Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 17th 2014 Contents 2014 www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG7
Nalini Galbaransingh, executive
director of the Grafton Beach
Resort in Tobago, has
described the Government's
latest incentive for hoteliers
to upgrade their room stock
as a "positive step" in the right direction.
"It is important for hotels to be able to
increase the level of their room stock. It is not
the first time they are giving such an incentive.
Some of these incentives have unfortunately
expired due to stringent or difficult application
processes. There is also the inability between
Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and Tourism
Development Corporation (TDC) to properly
set up the procedures for it to be accessed,"
she told the Business Guardian on Tuesday by
At last Thursday's media conference, Tourism
Minister Gerald Hadeed announced measures
costing the Government more than $87 million
over three years. The initiative provides for
hoteliers to reclaim in cash 20 per cent of the
cost of the repairs up to a total of $750,000.
Hadeed said hotels would have to submit
development proposals and budgets to qualify.
He said the Tobago House of Assembly (THA)
and the Tourism Development Company (TDC)
would conduct "monthly checks" to ensure
work being done was properly submitted and
that the State would reimburse sums spent.
Galbaransingh said Grafton Beach has less
than 99 rooms and, therefore, qualifies for this
"This incentive is to operate your room stock
so we have a better competitive edge in the
global tourism market. This includes renova-
tions and upgrades. I think this incentive is
relevant to anyone who is able to qualify. This
is for 99 rooms, so if you are over 100 rooms,
you would not qualify under the conditions
that were stated in the newspaper," she said.
Galbaransingh said the Government must
set up proper guidelines on how hotels must
use the incentives.
"Once you reside in Tobago, under certain
regulations it has to be done through the THA.
Their co-operation is very much needed. We
have to be positive about it. Proper procedures,
identify timelines and guidelines on how to
access it for this and any other incentive to be
established," she said.
The hotelier is hoping that the authorities
would provide further information on the pro-
"Whether it is the Ministry of Tourism or
the TDC or whatever body, we are hoping
that the incentives will be properly laid out.
There is nothing at this point that says this
is how you will do it. It is great that they
have announced it, but we need more infor-
mation. We have reached out to the ministry
directly to see what the procedure is and we
are waiting for information back."
Galbaransingh described the process of
hoteliers upgrading room stock on their own
"We have invested a lot of money in our
own organisation to upgrade room stock with-
out incentives. It is very difficult and very
challenging. Difficult because of timing to
be able to access tax incentives and stuff like
that," she said.
She added that this summer is a slow one
for hotels in Tobago.
"It is a quiet period with Trinidad business.
Business is not good, but we also have chal-
lenges where between THA and TDC and
the marketing efforts are not being promoted.
We found out about something on a Facebook
page just the other day. So it is just challenging
with information with marketing efforts. But
it is not to blame anyone either. At the end
of the day, it is one's responsibility to keep
in touch," she said.
Galbaransingh remains optimistic.
"If you are not, then we might as well go
home. We must think positive and not keep
blaming the Government or the agencies for
not doing their job," she said.
Smyke Sammy, assistant general manager
of Coblentz Inn, St Ann's, is hoping the new
incentive gives smaller hotels a much needed
boost as "most of the business now goes to
the Hyatt hotel."
"We are quite happy with this," Sammy
said of the incentive. "They had a similar
programme in the past and we did access it
and renovated three of our rooms. It was 25
per cent up to a maximum of $50,000, but
our suggestion is it should not be just for
rooms, but for the entire property. You
upgrade your room, but what about the bal-
ance of the property?" he said.
Sammy said the issue he has with the past
and present incentives is that hotels must
have money upfront to spend before they are
given the rebate.
"We really believe this incentive would
work as we smaller hotel are working with
the TDC and other agencies. The problem
is we need to have the cash before hand to
do the work. Otherwise, we cannot get access
to it. They should go even further and extend
the incentive to our suppliers who would get
the discount off, and then extend it to us
when we buy supplies from them."
Sammy said business is slow and the hotel
might even have to send staff home.
