The Argyle Waterfall in Tobago

East Tobago will receive a major boost as the $350 million Argyle Falls Resort and townhouses is expected to be completed in the next two years.

The 126-townhouse-unit complex is to be located on a spectacular beachfront in Roxborough.

According to the hotel’s website this gorgeous complex features both two and three bedroom units and an opportunity for owners to generate income through partnership with Ascend Hotels.

Townhouses start from US$215,000.

“The Ascend Hotel Collection, a network of historic, boutique and unique hotels that offer guests an authentic, local experience. Member hotels share a passion for delivering attentive service to guests seeking a more experiential, individualised travel experience that gives them a sense of local flavour,” the hotel’s website said.

It noted that Argyle Falls is located 10-minutes from Speyside, 20 minutes from Charlotteville and only 35 minutes from Crown Point International Airport.

The townhouses have an ocean front view looking out over 900 feet of sandy beach with views of Belle Gardens, Queens Island, and Lois D’or.

Along with the townhouses, the development will have a spacious clubhouse, pool complex, and restaurant.

The site also advertised that there will be a homeowner’s association to maintain the grounds and individual townhouse management at the owners request.

“Complete furnishing packages are available to make your townhouse ready for immediate occupation. These packages are designed to cater for various budgets and tastes. Each townhouse will be assigned a private parking space along with the option of a personal plunge pool,” it added.

Local partner Ted Greig who has been in the tourism industry for almost 30 years told the Business Guardian that when one looks at the landscape of Tobago most of the hotel accommodation is situated on the western and south-western part of the island.

He explained that tourism ought not be on one side of an island only.

“Opportunities for people to work in the industry come from all parts of Tobago. We saw the opportunity of putting down a resort such as this which also fits in the environment. It will also open up job opportunities for residents in that part.

“The concept of this design will not be large-scale in terms of the hotel but it will be a major development taking into consideration the villas, townhouse together with the hotel which will give the quantity of rooms and the sleeping space,” Greig said.

He noted a large part of the design is ecofriendly.

Roxborough has been significantly developed in terms of infrastructure most notably by its hospital, police and fire stations.

However, the hotel was long in coming as it was earmarked since in early 2000, since before the coming onstream of the hospital and fire station.

While Greig only said it was “due to unforseen circumstances” which delayed the project, he said the timing was now right.

“Some of the kept backs we had in the past was out of our control. We were not able to proceed in the timeframe we had planned. However, it is happening now and one is flowing into the other,” Greig said.

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Development of further tourism offerings

Tobago’s brand boasts of 100 and one reasons for tourists to visit.

With Argyle Falls Resort many more offerings may be forthcoming.

“We have a lot of birds in the rain forests and we could now start to promote things like bird fairs as there are currently a lot of bird fairs in Europe. This would then offer that kind of accommodation for persons to stay on the eastern part of Tobago,” Greig explained.

Tobago’s eastern side is also ideal for water activities.

Greig said some of the best and most pristine diving and snorkelling sites for instance are on that part of the island, noting that the largest brain coral in the Western Hemisphere is also located in Tobago East.

“Water sports is of course of the things that this accommodation will be looking at providing and this is yet another job avenue for persons in that field,” Greig added.

Argyle Falls Resort will welcome all visitors from all countries. And in doing so this will offer more flight opportunities to come into the destination.

“We will be targeting all markets, not just Europe. We will also look at the UK, North America, the Caribbean and of course the local Trinidadian market. This of course will be complemented with the new airport terminal coming onstream,” Greig said.

He added that Tobago’s tourism sector was definitely on the road to position the island as truly beyond ordinary and become ultimate Caribbean destination of choice.

Hundreds to be employed

Tobago Tourism Agency Ltd chief executive officer Louis Lewis explained that a project of such magnitude will have “layers” of economic activity.

He said this will include critical areas such as construction which will also promote employment of skilled labour.

The project will also open avenues for those in the hospitality sector and also supporting services like financing, Lewis added.

“It will also have a backward linkage to the rest of the economy like the provision of agricultural products. It will definitely have a phenomenal impact on that part of the island where something of that magnitude does not currently exist,” Lewis said.

He said with the over 300 room facility and an expected healthy occupancy level he hopes that local farmers will embrace this opportunity to service the market.

Lewis added it was an ideal time for other entrepreneurs like those in the craft industry to be creative in their offerings and capitalise on the many opportunities.

He also expressed similar sentiments that Tobago will now become even more competitive in its airlift opportunities as the island will now be in a position to negotiate with other airlines.

And although the project is expected to be completed in the next two years COVID-19 safety measures may still be in place.

Lewis said he remains cognisant of this, noting that the world has been changed forever with the pandemic.

“We must take all these elements into consideration as safety remains a priority. We are working with our stakeholders to provide that assurance.

At the end of the day we are into tourism for the economic and social benefit and when you have a property of that magnitude it allows you to gain more benefits and become the nucleus of increased economic activity,” Lewis added.

At the sod-turning ceremony Tobago East representative Ayanna Webster-Roy noted expressed pride that through foreign and local investment, the private sector recognised the potential and the worth Tobago East and its people.