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Carnival occupancy high but annual rate declining

HOTELIERS in Port of Spain are reporting high occupancy for Carnival but the annual overall decline has some small operators considering closing down, reported Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Association (THRTA) CEO Brian Frontin.

The THRTA, in a release, said hotel-room occupancy for Carnival 2019 for member properties in Port of Spain was 100 per cent for larger properties (100 rooms and over) while most independent smaller properties were between 85 and 100 per cent.

For annual occupancy, however, THRTA said the Smith Travel Report showed the 2,500 hotel and guest-house rooms within Destination Trinidad (mainly Port of Spain) on an annual average basis were operating at 58.9 per cent occupancy, a reduction from the 2017 level of 60.1 per cent. The feedback from smaller hotels and guest-house owners was that they are operating at even lower-than-average levels (between 35 and 45 per cent).

International arrivals from 2014 to 2018.

It said, "The THRTA therefore challenges Tourism Trinidad Ltd (TTL) and the Ministry of Tourism to move swiftly towards resuming the promotion and marketing of Destination Trinidad which has been non-existent over the past two years, through direct engagement and collaboration with national tourism stakeholders and the funding of the allocations already provided for these programmes in the National Budget 2018/2019."

Frontin, in a phone interview, said TT was losing international arrivals because Trinidad is not being promoted and this has negatively affected Carnival arrivals as well.

He said some smaller properties were considering closing after Carnival because there is not enough business to stay open.

He placed the blame squarely on the Government for the lack of drive and will in marketing Destination Trinidad, but said there was cautious optimism since the appointment of TTL CEO Camille Campbell in January.

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