Last week’s column focused on stagnation in the tourism sector and the weak marketing of T&T.
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As new Clifton Beach Resort opens Hadeed hopes for more tourist dollars
Stressing on the value of the tourism dollar, Tourism Minister Gerard Hadeed says Government is working towards increasing the level of visitor arrivals to T&T. Hadeed made the comment during the officially opening of the Clifton Hill Beach Resort on Tuesday.
During the event, he lauded the Point Fortin Borough Corporation and TL Investment Limited for developing a state-of-the-art beach resort in the south western peninsular, saying it was a paradigm shift in the hospitality sector. He said such facilities tend to the unique and dynamic experiences that tourists now seek.
The 9,100 square foot facility, located at Guapo Beach, Point Fortin, includes an infinity pool, beach bar, beach pavilion, multi-level sunset lounge with court yard, eating areas, boat house, car park, changing rooms and fine dining at the Fortay Restaurant. Hadeed said he was also interested in building a domestic tourism market to encourage citizens to know and appreciate the various tourism sites throughout the country.
“As we seek to grow and diversify our economy, Government understands the value of the tourism dollar and we continue our efforts to build this industry,” he said. “The tourism industry is one that is expanding worldwide, with every country across the globe going after its share of the tourism pie. The attraction of this industry lies in its enormous potential to generate jobs and foreign exchange, and to engender linkages and benefits to communities across the full spectrum.”
He added, “The tourists of today are looking increasingly for unique and dynamic interactive experiences. Tourists today want to feel and experience cultures, music, food and heritage of the community people. Facilities like this one at Clifton Hill, here in Point Fortin, provide the medium through which such expression of community culture can be encouraged and built upon.”
He said he plans to work closely with the Ministry of Tertiary Education and Skills Training to ensure that hospitality programmes are fashioned to the tourism industry with the required skills and competencies. The project was the brainchild of energy company Atlantic, after the popular Clifton Hill Beach was destroyed by coastal erosion a decade ago. After it’s completion in May 2012, it was handed over the corporation, following which TLIL signed a management lease agreement to operate the facilities.
TLIL also has further plans to construct visitors’ accommodation and a mariner on the site.
Jewel of south west
According to vice president of operations Caroline Ramnarine-Sirju, since 2006, Atlantic had begun to develop Guapo Beach with the aim of enhancing visitors' experience. This included adding infrastructure to protect the shoreline, cleaning up of costal debris, construction of access roads, street lights, car parks and changing facilities.
Sirju-Ramnarine said,“The people of Point Fortin should feel a strong sense of ownership in this facility and should take pride in its status as a crown jewel in the South West peninsular. Since the handover, the corporation has done additional work to enhance the various amenities which you see before you here.
“Now the facility can begin full operations, taking its rightful place in Point Fortin life. It is our hope that this facility will become a safe haven for families, a source for rich and vibrant community life and a destination for sustainable domestic and regional tourism.” TLIL CEO Trevor Lynch revealed that all aspects of the resort were done locally.
“From design, to engineering, to construction, to finish and financing, everything was done locally. What impacted me the most was the amount of local content from Point Fortin. If we try to implement this local content model more it can carry T&T to a different place, because this is a place with a lot of potential,” Lynch said.
Point Fortin mayor Clyde Paul said out of the out of the 165 residents employed during the construction, 55 have were retained to operate the resort. He said the resort would be opening its doors at an opportune time as the Point Fortin Borough Day celebrations kick off next week.