PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — The government of Trinidad and Tobago has announced an extension and expansion of the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Accommodation Upgrade Project (TAUP) for a period of three years from October 01, 2020, to September 30, 2023.
This tourism incentive was developed to assist Trinidad and Tobago’s tourism accommodation property owners/operators to upgrade their facilities to a first-class level that is expected to meet and/or exceed the Trinidad and Tobago standard requirements for tourist accommodation. The resulting improvement in room stock quality is expected to enhance the overall competitiveness of the destination’s tourism product.
TAUP provides a reimbursement incentive for the upgrade of Trinidad and Tobago’s small to medium-sized tourism accommodation facilities. The project evolved in 2014 from providing an incentive for the upgrade of guestrooms only for properties with less than 100 rooms to providing an incentive for the upgrade of the interior or exterior of the property for accommodation facilities with 1 to 150 rooms.
Under the new TAUP program, eligible upgrade work has been specifically extended to include a focus on initiatives that enhance environmental sustainability and property attributes such as:
- Upgrade work aimed at promoting environmentally friendly practices, reducing the carbon footprint, and achieving sustainability.
- Perimeter fencing/walls, drainage, and sewerage.
In further explaining the evolution of the TAUP initiative, Heidi Alert, acting chief executive officer of Tourism Trinidad Limited, said: “Even while we prioritise the health and safety of the nation, it is important to prepare for the future. It is also a time for innovation and adapting to future demands of travellers. It is hoped that by providing these type of investment incentives, accommodation providers will be encouraged to improve the overall product and even repackage their services to make it more attractive in this COVID-19 era and beyond”.
The incentives under the TAUP are administered in two categories:
- Upgrade of small approved tourism properties in Trinidad and Tobago (Properties with 1-5 guestrooms): Eligible properties can receive a 40 percent reimbursement of expenditure per room up to a maximum reimbursement of $25,000.00 per room in Trinidad, with a maximum of $150,000.00 per property, for upgrade works to the interior or exterior of the property.
- Trinidad and Tobago Hotel and Guesthouse Room Stock Upgrade Program (Properties with 6-150 guestrooms): Eligible properties can receive a 50 percent reimbursement of expenditure per room up to a maximum reimbursement of $25,000.00 per room in Trinidad, with a maximum of $1,500,000.00 per property, for upgrade works to the interior or exterior of the property.
Tourism Trinidad continues to work closely with Trinidad’s stakeholders in the development of innovative programs to provide the necessary support to our tourism partners and restore industry vigour and growth within the shortest possible time. Tourism Trinidad has been supportive of the industry; implementing many initiatives to further improve the sector’s competitiveness. In collaboration with InvesTT, we are in the process of creating an inventory of sites in Trinidad which has the potential to be used for the development of private sector tourism projects.
The aim of these sites [inventory] is to bolster growth and diversify the tourism sector; encouraging the private sector to invest more efficiently in innovative tourism products and experiences. We are focusing on possible investment sites for business hotels, resort hotels, conference centres, theme parks, cultural centres, eco-lodges, nature resorts, or any other similar facility for use in the development and advancement of our tourism sector.
In September, the organisation started the roll-out of its industry capacity building activities on certification for COVID-19 health and safety. The capacity-building training is part of the many initiatives Tourism Trinidad is implementing to further develop globally competitive tourism businesses.
In conjunction with these initiatives, Tourism Trinidad has joined with over 25 tourism operators, including hoteliers, in a “Sweet Sweet Trinidad” Staycation program that will run until December 2020 to revive the local tourism industry and provide revenues for tourism entrepreneurs upon relaxation of stay at home measures.