Independent Senator John Watson has suggested that Ilaro Court, the official residence of the Prime Minister, could be considered for conversion into a hotel to complement the nearby Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
Speaking during debate in the Senate yesterday, Watson said: “I don’t believe that we want to get rid of Ilaro Court but I believe that sometimes progress causes certain things to happen and relocations are not unusual, so that is a clear possibility.”
Watson, a small businessman, said persons who attend conferences would understand the convenience of having a hotel near to the convention centre.
“We may want to look at the surrounding areas and which areas can be purchased, so that we can have a Lloyd Erskine Sandiford hotel which would complement the convention centre,” Watson said.
“I think that one of the next goals of the convention centre would be to find a way of building a hotel close by and when I say close by, I mean in the immediate environs of the convention centre.
Another goal of the convention
centre, he said, was the need for a more aggressive marketing push to attract more business.
“The management at the conference centre must go past the idea of just managing a facility but they must get to the point now where they are actually going out and finding work for the convention centre.
“[This] usually forms part of the tourism promotion teams but I have a feeling that they should be more aggressive in finding conferences, so that they themselves could become viable without getting any grants from Government,” Watson explained.