Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 3rd 2015 Contents Chairman of the Tourism Awards
committee, Trinidad Hotel, Restau-
rants and Tourism Association, Has-
sel Thom, said tourism in the
Caribbean should not suffer "as
much" due to declines in the China
market since not many people from China visit the
"While it is a market that has the potential, the
spend of the Chinese market is within the higher
scale. We don t have them coming as far as the
Caribbean. China is a major player to every part of
the globe because they invest so much all over. China
really relates to energy because they are one of the
biggest consumers of the world oil output."
Last week, shares on the China stock market
declined causing shares on the New York and London
Stock Exchanges to decline.
In a telephone interview, Thom suggested that
T&T should look at these "disappointments" as
"It gives other governments the opportunity to
look at other markets to invest in."
He added that the lower oil dollar is "one of the
brighter spots," for T&T s tourism because in every
other Caribbean island tourism is "considered as
their oil. Our oil is the white elephant in the room
of tourism in T&T so it gives us the opportunity of
stop talking about wanting to diversify, and actually
start doing what has to be done."
What is clear, he said, is that the declining China
market is going to affect those who like to travel
and have new experiences and countries like Europe
are likely to feel the pinch of declines.
Commenting on what the repercussions would
be if Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) drops the London
route, he said the passengers coming from there are
mainly from the diaspora and these type of passengers
cannot alter the tourist arrivals from that country.
"Because we are not doing enough of the market
penetration initiative that we are supposed to be
doing to get tourists to want to come out of the UK
to come to T&T. The dent to tourism may not be
as high as bringing the diaspora back and forth. It
would affect tourism for Tobago s leisure tourism,
CAL does not do a lot for that. What it may affect
is our (T&T) business tourism."
He suggested that CAL should try its best not to
lose the route, as "maybe they need to diversify
what markets they are looking at, and sometimes
you have to lose before you win."
T&T are two different tourism products as Trinidad
is recognised for its business tourism, while Tobago
focuses on pleasure tourism.
"What is lacking is improvement in the leisure
side of the tourism product for Trinidad, in particular,
is the recognition of the destination. And the creative
profiling of the relevant assets that can make it, a
destination that is so much more than just a business
Whether its eco-tourism, culinary delights Trinidad
has what it takes to rival any of the recognised des-
tinations within the Caribbean region, he said.
Thom called for a creative team to be put in place
to come up with ways in which Trinidad can be
promoted to the world spherically, to different markets
where there can be buy-in (to the destination). For
the marketing of the destination to work it needs
the political will, the capital investment and the
continued of the private sector, Thom stated.
Asked how much it would take to market des-
"It depends on how much of the niches which
T&T wants to market and if we are going to market
them concurrently or do it in stages. It depends on
the model for promotion then that will determine
how large the budget will be."
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt SEPTEMBER 3 • 2015
Thom: We must
to the world
The merger between Cable
and Wireless Communica-
tions (CWC) and Flow has
reduced competition in
Grenada s market, said
Alvin Da Breo, Grenada s
Minister with responsibility for Information,
Communication and Technology. He said
the size of the Grenadian market is too
small for the Grenadian government to sim-
ply hand out licences.
"What it (the merger) has done is it has
reduced competition. LIME (the name Cable
& Wireless Communications trades by in
the Caribbean) has the larger share of the
market in terms of fixed line as they were
a provider for both fixed and mobile. Flow
had television and fixed line but they were
not as big as LIME. Right now we have no
competition in Grenada for fixed line
because it is one company."
The Grenada market, according to Da
Breo, comprises 110,000 residents and
15,000 visitors a year. He added that there
are repercussions for inviting more players
into a small market.
"Should we give more licenses out to
bring in more competition? In a small mar-
ket you do not have the consumer base to
make it feasible. In some markets it works
where more competition brings down the
cost but in other areas, depending on the
market size, you would have the opposite
Da Breo was speaking to Business
Guardian on day two of the Caribbean Tech-
nology and Innovation for the Digital Econ-
omy conference, which was held at the
Hilton Trinidad hotel, St Ann s between
August 25 and 27.
