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THRTA boss: Carnival occupancy solid, but sector issues still loom

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Chief executive officer of the Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Association (THRTA) Brian Frontin said from the Port-of-Spain hotels which the association polled, the larger properties reported occupancy rates of between 90 and 100 per cent.

He added that statistic is about the same as 2017 as well as for other years.

Referring to smaller properties, Frontin said owners are signalling that there is still some availability, "because they are trending between 80 and 85 per cent occupancy as of Monday, that is a bit down from prior years."

Frontin's remarks come on the backdrop of T&T experiencing a slow down in its economy and the mounting challenges faced by stakeholders in the Tourism sector.

Highlighting one of the trends which tourism stakeholders are witnessing, Frontin said the length of stay for the Carnival period has been reduced.

Instead of staying for an average of seven days, visitors are requesting shorter time spans.

"In the past we would see some visitors block off 5-7 days, starting Friday to the following Ash Wednesday or even earlier, 7-10 day periods.

"Some hotels are saying they are going to be breaking up the period to allow clients who want shorter stays, 3-4 days. That is not something they would have traditionally done because the demand for longer stays would have been been there, so that demand has reduced somewhat between last year and now."

Frontin said that "destination T&T" is not being promoted properly.

"There has been no marketing of destination T&T at any level for Carnival. In October 2016, the Ministry of Tourism cancelled all overseas marketing representation agencies. These were PR firms hired by the Government to promote T&T either in the US, UK, in Scandanavia, in Europe and all their contracts were cancelled in 2016 and there has been no replacement to date."

Frontin added that on one hand, there has been no agency in T&T doing promotion of the destination since March 2017, while on the other, T&T does not have any external agencies acting on behalf of the Government in the respective markets to promote the country's tourism and Carnival product.

He said tourist would not know about the the country if it was not being properly promoted.


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