Tourism Minister, Richard Sealy. (FP)

The weekly GOL Airlines arrangement between Barbados and Brazil will be revamped with new emphasis being placed on establishing links with Panama.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, signaled the Government’s intention to strengthen ties with the "Latin American giant," while addressing the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association’s First Quarterly General Meeting.?? It was held recently at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa, Rockley, Christ Church.

Acknowledging that Brazil was the biggest player in Latin America, he reported that the results from the flight had been encouraging, but despite this, he said the entire arrangement must be reviewed. "What we [government] must do is to take a thorough review of the entire arrangement…We are looking at GOL and possibly other airline relationships [with the hope] of getting the link with the Panama City hub.?? This would not only facilitate travel to Brazil, but other cities in Latin America including Panama, which provide legitimate opportunities to source tourists from Barbados," Mr. Sealy explained.

The Tourism Minister said the review would also enhance government’s efforts to pursue other business ventures in Latin America and he hinted at an arrangement being pursued by the Barbados Port Inc., to have Brazilian cruises home porting here.

Mr. Sealy said the flight had its "bright spots" and on occasion, a larger aircraft was used to bring large numbers of passengers to Barbados.??

"We know there are challenges as you would expect with going into any new market particularly one where there are cultural and language difficulties but, there are some possibilities," he acknowledged.?? ????

The Minister of Tourism pointed out that the island had copped the Best New Destination Award from the Brazilian Tour Operators Association and this, coupled with the Brazilians’ lavish spending habits, was evidence that "there is enough for us to extract some encouragement from what has happened and we need to get the best relationship and partners in order to advance what is happening there and use that as a stepping stone to get into the rest of Latin America".


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