TDC: Hit the beach for holidays
Thursday, July 5 2012
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Beach lime: Scores of people crowd Maracas Beach for a cool down on Ash Wednesday last February. The TDC is getting ready for an influx of visitors to...
Beaches under the care of the Ministry of Tourism and the Tourism Development Company (TDC) should be ready for the influx of visitors for the July/August vacation.
“The first thing we want to do is the actual facilities, making sure they’re up to mark in terms of the security of all of the beaches,” TDC chairman Rajiv Shandilya said yesterday, during a Ministry of Tourism tour of the Maracas Bay, Las Cuevas and Blanchisseuse facilities along the North Coast of Trinidad.
Shandilya said TDC and the Toursim Ministry would find out what the lifeguards need to ensure the facilities are safe for users, with an emphasis on first aid. He said they would make sure the lifeguards have the equipment and training to handle any incidents of trauma that may happen on the beach.
Minister of Tourism, Stephen Cadiz, noted that, at first glance, the Maracas Bay facilities are “loud and brash,” but it should blend into the lush, serene, natural environment of the North Coast Road. “I’m not saying at any time, that the shark and bake, which is Maracas Bay, should not be here, but the way it is done, I think it is something we have to be very mindful of,” he said.
Cadiz noted that there was a master plan for Maracas Bay, but the ministry did not have the funding to implement all of it. Instead, he said, the ministry would begin improvements in phases, starting with simple cosmetic work.
He suggested the ministry begin by re-painting and changing the colours of some of the concrete structures on the beach. He also considered paving the car park and allowing persons to pay parking fees as they leave, instead of on entry, to eliminate traffic pile ups on the roadway.
In addition, the ministry would like to develop a lifeguard facility at Las Cuevas Bay.
According to Cadiz, the tour was one way of getting to know more about his ministry and its responsibilities, as he would like to ensure that everything possible is done to build a high-quality product for visitors and citizens, thereby boosting the tourism sector.
“We have to ensure the product we have is of an international standard. We are competing with hundreds of other countries for the same tourist dollar and there is no way we can compete if our product is sub-standard in any way,” said Cadiz. “I keep saying, tourism is an industry, it’s not a pastime. Tourism employs tens of thousands of people from all different categories. It provides billions of dollars in income for the country, therefore it can not be taken as something that, if it happen it happen, if it don’t happen it don’t happen.”
Cadiz said his aim during his stay in the Ministry of Tourism, would be to build the country’s tourism industry, which would increase its contribution to the country’s GDP and lower unemployment levels.