Twenty-four additional high-end rooms would be added to Tobago’s room stock by the end of this year. The assurance comes as the Tobago House of Assembly has promised to refurbish the Manta Lodge at Speyside. Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly Ancil Dennis made the announcement at this week’s virtual post executive council media briefing.

“We have given the authority to engage UDeCOTT as project manager to begin the renovations of that hotel establishment, we expect that project to be completed by the end of this year.”

He said the renovation and refurbishment costs should be approximately $10 million dollars and there are some “promising options” to manage the hotel, which will not be managed by the Tobago House of Assembly.

Recently, the THA has been under public fire for what many considered to be a waste of public funds after the THA purchased the Manta Lodge and another hotel, Sanctuary Resort which remained idle, while spending additional funds on security and maintenance.

The Manta Lodge, which is a dive resort at Speyside, was purchased on November 19, 2015, at a cost of $8 million. The Sanctuary Resort was acquired in two parts, the first part of the property was acquired November 17, 2015 followed by the second part on August 8, 2016, at a cost of $24 million. Both purchases were made under Tracy Davidson-Celestine who was Tourism Secretary at the time.

According to Dennis, refurbishment work on the Sanctuary resort will be done at a later date.

“Sanctuary is going to be left for the next fiscal year as that project is going to cost a significant sum more to address than Manta Lodge. We are hoping to attract an investor for that facility.”

He said inspite of the recent spate of murders on the island, “Tobago is invested in the tourism business and the THA will continue to, “facilitate the accelerated development of the sector.”

And the Tobago House of Assembly will continue to work with the Ministry of National Security to ensure residents and visitors remain safe.