Regional tourism experts team up with TDC for the ‘Tourism is My Business’ Symposium

A dynamic group of tourism experts from around the region joined the Tourism Development Company Limited (TDC), through the Caribbean Small Tourism Enterprises Project (STEP) to host the People, Productivity and Sustainability Symposium entitled “Tourism is My Business” at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad on Wednesday July 27.

Tourism professionals from The Bahamas, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago shared their knowledge and expertise with over 150 small tourism operators on a variety of tourism related topics, all in an effort to increase awareness among tourism entrepreneurs about the linkages that exist between the various players in the tourism sector and the successes that can be derived if activities are harnessed in a sustainable manner.

 Through a combination of lectures and panel discussions, the speakers reinforced the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation through the creation of a people-centric tourism environment that caters to the needs of both domestic and international visitors.

 In attendance at the event were the Honourable Shamfa Cudjoe, Minister of Tourism, Mrs. Vidiah Ramkhelawan, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism, Mrs. Cheryl Ann Solomon, Administrator, Division of Tourism and Transportation, Tobago House of Assembly, Mr. Brian D. Frontin, Chief Executive Officer, Trinidad Hotels Restaurants and Tourism Association and Mr. Warren Solomon, Acting Chief Executive Officer at the TDC.

Delivering the welcome remarks on behalf of the Board of Directors of the TDC, Warren Solomon said “The Tourism Development Company is committed to supporting tourism entrepreneurs in numerous ways, including the provision of marketing support, investment incentives and initiatives to strengthen tourism related businesses, such as this symposium.”

Solomon continued, “Tourism is a highly competitive multi-billion-dollar industry and Trinidad and Tobago has to stand out and be noticed…. Our islands are blessed with an abundance of natural, historical and cultural resources but we have to know how to innovate, develop and package these to influence and stimulate demand…”

Minster Cudjoe presented certificates of participation to all tourism stakeholders who took part in the Business Symposium.

 The line-up of presenters who engaged with local tourism stakeholders included:

 Lorraine Pouchet, Tourism Specialist and President, Trinidad and Tobago Incoming Tour Operators' Association (TTITOA) who kicked off the symposium with a presentation on creating the experience for both local and international tourists. Mrs. Pouchet is Marketing Director and part owner of In Joy Tours, a Destination Management Company, with extensive knowledge and experience in the packaging and implementation of ground tours, and training of tourism industry personnel.

 Kyran “Darron” Turnquest, Director of Youth, Bahamas explored the link between people and productivity in tourism. An accomplished counselling psychologist, public speaker, youth development specialist, and corporate trainer, Mr. Turnquest is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Human Resource Development.

 Kirt St Bernard, Programme Director at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business talked about networking initiatives for small tourism operators within the tourism industry. Mr. St. Bernard is the Programme Director for the Executive MBA and the In Company/Customized MBA Programmes at the University of the West Indies, Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business (UWI/ALJGSB).            

 Dr. Anne Crick, Senior Lecturer, at the University of the West Indies Mona Campus offered information on cutting edge strategies that nurture, sustain and expand small tourism businesses. Dr. Crick is the former Head of the Department of Management Studies and the Centre for Hospitality and Tourism Management located in Nassau, Bahamas. She is also a former Associate Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences.

 Ms. Elena Dyer, Business Development Manager, Massy Technologies culminated the day’s activities with a discussion on the creation of a people centric tourism environment that caters to local and international visitors. Ms. Elena Dyer is the Business Development Manager at Massy Technologies InfoCom (Trinidad) Ltd and has over 15 years’ experience in the local and regional ICT sector. 

 About STEP

Targeting small tourism operators, STEP presents a comprehensive approach to addressing profitability, competitiveness and sustainability within the small tourism enterprise sector by offering development training and capacity building initiatives.  These include Operations Management, Art of Networking, Social Media and Niche Marketing, Customer Relationship Management, Interior Decorating on a Budget and Maximizing the Visitor Experience.

 Small tourism-related business operators may access information about STEP’s future training initiatives by contacting Belinda Charles, Business Enhancement Facilitation Specialist at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..