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Ten ways to love & enjoy your country

Thursday, July 26 2012

I love my country and in this, our 50th year of Independence, I believe there is a lot to celebrate. Trinidad and Tobago achieved Independence on August 31, 1962. How about remembering and celebrating this important milestone by gathering up the children, or a group of friends, and taking a get to know your country tour? To ensure it’s a great tour, I suggest choosing TTTIC-approved activities across both islands. You will not only get to know TT’s history and enjoy our rich and diverse culture, but you will do so safely and confidently.

Now you may be asking yourself, “What is TTTIC?”

TTTIC (pronounced t-tick) means Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Industry Certification. It is a certification programme — run by the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS) in collaboration with the Tourism Development Company (TDC) and Tobago House of Assembly (THA) — which aims at enhancing the tourism industry on our islands. It is the national quality assurance tool for the tourism industry; strengthening our tourism product by ensuring that TTTIC-certified operators provide a high quality service while, at the same time, instilling a sense of confidence in the visitor. The TTTIC mark assures that you, the customer, will be offered a standardised level of service.

TTTIC encompasses all segments of the tourism industry. The programme has certified Tour Guides, Tour Operators and Short-term Motor Vehicle Rentals, Bed and Breakfast and Self Catering facilities, Hotels and Guest Houses, and Tourist Land Transport Service Providers.

The TTTIC Programme offers a cadre of tourism practitioners certified to national tourism standards. These standards have been developed by the TTBS, the national standards and certification body, in conjunction with a wide cross-section of stakeholders. With all of these established standards against which to certify tourism practitioners, one can rest assured that you are in safe hands once they have been TTTIC certified.

Ten Ways to Love Your Country During its 50th Year of Independence

For the parents wondering what to do with their family or the couple who has taken vacation during these two months; here is a list of ten quality assured, TTTIC-approved things to do this holiday period.

1) Get to know your country – Celebrate our 50 years of Independence by taking a tour of the City of Port-of-Spain and finding out about the history of the capital. You can also visit the Eric Williams Memorial Collection which is housed in the library of the University of the West Indies, St Augustine campus. There you will find displays of a collection organised around Dr Eric Eustace Williams — historian, educator and the first Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago. What better way to celebrate Independence Day than making this collection part of your tour and learning a little more about the man who helped make it happen.

2) Visit the Asa Wright Nature Centre - Established in 1967 to protect and preserve part of the Arima Valley, the Centre is globally renowned in ornithologist and birdwatching circles. Guided walks with professional naturalist guides are conducted daily. A special attraction on the property is a breeding colony of the nocturnal Oilbird or Guacharo (Steatornis caripensis). Located in Dunston Cave, a beautiful riparian grotto, it is perhaps the most easily accessible colony of this remarkable species. In order to see this spectacular bird, one would have to overnight at the Asa Wright Centre, which provides TTTIC-approved accommodation.

3) Soak in the sulphur springs at the La Brea Pitch Lake — The world’s largest commercial deposit of natural asphalt can be found right here in Trinidad. You are more than invited to go soak in the natural sulphur pools (best enjoyed during the rainy season), view beautiful birds and be in awe of this natural spectacle. Be sure to take this tour with an official and certified tour guide, as certain parts of the Pitch Lake are too soft to tread on. Tour guides who are also TTTIC-certified can be easily identified by their red or orange t-shirts and badges and can be found at the Visitor Facility.

4) Boat it across to Sweet Tobago — Arrange a one day or weekend trip to Tobago with one of our TTTIC-certified tour operators. Be sure to ask them to include a visit to Buccoo Reef when you book your tour package. Making your arrangements through a certified tour operator assures you that down to the last detail has been taken into account and you are in secure hands – from travel arrangements and accommodation to professional, educated guides to take you around the sister isle. Just remember to look for your TTTIC-approved guides in Tobago as well, as there are several of them who have been certified.

5) Take a Hike — For the nature loving enthusiast, take a hike to Edith Falls or Covigne River in Chaguaramas or any other part of the country. Just ensure you go with certified tour guides who are familiar with the trails and possess the necessary safety equipment to take you out on these hikes. Ask to see their TTTIC badge, which is to be worn while on duty.

6) Escape to Chaguaramas —With the unveiling of the new family friendly boardwalk, beaches to bathe in, and tours to take to the Gasparee Caves — Chaguaramas is a hub for family activity and a trip down to the western peninsula is simply a must.

7) Rest and Relax Right Here At Home — Both Trinidad and Tobago can boast of beautiful properties offering accommodation and various amenities. This vacation period, look out for the TDC’s “Stay to Get Away” promotion. See which TTTIC-approved properties are listed at competitive rates, making it easier for you to stay in lovely TnT and get some well-deserved rest and relaxation while having your every request attended to.

8) Ride a wave — Visit one of our many beautiful beaches and make a family and friends trip out of it. Just ensure that it’s a beach with a lifeguard present, especially for those who have small children with them.

9) Take a drive cross country — Hire a tourist taxi to go on your own planned tour of sites across TT. Look for their TTTIC decal prominently displayed on the left side of the vehicle. By selecting a TTTIC-approved driver, you are assured that the vehicles are covered by insurance and are roadworthy. Remember to walk with your road map of Trinidad and Tobago, chart your course, and enjoy the various sites along the Northern, Western, Eastern, Central and Sothern parts of TT.

10) Dine in style — For an unexpected change to the norm, take your family to one of our larger, well-established, TTTIC-approved hotels to dine for lunch or dinner. I am sure they will have some 50th year of Independence specials for you to enjoy. You can even have a tea afternoon or brunch and make it into a little family reunion, while experiencing cuisine like no other, Caribbean style.

Rest assured, you do not have to board a plane and visit another country to be considered a tourist. You can be a tourist right here and partake of Trinidad and Tobago’s rich and diverse culture and learn more about our multifaceted and dynamic people through the sites, food and tours offered.

For more information on the TTBS’s tourism industry programmes and standards, please contact:

Candice Campbell - Candice.Campbell@ttbs.org.tt 662-8827 (Ext 168).

Certification Division – certification@ttbs.org.tt 662-8827 (Ext 169/165).

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