A tourism expert says this country needs to stay ahead with trends and technology in order to be a leader in business tourism sector.

Rick Taylor, CEO of The Business Tourism Company in South Africa, was speaking at the opening of the Tourism Development Company Ltd’s (TDC) Business Tourism Workshop at the Hilton Trinidad in St Ann’s on Wednesday. The workshop is a project of the newly established Trinidad and Tobago Convention Bureau.

Explaining that trends and technology are key factors in the growing tourism industry, Taylor said: “It is the 21st century. We cannot do the same stuff. We have to go forward and learn new stuff.” He added that the Internet was now the preferred marketing option by many.

Tourism Minister Joseph Ross, who opened the workshop, said the conventions and the meeting incentives market now play a valuable role in our tourism industry.

He said: “The most recent statistics indicate that business arrivals for Trinidad and Tobago account for roughly 20 per cent of all tourism arrivals, making business travellers the third largest segment, preceded only by the leisure travellers and those visiting friends and relatives.”

He said the workshop, which ends today, will provide a comprehensive understanding of the business tourism marketplace, as well as the practical tools in destination management and marketing with which to function in the competitive environment of discretionary business tourism.

TDC president and director Ernest Littles said the training being provided by the workshop will lay the foundation for a vibrant business tourism sector.

“With the Government’s incentive plan for the upgrade of hotel and guest room stock within the islands, Trinidad and Tobago will be ready for the stronger tourism industry that will emerge from these difficult economic times and can guarantee our guests an even more comfortable stay,” Littles said.

The Trinidad and Tobago Convention Bureau is a division within the TDC which focuses on establishing the nation as the meetings and conventions capital of the southern Caribbean. Barely a month in existence, the bureau’s staff is lead by David Constant.