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UWI Economist says Tobago needs Sandals

The trinidad Guardian / The proposed Sandals Resort for Tobago will help promote Tobago as an international tourism destination said Dr Anthony Birchwood, University of the West Indies (UWI) lecturer.

“Sandals Resort is important as a marketing tool for Tobago. We need large international brands in Tobago.”

Birchwood spoke on Thursday night at a post budget forum at the UWI Campus in St Augustine.

Dr Marlene Attzs, another economist who also spoke at the forum said she has her “reservations” about the Sandals Resort but did say if the authorities go ahead with it, there could be potential benefits.

“If they go ahead with the Sandals Resort, it can be linked to the agriculture sector. There are opportunities for linkages.”

Birchwood also expressed his dissatisfaction with how Tobago was treated in the budget.

“I do not think that the budget gave Tobago justice in how it addressed Tobago.”

He also complained that unlike Trinidad, Tobago does not have a world class port.

“You all have three international ports in Trinidad, we do not have one in Tobago. That is terrible. We want to develop our industrial estates but no international ports. Therefore, the Cove Industrial Estate is falling by the wayside. If Tobago can develop these things they can add to the diversification of T&T.”

He called the ANR Robinson Airport “dilapidated.”

“There are a few visiting airlines. But really we still do not have a large catchments of international airlines. We have a big Piarco Airport but Tobago has a little airport. It was described as a cowshed. We still do not have a true international airport.”

He said there is a private sector in Tobago that is working hard but it is “ignored.”

“Everyone thinks that employment in Tobago is through the Government but the truth is we have a private sector that is growing. People think Tobago is only about tourism. Tobago is a growing economy”

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