Statement of the Problem
Tourism plays a major role in the growth and development of Trinidad. Many initiatives have been put in place to expand the industry. The government of Trinidad is committed to establishing and implementing standards of development and maintenance for the tourism industry. They try to maintain all the tourist attractions such as beaches and museums. The government also tries to expand the tourism sector by different marketing schemes and promotions. This serves to inform persons in different parts of the world interested in visiting the country. The number of tourists visiting Trinidad has increased over the research period, 2002-2007.
Statistical evidence gathered by the Tourism Development Board of Trinidad illustrated that over the research period of 2002-2007 the number of tourist coming to Trinidad varied from year to year. During the years 2002-2005, the total number of visitors arriving in Trinidad increased from approximately 390,000 to 460,000. The total number of tourists visiting Trinidad over this period rose by 70,000. In 2005 tourist arrivals hit its pinnacle. The total number of tourists visiting Trinidad in this year equalled 455,000. In 2006-2007, visitor arrivals fell from 455,000 to 445,000. Thus, the number of visitors fell by 10,000 over the last two year period.
Even though there was a decline in visitors in the last two years, there was still an overall increase in tourists to Trinidad over the research period. Tourism in Trinidad has both positive and negative effects on the economy and the wider society. Some of the positive effects of tourism include: providing entrepreneurial opportunities, allowing rural communities to share in the benefits of sustainable development, providing social stability and generating foreign currency. The negative effects include: criminal activity, poor infrastructure, poor customer service in different businesses and environmental degradation.
Purpose of Research
The purpose of this research paper is to illustrate the impact, growth and development of tourism has on the economy of Trinidad. It also seeks to demonstrate the revenue potential of the tourism sector, given that the oil and gas industries are the main source of revenue for Trinidad. Tourism has great revenue potential, but requires strategic plans to make it one of the main sources of revenue for the country. The government can undertake different initiatives to improve tourism in Trinidad. These initiatives, if properly implemented can positively influence many aspects of our society namely, generating employment opportunities, bringing in foreign currency and helping preserve the environment.
Tourism is not considered a main revenue earner for our nation. Trinidad depends mainly on the energy sector in being the main revenue earner for the nation. This research paper explains what the benefits of tourism are and how it can help the country become more economically diverse. Also it gives insight on what can be done to improve all the faults of the sector. This project aims at informing others about hoe the growth and development of tourism can improve our society tremendously.
Glossary of Terms
1.Tourism – travel for recreational, leisure and business purposes. 2.GDP( Gross Domestic Product) – refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period 3.Degradation – a decline to a lower condition, quality or level. 4.Infrastructure – the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function. 5.Economic Diversity – when a country has income from many different sources that are not directly related to each other.
Three research articles were reviewed to obtain background knowledge on the growth and development of tourism. These three articles were written by the Ministry of Tourism, Trinidad Development Company and TIDCO. These articles seek to explore what has already been done and can be further done to improve the tourism industry. In 2002, the Ministry of Tourism conducted a research exercise aimed at developing new ideas to enhance the growth and development of tourism in Trinidad. This research agenda was related directly to Trinidad’s economic diversification policy, which seeks to develop non energy industries such as the tourist sector. With this aim in mind, the Ministry of Tourism initiated a development strategy which concluded that, attracting tourists involved understanding and thoroughly identifying the possible tourist attractions that can be commercialised into tourist destinations.
The Ministry also contended that, Trinidad’s tourism sector had great revenue potential, but required focused marketing and business development strategies comparable to Barbados and Jamaica. Based on these conclusions, they recommended four factors that can be employed to improve growth and development of t he tourist industry. These four factors included, improving business development, highlighting the positive cultural features of Trinidad, promoting genuine hospitality and using effective marketing tools. In 2005, the Tourism Development Company, after conducting a research agenda, realised that tourism in Trinidad was lagging behind the rest of the region.
They believed that poor advertising campaigns and neglecting the mainstream tourism market were the main factors responsible for the lack of growth and improvement of the tourist sector. The Tourism Company also held similar views to the Ministry of Tourism. They contended that utilising appropriate marketing and business development strategies were the best tools that could be employed to enhance overall economic growth and development.
In 2007, TIDCO published an article illustrating the underestimated potential of the tourism industry as a possible source of revenue for the country. They used statistical evidence to highlight our current financial reliance on the oil and gas sector, an also illustrated the overall decline in revenue stemming from this sector since 2002. As such, they recommended polices centred around economic diversification, which focused on non energy industries such as tourism and entertainment. They contended that economic diversification policies would ensure sustainable development and financial assurance for the future.
Presentation of Findings
Figure 1 illustrates the responses to question 4 – During what time of the year do you think tourism is at its peak?
•The diagram above illustrates the time of the year responders of the questionnaire believed that tourism is at its peak. •(100%) of the responders believe that during the Carnival season, tourism is at its peak.
Figure 2 shows responses to question 12 – What are the positive effects of tourism?
•The pie-chart above shows the positive effects of tourism, income for the local economy (62%), demand for local goods (19%), other (14%) and jobs for locals being the lowest at 5%. Figure 3 illustrates responses to question 19 – What do you think the government can do to encourage the growth of tourism?
Growth of tourismPercentage
Develop the arts14%
Preserve historical sites10%
Market campaigns for cultural sites43%
All of the above33%
•The table above shows what can be done to encourage tourism, develop the arts (14%), preserve historical sites (10%), market campaigns for cultural sites (43%).
