Trinidad Hoteliers are Very Angry ACCUSED GOV’T OF TOBAGO BIAS

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The Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Association (THRTA) are angry over the Prime Minister’s apparent bias in dealing with Tobago especially with regard to the incentives offered to the hotel industry there.

On March 19th the govern­ment announced a grant of TT$50 million to accommo­dation providers in Tobago to assist in the upgrade and re­furbishment of their respective properties in preparation for the re-opening of their hotels post Covid-19.
The THRTA feels that there is no equity in the provision and offering of Government support to accommodation providers especially where taxpayers’ funds are used and they accuse the Prime Minis­ter, a Tobagonian by birth of favouring Hospi­tality and Tourism operators in Toba­go only.
This is very trou­bling, according to their membership.
Between 2015 and 2019, the Gov­ernment collect­ed approximately TT$275,881,137 in Hotel Room Tax from accommoda­tion providers in both Trinidad and in Tobago. Hotels in Trinidad have paid TT$232,642,661 or 84% of that amount. The dif­ference, TT$43,238,476 or 16% was paid in by hotels and guest houses based in Tobago.
What has the THRTA even more angry is the fact that Des­tination Trinidad receives the majority of all International Tourist Arrivals in the country – a fact known to the Govern­ment.

Pie in the sky projects

Over the past five years, 2015 – 2019, 95% of the Tour­ist Arrivals came to Trinidad while a mere 5% went to To­bago.
In terms of the number of persons employed in the ho­tel industry Trinidad surpasses Tobago by far with 1820 em­ployees to 483. So why is Tobago alone being considered for Government assis­tance?
The Hospitality and Tourism industry in Trinidad is now tot­tering due to the ef­fects, in the main, of covid-19 and as such many jobs will be at risk without urgent interven­tion by the Government.
The THRTA lamented the fact that there is no direct rep­resentation for the Hospitality and Tourism industry in the Prime Minister’s Roadmap to Recovery (post- COVIV-19) Committee.
In addition, Tobago’s Tour­ism industry over the years has been squandering taxpayers’ money over many pie in the sky projects with no account­ability whatsoever and have even made two purchase of properties in Tobago which to date remain as while elephants.
The $50m grant to Tobago is also mired in corruption with a mere $4m going to the large hotels and $46m going to the smaller hotels many of which have been resurrected just to receive the grant from the Government.
The THRTA membership feels discriminated against having regard to the apparent prejudicial conduct in the gov­ernment’s support for Destina­tion Tobago and in its failure to support Destination Trini­dad.