"We really do not want to send staff home,
but what else do we do if things do not
improve? Other properties are sending home
staff. It is really tough. We have three rooms
projected for arrivals by the end of August.
Carnival is a good tim, which is for five days,
but how do we survive for the rest of the
He said the problem is how the country
promotes and markets tourism.
"The way how the TDC and authorities
market the country is not reflective of how
the country really is. Other than the north
coast, we really do not have the beaches like
other Caribbean territories. But we offer cul-
tural tourism and culinary tourism. There is
also medical tourism now. The Government
needs to diversify the tourism product. The
TDC has marketing representatives in Miami
and New York. Also, in Europe and other
places, but do we get a return on our money
spent?" he asked.
A spokesperson for the Blue Haven Hotel
in Tobago told the Business Guardian that
the hotel qualifies for the incentive. Like Gal-
baransingh, he endorsed the incentive.
"Yes, it is a good incentive. Many times
the incentives are for larger hotels and it is
good that this time smaller hotels can qualify.
We need these initiatives that would help us
upgrade for more tourists."
An industry perspective
In an e-mail response on Tuesday, the
Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism
Association (THRTA) gave a brief statement
on the Government's latest incentive.
"The THRTA is in full support of any plans
that aids the long-term development and
sustainability of the nation's tourism product.
While we have not yet been made aware of
the details of the most recent package of
incentives, we welcome positive news and
look forward to reviewing the details of this
initiative. The THRTA has been working
closely with our sister association, the THTA,
in advocating for stronger tourism-related
initiatives that can both enhance the com-
petitiveness of destination T&T, and build
investor confidence in the industry."
"The board's focus has always been to make these hotel's assets
sustainable, separate and apart from itself. It should not need
intervention and funding through the State."
According to Ragbir, the hotel asset is about 50 per cent of e-
TecK's revenue stream, which also manages several industrial
For the future, e-TecK is aiming to construct six economic zones
to be located in Connector Road, Dow Village, Factory Road,
Federick Settlement, Preysal and Reform Village as well as a
business park in Endeavour.
With construction comes tendering and other procurement
procedures. Commenting on the contents of the Procurement Bill,
Ragbir said the bill will put accountability where it needs to be.
He called for a uniformed process of procuring to be applied to
all state enterprises.
"The bill proposes a holistic approach to the whole issue of
procurement in the public sector ensuring that all public bodies,
of which state controlled enterprises fall under, operate within a
regulated/legislated framework for procurement.
"It's all about streamlining and standardising the procurement
process across organisations of the State. No longer would each
public body be responsible for developing its own procurement
processes but, instead, will have to fall in line with the processes
as dictated and regulated by the Office of Procurement Regulation;
removing inconsistencies and potential loopholes in procurement
"There are ongoing civil litigation matters relating to supposed
unwanted practices in e-TecK in the past. There are instruments
in place to ensure that we detect and deal with it (corruption).
There is an active internal audit department within e-TecK. There
is also an active audit committee which reviews and looks at these
sort of things. If at any point in time there is a suspicion there
is a team leading underhand practices in award of contracts, we
have had no hesitation in stopping the process, revisiting it, auditing
and going back out if need be."
He said the audit department does not report to the president
of e-TecK, but to the chairman of the audit committee of the e-
TecK board. Regarding local content in upcoming projects, Ragbir
said e-TecK has been able to negotiate a 40 per cent local content
stipulation in the project agreement with the Chinese contrac-
"By implementing and negotiating this 40 per cent local content,
we ensure that we have not only development of parks for use
of local and foreign companies, but we have local contractors,
local input, local raw materials as a key ingredient inside of this."
E-Teck negotiates 40% local content with Chinese
From Page 6
A ou - :
o o o o -
Co ( - ) w
o o 2011
u 15- (2012-2027) o
o o u
o o o o o o - -
o o u o - ow
o o ow -
o o o u o o o
u o ."
A 2013, C o o -
o o - u o o o . -
ow o o o ow-
o w o o o o ou ,
- , u / x-
& o o
o u u o o o
x o o o / u
x u o o -
Co C B
o Source: eteck.co.tt
Links Archive July 16th 2014 July 18th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page