Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 2nd 2015 Contents BG4 COVER STORY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JULY 2 • 2015
Andrew Welch, president of the Trinidad
Hotels Restaurants and Tourism Asso-
ciation, is encouraging companies and
businesses in T&T to become part of
the tourism industry which he believes
has a tremendous potential. "We are
now looking at opportunities to bring
the T&T public into a tourism frame
of mind. Tourism has a way to go and has potential and the
general public has a part to play. We are developing a proposal
and we want to meet with corporations and businesses and
do a sensitisation programme. We want people to understand
they are in tourism," he told the Business Guardian last Fri-
Welch said he met Gervase Warner, Group CEO of Massy
Group, at a function and mentioned that the Tourism Asso-
ciation wants the Massy Group in the association.
"Warner's answer was that they did something in tourism
and it did not turn out too well. Massy has National Car
Rentals and Almo Car Rentals operating in the airport. Tourists
come off planes and go straight to Massy, get their cars and
drive off but the Massy Group---as far as they are concerned---
is not in tourism. Massy supplies all the hotels with tires and
everything we need for our vehicles but they do not believe
they are in tourism. They just opened their Super Store on
the highway in Tacarigua. It is close to the airport. That is
part of the challenge: to show people they are part of the
tourism network and industry."
On Tuesday, the Business Guardian sent an email to Warner
asking about his conversation with Welch and if he believes
that the Massy Group is involved in tourism but there was
an out-of-office reply saying that Warner will be back in office
on July 6.
Welch spoke about the benefits of companies being part of
the association and the tourism industry.
"Let us say Massy has 200,000 customers and Massy has
a sale. Business is all about profit and growth and if Massy
can get customers---the Tourism Association's network of
members, allied members and member affiliates---then Massy
will benefit from being in the association. So if Massy has a
special and they want the world to know about it, we will put
it on our Web site."
He wants to increase the membership of the association
through member affiliates.
"Hyatt Regency Hotel is part of the association but if you
go to the engineering employees and ask them how long they
have been into tourism, they will tell you they are not in
tourism. So a member affiliate will be the employees of the
actual members. They do not have to pay the full membership
fees as Hyatt's membership fee is significant.
"To become a member affiliate you apply and get a card;
with that card you can now get discounts from members and
allied members. If we can encourage Bhagwansingh Hardware
to become an allied member of the association, then its staff
could also become affiliate members. So if an employee of
Hyatt goes to Bhagwansingh, he may get a five per cent
discount because they are an affiliate member. The reason for
this is not just money and savings but you become part of
a database on what is happening in the tourism industry."
He said the problem is even people who interact with tourists
do not know they are part of the tourism industry.
"People in T&T do not know they are into tourism. I asked
a lady at the airport if she is into tourism and she said she
is not but part of the wheelchair department. I then told her
the foreigners who she helps with wheelchairs off the plane
are tourists! I had to walk her through scenarios to show her
that she is part of tourism. This requires a holistic programme
and training at multiple levels."
He said businesses and all sectors of the society must be
made aware of the part they play in developing tourism as
"We must work on primary schools, secondary schools,
universities. The reason why it must be a multi-pronged
approach is because if you working on children and not on
those who supervise the children, then they have the influence
and are the ones who are with them all the time. So my 20
minutes with students will be thrown out the window by
those who supervise them for 24 hours."
Welch is the managing director of Banwari Experience Ltd
and Tourism Information Products Services spoke to the Busi-
ness Guardian last Friday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port-
Welch said in the past people have been using the "cliche
of economic diversification" but nothing was done to achieve
We are all
part of tourism
Andrew Welch, president of the Trinidad
Hotels Restaurants and Tourism Association:
Continued on Page 5
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