GOVERNMENT PUSHING FOR CANADIAN HUB IN BARBADOS

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Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy

Plans are afoot to restore Canada as Barbados’ number one tourist market as was the case in the 1970’s.

To achieve this, Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, has pledged to give the Canadian Government the resources that would assist them in making Barbados the hub for their aircraft.

Mr. Sealy gave this commitment while addressing the welcome reception for the inaugural visit of the Canadian low-cost carrier WestJet Airlines in the Grace Adams Suite, Grantley Adams International Airport last Monday.

Though heartened by the continued growth out of Canada, he lamented that the expansion only represented half of the visitor arrivals that the island had received in 1979.

In light of this, Mr. Sealy reiterated Government’s intentions to woo more Canadian visitors to our shores. “We believe very strongly that we can get back Canada to respectable proportions in terms of the levels of visitors from Canada,” he declared. We are game if WestJet is interested in becoming the regional hub for more of your business. So, we would like to see not only four flights a week but eventually, to have a daily service, and Grantley Adams is already an established hub which would allow us to feed business into other territories.”

Mr. Sealy added that Canada/Barbados relations had spanned more than a century and gave the assurance that Government would continue to explore other business opportunities there.

“We [Government] have ‘upped’ the spending this year by at least 30 percent and we are not finished yet.  Thus, we are doing all that that we can to increase the profit-minded awareness of the destination in Canada so that we can sustain the business.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Authority, Ralph Taylor, said despite the economic crisis the island’s tourism product would benefit from the WestJet service. “This flight could not have come at a better time, given the economic downturn and its effect on tourism.  We know that Canada has been least affected by the global meltdown and the growth of Canadian business, over the last two years, shows that we are moving in the right direction with this WestJet service,” he added.

The Boeing 737 aircraft brought in 131 passengers.  It was flown by Barbadians Captain Desmond Jordan, and first officer Peter Joseph.

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