Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 22nd 2018 Contents news BG5
Thursday, March 22, 2018
State of the industry
According to the World Travel
and Tourism Council, T&T tour-
ism sector employs around 16.7
per cent of the population and
affects the livelihoods of many
with benefits ranging from the
economic activities of farmers,
fishermen, cooks, shopkeepers,
bartenders and tour guides to the
activities of hotels, banks and re-
sorts as well as Carnival bands and
Most accommodation establish-
ments are locally owned and there
are number of boutique hotels
scattered throughout Trinidad.
According to Invest T&T, tour-
ism accounts for almost 50 per
cent of GDP and in excess of 56
per cent of the workforce is en-
gaged in the industry.
Tobago has a significant tourism
sector, with more than half of the
country’s 4,200 hotel rooms situ-
ated on the smaller island.
The number of cruise ships vis-
iting the island is expected to in-
crease by 50 per cent in the near
In October last year, Tourism
Minister Shamfa Cudjoe Tobago
said the island, traditionally the
main destination for maritime
tourism, will see 47 liners while
24 ships will stop in Trinidad.
Authorities are hopeful that
total visitors arriving by cruise
ship will reach 200,000 over the
season, up original estimates of
around 135,000 and considerably
higher than 2015/2016 levels of
100,800. —Geisha Alonzo
Poon said it is important to
build partnerships for success and
sustainability. Working together to
build resilience and to invent, or-
chestrate and deliver exceptional
experience is needed so visitors
will want to return to the destina-
She suggested a whole “new
tourism” that is sustainable, flex-
ible, segmented, locally-directed
“Tourism has an incredible
value chain and creates many
jobs we love—from accountants,
designers, engineers, marketeers
and IT experts to photographers,
wedding planners, drivers, pilots,
museum curators, play makers
and much, much more.
“It is also the goods and services
that T&T supplies to other indus-
tries that enrich us. For example,
in Jamaica I was pleasantly sur-
prised to open the hotel mini bar
and see Carib beer on offer.
“Similarly many of T&T’s con-
sulting services, engineering, road
works, hotel construction support
the region’s tourism industry.
Let’s understand better and fully
exploit the entire value chain of
the travel and tourism sector.”
Chris James, president of the
Tobago Hotel and Tourism As-
sociation, who was involved in
consultations for a Tourism Mas-
ter Plan in 1995 said, at that time,
there was a lot of discussion about
the lack of a policy framework.
He hopes policy guidelines are in
place this time.
He said that the plan was an ex-
cellent document, but the major-
ity of its recommendations were
“The low arrival figures in Trini-
dad and in Tobago, are mainly due
to the lack of destination market-
ing,” James said.
“We are selling on price not de-
mand, and we have no demand
because we are unknown in the
international market place. Tour-
ism is a very dynamic industry
and you have to be present in the
market continually to keep up
with the competition.
“The fact that we have not re-
placed our overseas representa-
tion in many of our originating
markets for over a year now has
contributed to the lack of market
intelligence in those markets and
our ability to respond and gain
James agreed that tourism has
to be a collaboration.
He explained: “Investors,
whether local or foreign, have a le-
gitimate expectation that Govern-
ment will provide transport/airlift
and destination marketing. The
industry does its marketing either
directly through media print or
online and also through its com-
missions paid to tour operators.
“T&T is doing very badly com-
pared to a booming region, espe-
cially over the last two years. It
has to be time to stop the decline.
Tourism can be a major contribu-
tor to the economy of T&T. It can
create all sorts of jobs and oppor-
From Page 4
into tourism can
as an overnight
success. Founder of RoamTT, a digi-
tal one-stop resource for tourists who wish to expe-
rience T&T like a local, Du Quesnay’s journey from
student to digital vanguard began late one night in
November 2016 when she posted a video online
which showcased what this country has to offer.
By the next morning, the video had gone viral, gar-
nering more than 100,000 views and hundreds of
“I was totally in shock. I had no idea we would
have that kind of response. It was amazing.”
Since then RoamTT has been recognised by the
Ministry of Tourism as a leader in the charge towards
digital tourism in T&T. Du Quesnay was invited to
present her experience to tourism stakeholders at
last month’s Digital Transformation within the Tour-
ism Sector Symposium.
“RoamTT was inspired by a love for the outdoors.
I decided to follow the dream of owning a business
doing something that I was truly passionate about.
With that in mind RoamTT was born, “she said.
“Initially we started off as a group of friends that
frequently took road trips around the island to dis-
cover new and exciting things to do outside of the
regular nightlife activities. Essentially the idea was
planned but it stemmed from our spontaneous out-
door lifestyle and love for our country.”
Du Quesnay uses an eye-catching and user-friendly
website, as well as social media platforms such as
Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, to attract mil-
lennial travellers and visitors seeking an authentic
The 27 year-old, who said she is “driven solely by
a passion”, has a degree in business management, a
masters in tourism and a certificate in tour guiding.
She believes this career will help open doors. Her
dream for the distant future is to “help sway the en-
tire direction of tourism for the best.”
RoamTT aims to help with three challenges facing
local tourism: lack of marketing, lack of information
on digital platforms and a disjointed sector.
“To help with some of these problems we are
working on sponsored travel advertisements. We
are hoping to align with sponsors to
provide a steady flow of exciting video
content which can be used to promote
all aspects of the destination as well as
individual tourism related service pro-
“We are working on aligning with different institu-
tions, media houses, advertising agencies and even
governmental arms to help increase the reach of all
our content into international boarders in order to
maximise on its benefits and potential,” Du Quesnay
“Over the next couple months we will be working
on setting up a real-time booking system and ex-
panding our website and phone application to list
as many stakeholders as possible,” Du Quesnay said.
The company is also aiming to create a singular
platform for all tourism-related offerings, marketing
the country as a united force and encourage more
networking among stakeholders with less reliance
on external entities.
Du Quesnay explained: “RoamTT has plans to
continue marketing our destination through online
video content and increasing our digital footprint as
a brand and as a destination. Our next big step will
be to launch out our new and improved website and
unique phone application.”
On Easter Sunday 2017, RoamTT hosted the biggest
scavenger hunt ever held in the country with more
than 100 registered teams of three to five members
taking part. It successfully stirred awareness of sites
and attractions across the country.
This event incorporated the use of social media,
leading to more than 7,000 posts on Facebook and
Instagram revealing local tourism sites.
The next scavenger hunt takes place on April 1.
We started off as a group
of friends that frequently
took road trips around the
island to discover new
and exciting things
to do outside
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