PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad – IN the wake of the closure of the Tobago Hilton, 200 employees have been put out of work and local Minister of Tourism Joseph Ross has expressed fears over Tobago’s tourism industry.
Yesterday, during a Post-Cabinet news conference held at the Diplomatic Centre in St. Ann’s, Ross noted that the nine-month closure of the Tobago Hilton to facilitate repair work may result in a ‘fall out’ of the local tourism industry.
The closure, compounded by the recent upsurge in crime on tourists such as the brutal killing of Swedish couple Anna Sundsvall and Ake Alsoon, may result in a lessened influx of tourists into the sister isle of Tobago due to rising crime patterns.
However, since then, members of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) have met with the security forces to establish heightened security measures including an immediate increase in police officers, establishment of joint army/police patrols and the addition of a K-9 Unit.
While Ross expressed concern over the availability of hotel rooms for incoming tourists, he also made mention of plans made to heighten cruise ship activity for the upcoming year.
“Some airlines may consider pulling out their service temporarily because there are not enough hotel rooms to which they can bring people”, said Ross while speaking at the press conference.
“So, where they would lose tourists with the Hilton closure they would make up with cruise travelers,” he added.
Ross however remains hopeful for the future, as he noted several investors have expressed interest in the Tobago tourism industry such as the Marriott Resort, which has articulated its intentions to construct a 100-room hotel in Port-of-Spain.