Highlighting an issue the Grendadian
market faces, Da Breo said: "These small
islands (OECS) have one regulatory body,
which is Ectel, and at the same time every
country has a different price for broadband.
Although you have one regulator you still
have different price structures in each coun-
try, which means the regulator is ineffective
or the providers are the ones who call the
Da Breo called for intervention by Cari-
com so there can be competition in that
market. Asked what option is available to
break the monopoly, he said: "We were
hoping it could be done at the Caricom
level, if not at the Ectel level. We in the
OECS have one regulatory body that reg-
ulates for us so we were hoping that some-
thing could be done.
"All islands have different broadband
data prices. It would be nice throughout
the Caribbean, at least throughout the
OECS, because I feel we should have no
roaming charges throughout Caricom."
Referring to roaming charges in the
Caribbean, he said it should be eliminated
"Of course it would reduce revenue (for
companies) at the expense of the consumers.
The area is very small to begin with, and
most of the calls are routed through the
same network. They do not have to do addi-
tional infrastructure for the cell net, the
infrastructure is there already and it is the
"We are not talking about they have to
pay interconnection fees to another provider.
It is one provider so at least the provider
could eliminate roaming, at least under one
network. If Digicel could do it, Lime could
do it because they are in multiple countries,"
Ectel should have more strength to ensure
that there is uniformity in pricing with the
region which Ectel is in charge of because
"we are very similar in a lot of cases. We
are very similar in our income levels, at least
we could have the same pricing in all those
Overall asked about the regional telecom
sector, he suggested that Caricom should
have a "unified position" on eliminating
roaming charges and number portability.
"I could have one number and wherever
I go throughout the Caribbean as a Caricom
citizen, I could get on a network without
having to change my number. The technol-
ogy is there. If we could get all of Caricom
to unite on that, we can get all our citizens
paying lower rates. If you have number
portability, there would be no roaming
charges. It would be seamless throughout
the Caribbean with your mobile."
Da Breo was part of a ministerial panel
at the conference to talk about the telecom
market and the challenges it faces. Delivering
opening remarks, he said there was need to
bridge the digital divide, suggesting that the
World Bank needs to provide assistance.
"We have the young people who attach
very easily to the digital technology but at
the same time they don t get the full poten-
tial of it. For instance, they might use 70
per cent of the capability of a smartphone.
Then, we have the teachers who don t want
to touch the technology and they don t
even want to use it for training. We also
have retirees and senior citizens who need
to use the technology so they can get the
full benefit of it."
He added that it requires educating the
population on how to use the technology
because "you could have the technology
and the fastest broadband network but if
you don t have the knowledge to maximise
it you will still have a problem. That s where
our emphasis is going. There are pro-
grammes from the World Bank so they are
addressing some of the issues."
Floyd Levi, presidential adviser for the
Republic of Guyana, said some citizens
don t have the means to access available
But he said: "What the Government of
Guyana is doing in this regard, is to provide
free laptops. We call it the laptop initiative
for persons who lack the economic means
of acquiring their own equipment to access
"We have done the first cycle of this pro-
gramme and we have sought to give one
laptop per family. And in the second cycle
we focus on teachers. It is the intention of
the Government to ensure that every teacher
has a laptop and has the means of con-
necting. Wee have just developed an e-
government network from which we will
provide free internet access."
He said the new government in Guyana
had embarked on a programme to establish
ICT hubs to ensure that all citizens, even
those in remote area, had access to the
Ensuring Internet access even in remote
areas is important because many people of
indigenous people live in the interior of the
"These indigenous people have been for
many years socially excluded because of
access to regions where they live. In order
to bring them on board and have an inclusive
society we intend to take satellite data sites
to the hinterland regions.
Minister: Merger means
monopoly in Grenada
Dr Rupert Griffith,
Science and Technology
Minister, left, with Alvin
Da Breo, Grenada's
responsibility for ICT,
and Floyd Levi,
presidential adviser for
the Republic of Guyana,
at the Caribbean
Innovation for the
Digital Economy (TIDE)
conference held at Hilton
Trinidad Hotel and
Conference Centre, St
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