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The Trinidad Hotels Restaurants and Tourism Association (THRTA) says it “could not agree more” with recent recommendations made by Finance Minister Colm Imbert for a Tourism Task Force.

In response to Imbert, association CEO Brian Frontin said of immediate concern, however, is the Road Map Committee’s continued focus and earmarking of eight sectors to revitalize the economy of T&T, namely agriculture, construction, energy, manufacturing, services, wholesale, retail and distribution, banking and insurance, small business and credit unions.

“Whilst it is plausible that the tourism industry may be subsumed within the services ambit, the THRTA again calls on the government to have courage to identify hospitality and tourism as priority sector and collaborate with the National Tourism Associations to boldly develop a shared vision and aspirational goals,” Frontin said, The Trinidad & Tobago Guardian reported.

He noted that contrary to prevailing beliefs, there is a developed hospitality and tourism sector within both T&T and, as recent as 2019, the combined direct and indirect contribution of the sector to T&T’s gross domestic product (GDP) was $12.5 billion or 7.8% of total GDP.

The hospitality and tourism sector also employed (directly and indirectly) over 52,500 jobs, representing 8.5% of total employment in 2019, Frontin said, citing the World Travel and Tourism Council — Economic Impact 2020 Report (T&T).

Frontin said the minister’s comments on the recommendations of the Road Map Committee for the tourism sector are consistent with those provided by the association to the committee in its May 1 submission.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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