PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, March 10, 2017 (CMC) – The Trinidad and Tobago government says it will dissolve the Tourism Development Authority (TDA), as it announced new initiatives to develop the tourism sector.
Tourism Minister, Shamfa Cudjoe, speaking at the end of the weekly Cabinet meeting in Tobago, yesterday, said that the TDA will be replaced by two separate agencies, one with oversight for Tobago and the other for Trinidad.
She said also, that there are plans to create a Regulatory Authority to manage and monitor standards for the tourism sector here.
Cudjoe added that while the dissolution of TDA will not be immediate, the process will have to be done in accordance with law, and that, through the Regulatory Authority, “it is the first time,” the country was trying to set “mandatory standards” for the sector.
“We are at the state where we are engaging countries that have functioning Regulatory Authorities, such as the Bahamas and Barbados, to assist us as we establish the new structure,” she said, noting that Trinidad and Tobago is the only destination that does not have a Regulatory Authority or basic standards that are mandatory.
“Right now the standards program in Trinidad and Tobago is voluntary and, if we ought to compete with the rest of the region, we have to ensure that we meet the necessary standards, and we could compete, neck to neck, and become more attractive, like the rest of our competitors in the region. So I think the regulatory authority would go a long way.
“We have been in consultation and conversation with members from Caribbean destinations the Bahamas, Barbados and the Caribbean Tourism Organisation for assistance in doing the consultations to establish this new Regulatory Authority, so we look forward to these new structures and these new arrangements as we advance the development of tourism and focus more on Tobago tourism development,” she noted.
Cudjoe said the decision will not affect brand Trinidad and Tobago “that is what makes us stand out, we have two for one,” but she said “there are specific markets that are interested in Tobago,” such as Europe and Scandanavia, and the Tobago market will focus more on those.
She said once the TDC, formed in 2005, is dissolved, the Tobago House of Assembly will have the “authority and autonomy” to deal with matters of tourism.