Adjustments must be made to improve the financial performance of the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort, which is a major asset of the State in Tobago. .
This was announced by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley on Thursday (March 3). He said Cabinet discussed a Note from State owned-Evolving Technologies and Enterprise Development Company (E-Teck) on the operations of the Resort. Its occupancy has fallen in recent years from over 78 per cent to 60 per cent in 2015 and now to under 50 per cent in 2016.
“It is not doing well and therefore harsh decisions have to be made,” the Prime Minister told reporters at the post Cabinet media briefing at the resort.
He said E-Teck, which is responsible for the Magdalena, gave $1 million in financial support to the hotel in December to cover its operations and another $4 million in capital support for urgent maintenance work.
Dr Rowley said considerations are being given to the establishment of a breakwater to improve the beachfront, which, he and Minister of Finance Colm Imbert visited during the lunch break. Imbert is an engineer..
The Magdalena, like a number of other hotels on the island, is also feeling the effects of the inconsistent airlift service to Tobago, Dr. Rowley noted. He said Tobago is the only n the region that does not have direct international airlift.
“We discussed at length how Caribbean Airlines (CAL) should assist and instead of funding losses, we should fund airlift that is required.”
The Cabinet has therefore decided that the Ministry of Finance, the THA and the Ministry of Tourism must meet urgently to determine how CAL can improve air travel to Tobago..
Rowley believes Tobago can’t maximise on its returns from the Trinidad market simply because travel on the air bridge is not reliable.
The subsidised airfare to Tobago, he added, will be examined as it limits Government’s options in dealing with the issue.
Dr Rowley said the Cabinet also took the decision to modernise the ANR Robinson International Airport terminal as soon as possible, which will boost Tobago’s tourism sector.
He said: “We are going to ensure that the resources are available as soon as we know what is to be done.”
Cabinet also discussed the island’s severe water shortage, Dr. Rowley said. The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) will rigorously explore establishing a desalination plant at the Cove Eco Industrial and Business Park.