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Thread: Tobago: Residents fret over tourism expansion

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    Registered User trinisoul's Avatar trinisoul is offline
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    Tobago: Residents fret over tourism expansion

    Tobago: Residents fret over tourism expansion
    Thursday, February 27, 2003 Posted: 9:05 AM EST (1405 GMT)

    CROWN POINT, Tobago (AP) -- The winding roads of Tobago still cross unfenced fields where goats graze, and run along white-sand beaches unspoiled by the hordes of tourists invading other islands.

    The charm for many visitors is that Tobago has few large resorts and still feels isolated. If all-inclusive hotels were to start popping up along the beaches, it would ruin the island's atmosphere, said Alison Booth, a 42-year-old visitor from Cambridge, England.

    "We wouldn't come here then," she said after a session of windsurfing off one of the Caribbean island's beaches.

    Trinidad and Tobago's government is seeking to expand tourism to decrease the country's reliance on its oil and gas reserves, but many say the task is a balancing act: Develop the island too much and it loses its appeal.

    For travelers seeking wilderness, Tobago has waterfalls and rain forests unlike few places in the Caribbean.

    Some say the island of 55,000 people is the land of Robinson Crusoe, the famed shipwreck survivor in Daniel Defoe's 18th-century novel. There is a cave here named for Crusoe. Along beaches set against turquoise seas, small shacks sell curried crab and shark sandwiches.

    But some officials and developers see a potential to draw more money from tourism. Over the next three years, the government plans to spend $51 million on marketing and incentives to airlines to attract more tourists.

    The spending is being coupled with a $15 million expansion of Tobago's Crown Point International Airport to prepare it for more arrivals.

    In May, the airline Virgin Atlantic plans to begin flights to the island from London, joining British Airways and several smaller regional airlines that already serve Tobago.

    Environmental concerns
    Government officials say they want to be careful to avoid overdevelopment. They are under pressure from environmentalists and residents who don't want to see too many hotels and condos.


    Swimmers jump off a landing near Pigeon Point.
    The pressure for development already is generating tension. A company that owns land along the popular beach at Pigeon Point wants to restrict access for fishermen and has sued to evict vendors. Some residents say they're worried plans could be underway there for a new resort.

    Two years ago, a 200-room Hilton resort opened, complete with additional villas and a golf course.

    Environmentalists protested its opening, fearing sewage and runoff from the golf course would damage coral reefs. The hotel's general manager, Ali Khan, said the Hilton was designed to cause as little environmental damage as possible and that future development could be similarly planned.

    The government hopes to attract one more big-name resort but is not aiming for an influx, said Neil Wilson, Tobago's tourism secretary.

    He and other officials see tourism as one of the best ways to help the economy on the island, where about 12 percent are unemployed and poor villages dot its mountain jungles.

    Tobago is historically poorer than larger Trinidad, and is a five-to-six-hour ferry ride away from the national capital of Port-of-Spain.

    Tobago recorded fewer than 60,000 visitors last year, and tourism officials say it's not likely to grow as crowded as nearby Barbados, which hosts some 500,000 tourists a year.

    Too many hotels like the Hilton could take away from Tobago's uniqueness, said Gervais Alkins, an environmentalist who lives on the island. "We could do so much better."

    Tobago is a well-known spot for seeing nesting sea turtles, and for birdwatchers the cocrico tropical pheasant is a favorite.

    Some of the island's coral reefs have been damaged by having snorkelers and divers walk on them and touch them.

    But off Speyside in eastern Tobago, divers can see what is said to be one of the largest recorded brain corals. It rises 12 feet from the bottom and is about 16 feet in diameter.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    http://www.cnn.com/2003/TRAVEL/DESTI....ap/index.html

  2. #2
    ....jus chillin.... Trini4life's Avatar Trini4life is offline
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    Shouldn't they be happy??

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    Shitsuren Kyuka RenzePenze's Avatar RenzePenze is offline
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    Not when it may infringe on life as we know it. Tourism is not always a good thing. That's why it's hard for us to really know what is good choice or not. It will bring with it jobs and opportunities but at teh risk of loosing the tranqulity and damage of our natural resources (which has already begun with the little tourism we have). I really don't want to me driving down to store bay and seeing a hotel on every lot of land. No more cows and bush. I really don't want to have to go to store bay in the day and have to fight for a spot 24/7 and a lot of tobagonians really don't want the pace of the lifestyle to get too fast.

    Does it necessarily mean a good thing for tobagonians???? Plenty foreign investors/businesses bring in their own money/people/resources and take their profits out of the country. So without proper regulations there may be NO upside to this.

    It's really a hard decision. Economically the advantage is tremendous. But giving a yard and some people taking an acre is a possibility and we don't want to loose what tobago really is.
    The saint and the sinner are just exchanging notes. Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.

    The matador wins by avoiding the bull not colliding with him!

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