Chief Secretary Farley Augustine announced that the THA would support the project to build a $500 million Marriott-branded hotel in Rocky Point, Tobago.
The first-class hotel and property development, to be undertaken by Superior Hotels TT, was announced in September 2021 during the tenure of the PNM-led THA.
It will be built on approximately 28 acres of land on the west side of Grafton Road and south of Pleasant Prospect. Construction is expected to begin in 2023.
The project includes 200 rooms, 28 duplex residences, 11 single-family villas and 12 fully equipped townhouses. It is expected to provide jobs for 750 people during construction.
In presenting the THA’s $3.97 billion budget to the Legislative Assembly on Thursday, Augustine said he had preliminary discussions about improving Tobago’s rooming stock with two investors, including the one is associated with the development of Rocky Point.
“Collectively, these two investors will result in an injection of approximately $1.5 billion into Tobago’s economy, should they materialize. The two investments are expected to add approximately 850 rooms over the next three years,” he said.
“One such investment is in the delicate Rocky Point Hotel. This project started in the most troubling way, but we are trying to manage this project responsibly for the benefit of our Tobagonians.
told the House when the Progressive Democratic Patriots took office in December 2021, developers of the Rocky Point project said they had had no official conversations with the THA.
“It’s unbelievable that a tourism-related project, a fifth-list item of this magnitude, has been planned for Tobago without input from the leadership of Tobago. They are planning it and a chief secretary just sat down like a moo-moo and applaud.
Augustine said that after learning of these developments, his administration “acted responsibly” and invited the directors to Tobago to tour the country and meet with stakeholders. He said they intended “to monitor and work closely with the developers to ensure that any concerns raised are addressed to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.”
The THA is awaiting final designs and plans “commensurate with these concerns.”
He said the construction phase of the two investments will provide about 1,050 jobs for young Tobagonians and about 425 full-time jobs upon commissioning and full operations.
He said Tobago needs 5,000 premium rooms to build a viable tourism sector, and the current shortfall is around 2,500 rooms.
Augustine also announced that the THA was pursuing divestment options with respect to the “troublesome” Manta Lodge and Sanctuary resorts, which the PNM purchased in 2014 “and continue to attract millions of dollars in spending each year.”
He also said that the THA would pay the bill for its air transport support resources to ensure that ANR Robinson Airport remains open for longer hours to accommodate more Caribbean Airlines flights between Trinidad and Tobago, as the 12 CAL’s current daily flights to Tobago have not resulted in significant bookings. on the island.
“Tobago is service-oriented and tourism-oriented. For an economy like ours to be dynamic, it will require predictable, sufficient and reliable air and maritime transport.
“When I last checked (Wednesday) last night, CAL’s current offerings of 12 daily flights are sold out until after the Tobago Carnival in October and even beyond. .”
He said he was told it was too expensive to keep the airport open until 1:30 a.m.
“In other words, it’s too expensive to keep Tobago airport open until 1:30 a.m., while Trinidad airport is open 24 hours a day.”
Augustine said he checked with the airport authority and found it would cost $16,800 to keep the airport open until 2 a.m. every day.
“Someone in the central government thinks it’s too expensive to pay $16,800 a day to keep Tobago’s airport open for this economy to start up again. Madam Chair (Abby Taylor), we are offering to foot the bill for our airlift support resources to keep Tobago Airport open until 1:30 a.m..”
Stating that air and seaports were part of the fifth list, Augustin said, “It is a clear signal from this administration that we not only want autonomy, but that we are ready to take responsibility.
“CAL will have no more excuses. The movement of CALs between the two islands is an essential service, and it is the duty of the central government to support such an operation.
“Therefore, I use this platform to say to CAL: please come back to full capacity.”