Tobago’s Bamboo Walk Hotel at Milford Road became the first in the country to be certified under the Tourism Development Company’s Tourism Inspection Certification Programme, according to THA Tourism and Transportation Secretary Oswald Williams.
Addressing a media briefing following a Tourism Standing Committee meeting at the Blue Haven on Monday (May 9, 2011) the Secretary stressed the need for quality control of service establishments on the island to protect the integrity of the tourism industry. He said since the national launching of the programme last year, additional unregulated guest houses have been set up. Voicing his concern, Williams said by the next two months the Tourism Division will reveal a plan to streamline the registration of unregistered properties.
Williams also revealed that the THA would be seeking to have the award winning Main Ridge Rain Forest declared a UNESCO World Heritage site to further highlight Tobago as a tourism destination. The Main Ridge houses the oldest rain forest in the Western Hemisphere. Also over the years the forest had won prestigious awards including the World Travel Awards’ for the leading eco-tourism destination four times.
Hotel and Tourism Association President Carol Ann Birchwood-James sees this as important to Tobago’s tourism thrust. She said that many destinations use the list as a marketing tool. She added that the marketing campaign to woo visitors from Trinidad for the July/August vacation period would be started shortly, while the campaign to get international visitors’ attention will be done in December and January.
Following his return from the World Travel Market sustainable tourism conference in Bermuda last month, the Secretary had announced that Tobago would be looking to capture the “experiential traveller”. He had said the conference highlighted the notion that people travel to a destination for an experience and not necessarily a product.
So far six other CARICOM member states are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Earlier this month the nomination of Barbados and Jamaica was announced.
UNESCO said in order for a site to qualify it must have “outstanding universal value” and meet at least one of ten criteria.