Port of Spain hotels reporting 100% occupancy rates for Carnival 2020

The Tourism Ministry is reporting that Carnival 2020 is set to be a success, as the more prominent hotels in the capital city, Port of Spain, have been sold out.

The news was revealed at a recent forum for hoteliers hosted by the Ministry of Tourism, and hosted by the minister, Randall Mitchell, and the chairman (Howard Chin Lee) and the CEO (Heidi Alert) of Tourism Trinidad Limited (TTL), during which stakeholders shared their concerns about challenges within Trinidad’s accommodation sector.

At the meeting on 22 January 2020, which is a first in a series of hotel fora, and which included some of the major hotels in Trinidad, it was noted that hotels within the Port of Spain and surrounding environs presently are witnessing a 100 percent occupancy rate for Carnival 2020.

Stakeholders reported that some accommodation properties were completely sold out since June 2019. They also indicated that guests already have begun to make bookings for Carnival 2021.

According to an official statement from the Tourism Ministry, this year’s January and Carnival season is even better than in 2019, as there have been very few booking cancellations.

There was strong widespread commitment from the hoteliers to work with Government in collaborating to drive the growth of visitor arrivals in the off-peak months, especially for hotel properties outside of the capital city who have been impacted by the changes in the oil and gas sector.

The hoteliers urged Tourism Trinidad to proactively bid to host conferences and have a stronger marketing presence in world renowned conferences and other business shows such as IMEX in Las Vegas. Moreover, stakeholders called for more effort on maximising the potential of sports tourism in Trinidad, especially for winter team training, given the high-quality facilities at the Aquatic Center and Cycling Velodrome, as well as the country’s reputation for hosting and managing successful regional and international events.

The ministry says this high-level engagement with prominent hotels in Trinidad came at a time when the island has enjoyed a 3.3% increase in arrivals in 2019 in comparison to 2018; this, after three (3) consecutive years of decline (2016, 2017 and 2018).

According to Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell, arrivals increased in every month in 2019 except for January, with the largest increase occurring in the month of October 2019 (more than 15%). The minister also reported a total of 367,119 visitors to Trinidad in 2019; an absolute increase of 11,588 tourists.

“While we celebrate these small wins, we must now look forward to building on these achievements in 2020,” the minister observed, “as we continue to work with our valued industry partners and stakeholders, to further develop and enhance Trinidad’s tourism product.”

Minister Randall Mitchell and Howard Chin Lee, TTL’s Chairman, also used the opportunity to inform the gathering of government’s actions moving forward with regards to the industry.

Among the other matters discussed at this hoteliers’ engagement were the implementation of Destination Trinidad’s brand identity; digital marketing initiatives; improved visitor safety and security programs; increased scrutiny of the Airbnb market in Trinidad; and activation of a compulsory certification program for the tourism industry.

Representatives at the Hotel Forum included the Executive Management of some of the largest hotels in Trinidad:

• Chief Executive Officer and Group Chief Financial Officer of the Radisson Hotel, Mr. Ashram Ramnarine

• Managing Director of Kapok Hotel, Ms. Jane Chan

• Director Sales and Marketing of Hilton Trinidad, Ms. Darlene Mc Donald

• Director Sales at Marriott Hotel, Ms. Liselle Ali Boodhan

• Director Sales at Hyatt Regency Trinidad, Ms. Marissa Diaz

• General Manager of Normandie Hotel, Mr. Raymond Chin Lee; and

• General Manager of Cara Suites, Mr. Hassel Thom

The tourism minister also recently had talks with Mr. Richard Westell, General Manager of Hyatt Regency Trinidad, at the hotel itself.

Story by NEWS DESK