Highlighting a renewed focus on tourism as a
major player in the economy of Trinidad and Tobago is the official
opening Jan. 15 of the 428-room Hyatt Regency Trinidad in Port of
marketing manager for Trinidad and Tobago, described the new
property as "the lynchpin in the waterfront project in Port of
Spain, being developed in phases."
The government hopes
to position tourism as a key contributor to its Gross Domestic
Product, comprising at least 15% of the country's GDP within a few
Trinidad and Tobago
plan to expand their hotel inventories by 17% over the next 18
months, according to Baptiste. This will include the June opening
of the 120-room Carlton Savannah Hotel and a second, unnamed
109-room property later this year, both near the airport in Port of
Spain, as well as several properties in Tobago.
New airlift to both
islands "has increased our visibility and we need more rooms,"
Baptiste said. Delta launched weekly service between Atlanta and
Tobago on Dec. 15 and increased its nonstop service Dec. 20 between
New York (Kennedy) and Port of Spain to five flights a
In addition, both air
and ferry service between the two islands has increased and
Tobago's Crowne Point Airport currently is being renovated and
"We had a flat year
in 2007 in terms of visitor arrivals, but 2008 already looks very
strong," said Baptiste.
Helping the arrivals
numbers out is the Carnival period, which began its celebrations
this month and runs through Feb. 4. "All our hotels and flights are
full right now, and we anticipate at least 50,000 visitors during
the Carnival period," he added.
In addition, Trinidad
will host its fourth annual Jazz Festival April 25 to 27 as well as
the Caribbean Hotel & Investment Conference May 6 to
contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].