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TDC hosts “Empowering Tourism Entrepreneurs” Symposium

TDC hosts “Empowering Tourism Entrepreneurs” Symposium ( PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad - On Wednesday, November 25, and Friday, November 27, the Tourism Development Company, through the Caribbean Small Tourism Enterprises Project (STEP), hosted the Empowering Tourism Entrepreneurs Symposium.

The symposium, which formed part of Trinidad and Tobago’s activities in celebration of Caribbean Tourism Month, was the first of its kind for tourism operators in the country. It was designed to address a need for small business owners operating in the industry to move beyond viewing their businesses as a means of mere survival to full-fledged commercial enterprises with opportunities for growth and development over the long term within a thriving and increasingly competitive industry.

Speaking at the start of the first symposium, which was hosted at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, Minister of Tourism, the Honorable Shamfa Cudjoe acknowledged the significance of the tourism industry to government’s thrust to pursue diversification and as a driver of economic recovery for the country. Calling on entrepreneurs to be innovative and to recognize their role in the development of the tourism industry, Minister Cudjoe said, “Tourism is the fastest growing industry in the world and the business opportunities are as limited as your imagination.” The Minister also shared her dream to see more citizens move from job seekers and “sideline critics” to employers and movers and shakers within the tourism industry.

The “Empowering Tourism Entrepreneurs” Symposium focused on equipping small and micro tourism operators with the skills necessary to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset while helping them to understand what it takes in invent, design, build, grow and maintain a successful tourism enterprise, with the ability to compete on a global scale. Individuals who adopt an entrepreneurial mindset are often drawn to opportunities, innovation and new value creation.

The program was delivered to more than 100 tourism operators from Trinidad and Tobago, using a mix of lectures and experiential learning exercises and was facilitated by Ms. Candace Brathwaite, Manager of BizBooster, the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business’ business incubator and Mr. Brendon Brathwaite, owner of Buzz Concepts an events management company.

The Tobago leg of the symposium was held in collaboration with the Tobago House of Assembly at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort with Assemblyman Tracy Davidson-Celestine, Secretary of Tourism and Transportation, delivering the feature address.

About STEP

Targeting small tourism operators, STEP presents a comprehensive approach to addressing performance and profitability within the small tourism enterprise sector by offering training and certification in a range of areas including first aid, occupational health and safety, effective front desk techniques, information technology and defensive driving.

Small tourism-related business operators may access information about STEP’s future training initiatives by contacting Belinda Charles, Business Enhancement Facilitation Specialist at href="">

About Trinidad & Tobago

Home to the largest Carnival celebration in the Caribbean, Trinidad & Tobago is the southernmost Caribbean nation located seven miles east off the Venezuelan coast. Ranked the happiest nation in the Caribbean by the United Nations’ World Happiness Report ( ), in 2013 and 2015, the destination’s distinct and harmonious blend of cultures, eclectic cuisine and environmental treasures continue to attract travelers of all ages to its shores. Birthplace of the limbo and the world famous steelpan, the only acoustic instrument invented in the 20th century, as well as a diverse mix of monthly festivals and events ( ), it’s little wonder that Trinidad is known as the ‘cultural capital of the Caribbean.’ Sister island Tobago offers a quintessential Caribbean vibe with secluded beaches, quaint villages, private villas and award-winning eco attractions. Tobago is home to the largest brain coral in the Western Hemisphere and the oldest protected reserve in the Western hemisphere, The Main Ridge Rainforest. Come and explore Trinidad and Tobago - the true Caribbean!

For more information on Trinidad & Tobago, visit or

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PHOTO: The participants, facilitator and officials of the Ministry of Tourism and the TDC. Standing: Participants in the Empowering Tourism Entrepreneurs Symposium. Seated (L-R): Belinda Charles, Business Enhancement Specialist, STEP; Samdai Rampersad, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism; Shamfa Cudjoe, Minister of Tourism; Keith Chin, CEO of the Tourism Development Company; Candace Brathwaite, the symposium’s facilitator.

MEDIA CONTACT: Corporate Communications, Tourism Development Company Limited, Phone: 868.675.7034, E-mail: , Web:

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