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Are you ready for the greatest show on earth?

Thursday, January 31 2013

A guide to making an informed decision on your tourism related services this season.

CARNIVAL two weeks away and by now you’ve completed paying for your costume., you have a jammed packed itinerary of fetes to hit in the week leading up to the greatest show on earth, and you’re trying to figure out how you are going to do it all and still reach to work the morning after.

For those who live far away from the entertainment mecca, you would have probably looked for accommodation in and around the environs of Carnival central. Mind you, this is something you should have planned for since last year as, by now, most of them are booked solid by our international friends. But for you, and also my fellow countrymen who are not into Carnival and looking for a getaway place during the period to rest and relax, here is some advice for finding the right accommodation.

You select accommodation based on your needs. Whether you are looking for somewhere to just rest your head and take a shower, prefer a place with ambience, or require comfort and all the additional amenities — you have to determine what your needs, budget and wants are and make a choice accordingly.

The challenge that exists for most is finding the necessary information easily in order to make an informed decision on where to stay that would suit your pocket and your needs. According to the World Trade Organisation, tourism and travel-related services include services provided by hotels and restaurants (including catering), travel agencies and tour operator services, tourist guide services and other related services.

Internationally, tourism is a huge revenue and job generator and also hugely competitive. Tourism providers therefore have to pay attention to, and be able to answer questions about, quality and standards relating to the levels of service offered. With this in mind, Trinidad and Tobago has taken the initiative in developing innovative and certifiable programmes aimed at enhancing the visitor experience through the implementation of national quality standards. A fundamental initiative in the drive to offer visitors a high quality experience is the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Industry Certification programme (TTTIC). The programme is designed to ensure that tourism operators and service providers conform to national standards of quality in all their operations. It is administered by the Tourism Development Company (TDC), the Division of Tourism and Transportation of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), and the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS). TTBS is responsible for conducting independent third party audits and provides certification to successful applicants.

TTTIC-certified establishments and tourism service providers must pass annual assessments showing that they meet high standards of product quality and service.

For more than five years, and with the staunch support of all its stakeholders, the TTTIC programme has reinforced Trinidad and Tobago’s image as a destination offering quality tourism services and products. TTTIC-certified tourism operators receive a specially designed TTTIC certificate for accommodation providers and tour operators, and decal or ID badge for land tourist taxis and tour guides, which they can proudly display after achieving certification or show to visitors when asked by the informed consumer.

The TTTIC symbol is a quality assurance mark which gives visitors the guarantee that certified tourism personnel meet all relevant legal requirements, are qualified, well-trained, and have effective health and safety systems in place.

With all this said, you may be asking yourself how or where do I go to find out who are the TTTIC-certified practitioners? The TDC has made it very easy and compiled a directory with a listing of the following certified tourism practitioners in Trinidad and Tobago:

• Accommodation Providers- Hotels, Guesthouses, Bed and Breakfast and Self-Catering Facilities

• Tour Operators

• Tour Guides

• Tourist Land Transport Service Providers

The TTTIC directory makes it easy for you, the consumer, to find and make an informed decision with respect to visitor accommodation to suit your budget, tourist taxis, certified tour operators, and experienced and knowledgeable tour guides that you can trust. For example, when choosing an accommodation provider, you can see the type of accommodation available based on regions, contact information, location, room capacity, price per night and amenities offered — all within one directory or online. The TTTIC directory also provides information about major towns/villages, places of interest, popular shopping areas, attractions and activities to engage in while staying in Trinidad and Tobago.

If you require further information on TTTIC-certified tourism operators you can contact the Standards Information Centre (SIC) at the TTBS where you can collect your free copy of the TTTIC directory. It is also available at the Tourism Development Company (TDC).

For an online version of the directory you can visit ttp://gotrinidadandtobago.com/system/creatives/650/original/TTTIC_Directory_2012_Web_2.pdf

For further information, please contact:

Candice Campbell

Standards Officer I

Certification Division

Email: candice.campbell@ttbs.org.tt

Tel: 662-8827 (Ext 168)



Certification Division

Email: certifcation@ttbs.org.tt

Tel: 662-8827 (Exts 169/165)

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