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Tourism Minister challenges local hoteliers to step up

Published: 
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe is challenging local hoteliers to adopt innovative strategies in order to maintain their relevance in an evolving tourism industry.

"Hoteliers have to now be innovative and strategic in their efforts to become more attractive, competitive, and remain relevant in this dynamic industry." Cudjoe said, addressing the gathering at the launch event for the Brix Hotel in Cascade, Port-Of-Spain yesterday

Formerly known as the Carlton Savannah, the Brix Hotel, which forms part of the Marriott Autograph Collection, is scheduled to open in January 2019.

"The traditional accommodation sector now has to compete with HomeAway, AirBnb, and all the other players in the shared economy." she said, referring to the shifting competitive landscape of the hotel industry.

While referring to the uncertainty in the international economic climate, Cudjoe expressed satisfaction that investors were interested in the local tourism sector.

She said, "Government is focused on attracting in the first instance, major brands that will bring their own advertising, marketing networks and destination profile enhancement."

"It is for this very reason that we welcome the investment of Sandals International Resorts in the island of Tobago and now that of the Marriot Autograph Collection in Trinidad."

John Aboud, chairman of Superior Hotels Limited, which is the local ownership company for Brix Hotel also spoke at the event.

Aboud pointed out that the hotel represented a bold bet on the future of tourism in T&T.

"Our investor group, having recognized the opportunities and call from government for investment in the tourism sector, is boldly going where no local group has gone before"

He added that the transformation of the Carlton Savannah to Brix Hotel would cost roughly $300 million.

He said that the investment groups' other two projects, which included an amusement and waterpark in Chaguaramas, and another hotel to be located at Southpark in San Fernando, taken together would represent "an injection of $1 billion into the economy" while being "100 per cent locally owned"