Interpretation of Findings
It is seen from the responses from the questionnaire that ninety percent of the respondents lamented that cultural tourism represents Trinidad’s greatest revenue earner. Many of the respondents believed that this type of tourism can improve the overall growth and development of Trinidad’s economy. An example of cultural tourism is Carnival. Approximately one hundred percent of the respondents contended that the carnival season in Trinidad was the time of the year when tourism was at its peak.
The Carnival season in Trinidad experiences a large influx of visitors, usually during the months of January and February. With this increase in tourists, there are many benefits that the country as a whole experiences these include: increased revenue for the local economy, job creation for the locals and a heighten demand for local food and crafts. Even though the benefits of tourism were widespread, sixty-two percent of the respondents promulgated that increased income for the local economy represented the greatest positive effect of cultural tourism.
Even though cultural tourism in Trinidad is an important contributor to Trinidad’s GDP, many of the respondents believed that a lot can still be done to improve the current state of Trinidad’s cultural tourism industry. Many of the respondents contended that tourism in Trinidad was lagging behind the rest of the region. They felt that there was need for improvement in hotel facilities and infrastructure that targeted tourists. In addition, some of the current guest houses and facilities available lacked a unique level of sophistication and world class status.
Tourism has negative effects on our society. Fifty-two percent of the respondents believed that crime is major reason why tourism is low in our country, if crime levels are high, visitors will refrain from visiting the country. Ten percent claimed that tourism can cause damage to the landscape while thirty-eight percent said that tourism only provides seasonal jobs for locals. This research also revealed that many respondents thought, that tourism’s contribution to the nations GDP was low. Sixty-two percent of the respondents assumed that tourism only contributed zero to forty percent of Trinidad’s GDP.
For tourism to improve in Trinidad, the government has to make plans to develop the sector. The results from the research project conducted illustrated that one hundred percent of the sample did not know what the government’s plans to improve tourism were. Surprisingly, twenty- nine percent claimed that they have seen recent plans commence to improve the industry while seventy-one said they saw no recent plans. This shows that the government does not believe that tourism can become a main revenue earner for the country.
It was seen that tourism in Trinidad is at its peak at Carnival, but that is only for a short period. Tourism needs to be high at all times of year not only for one season. This cannot happen if the government does not start to make tourism a main focus for the economy.
Discussion of Findings
This research indicated that the growth and development of tourism in Trinidad was inexistent. This supported the research conducted by the Tourism Development (2005) who stated that poor advertising campaigns and neglecting the mainstream tourism market were the main factors responsible for the lack of growth and improvement of the tourist sector. This information showed that marketing all the positive aspects of Trinidad can enhance the tourism industry, but by not doing this, the tourism sector will remain in the same stagnant position.
Tourism is said to contribute less than forty percent of Trinidad’s GDP. This confirmed TIDCO’s (2007) article illustrating the underestimated potential of tourism as a possible source of revenue for the country was proven correct. The government cannot only depend on the energy sector to be the main revenue earner for the country; they should instead be seeking to improve the non-energy industries such as tourism and entertainment. The government should be aiming to become a more economically diverse country.
To encourage the growth of tourism in Trinidad, the government can initiate different tactics to enhance the tourism sector.
Conclusion/ Limitations/ Recommendations
The tourism industry in Trinidad is not comparable to the other islands. The industry has been overlooked as a revenue earner for the country. It was shown that the energy sector is the main revenue earner for the country, but if tourism is developed it would make the country a more economically diverse society. In order to diversify the economy, the country must have different sources of income not directly related to each other.
This can be done by developing the tourism sector to its full potential. From the research conducted, many said that they do not know the government’s plans to improve tourism and they have not seen any plans to improve the sector either. The growth and development of tourism depends on utilising proper marketing and development strategies to enhance the industry. The government needs to realise the importance of tourism and consider all the positive effects it will have for the country.
The time and resources available produced some limitations. This research was a small preliminary survey to persons in Port of Spain. This area was chosen because it was easily accessible for the researcher. The responses given would not have been the same for different areas in Trinidad and it would be difficult to generalize about all areas of the country. The reasons given for the lack of growth of development were not thoroughly researched in the study.
To improve tourism in Trinidad, the government should utilise appropriate marketing strategies such as: package tours – tours with quality and lower price, publicize the country – build up an attractive and interesting website, advertisement – radios, television, magazines and posters and encourage internal tourism (Internal tourism is the tourism of visitors, both resident and non-resident, within the economic territory of the country of reference). The government should also improve transport facilities by purchasing modern tour vehicles and modernise roads to tourist attractions. They should also improve accommodation and health services in order to attract tourists. The hotels should train tour guides and hotel workers for efficient communication and good service. The hotels should aim at having world class accommodation as this will encourage the tourist to revisit and recommend to other persons interested in visiting the country in the future.
1. Mohammed, T. (2007). Caribbean Studies for Cape Examinations. Between
Towns Road, Oxford. Macmillan Education.
2.Sookdeo, Kris. (2005, November 22nd). Tourism Matters. Trinidad’s Express.
3.Jack, Jenelle. (2006, October 11th). How T&T can Increase Tourism. Trinidad’s Express.
4.Ragsdale, Ian. (2011, March 31st). Positive and Negative Effects of Tourism. Retrieved February 9th, 2012, from http://www.ehow.com/facts_5244298_positive-negative-effects-tourism.html
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