September 18, 2020

Too many hurdles for tourism in Trinidad


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lt1181By Joseph Rodrigues From Trinidad Express

It has been almost 30 years since I left Trinidad and even while living in Trinidad and growing up (I left at 26 years old), there was always talk of a tourism push but over time it has not materialised.

This had me thinking and attempting to answer the question, why has tourism not flourished in Trinidad as it has in other islands? To answer this, I reflected on my last visit about two years ago.

It dawned on me that a primary reason why it is difficult for tourism to flourish in Trinidad (not Tobago) has to do with the location of our airport.

This may sound a bit off but looking at Trinidad from the outside, and comparing it to other tourism hotspots, it is clear that if anyone wanted to spend a holiday in Trinidad, they would have to overcome serious difficulty in simply getting around.

Think about it. If I were to view this as a tourist wanting a Caribbean holiday and coming from North America or even Europe,

I would have to dismiss other cheaper Caribbean vacation options like the , Grenada, and Barbados, to name a few.

Then I will have to plan a flight to . Once landed, I have to decide on where to stay, how to get to the beaches etc.

First off, I land at Piarco, then if I am staying in the newer hotels in the northwest of Trinidad near or around Port of Spain, I have to take a taxi from Piarco, by-pass the scary Beetham area to get to my hotel.

When I am ready, I need more transportation to the beaches like Maracas (no small feat). I have to drive over mountains that curve up and down and notice areas where side rails are missing from vehicles that may have crashed into them.

Eventually, I reach the beautiful beach where amenities are not exactly up-to-date.

Think about it. In Trinidad, tourism has a lot to overcome. Hotels are not cheap nor are car rentals. Traffic is difficult. Beaches are not convenient to visit. Crime is high. We are the last stop going south in the Caribbean with many other cheaper and tourist-friendly locations to the north of us.

Trinidad is not advertised widely abroad like Jamaica or St Lucia (more recently).

My point is, there is still a lot to overcome when planning a visit to Trinidad as a non-citizen. Put yourself in the place of a complete stranger looking for a Caribbean vacation and ask yourself: why would you pick Trinidad?

There are better options that share the same beach and sunshine that are simply more convenient and cheaper.

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