing the industry including crime, product development and the role of airlift supply on the tourism sector in Trinidad and Tobago.

A similar committee is in place in Tobago to address tourism related challenges on the island.