Most Tobago hotels to remain closed in August
CLOSE to 75 per cent of the hotels, guest houses and villas in Tobago are expected to remain closed for the usually bumper August vacation.
Tourism interests on the island say the the closure of most of the accommodations in Tobago is due to the existing state of emergency and curfew restrictions, which are still in force to slow down the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus. Restrictions on the country’s domestic air and sea bridge also continue.
So said Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association vice-president Carol-Ann Birchwood-James who noted that many potential visitors to Tobago from Trinidad have said that the beaches along with various tourist attractions are not open so it makes no sense heading to the island.
“It really does not make economic sense for the hotels, guest houses and villas to remain open when the traffic is going to be very low as on the sea bridge it’s still operating at 50 per cent capacity, while the air bridge is only operating three flights per day.”
Birchwood-James said she agreed with Tobago Business Chamber chairman Martin George that the flights between Trinidad and Tobago should return to full capacity as the country was entering what was traditionally the vacation period for many parents.
“The tourism sector in Tobago is hoping that when the Prime Minister addresses the nation on Saturday during his Covid news conference update, he relaxes some of the measures including the reopening of the beaches so that the hotels can at least earn some kind of money, as July is already gone so that is a lost opportunity, Birchwood-James said.
She lamented to the Express that this second lock down has been very tough on the industry and it is currently limping along as overhead expenses still have to be paid, even though there are no visitors.
“Our biggest problems are utility bills and our workers. So we have no money for operations and we have little or no money to pay salaries.
“We, are like everybody else, are waiting to see what happens on Saturday during the news conference.”
The Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association vice-president said while the borders have been reopened the sector does not expect arrivals from tourists until later this year as many international flights are still not scheduled to fly into the country and Caribbean Airlines is only operating three flights a day.
By: Andrea Perez-Sobers