Barbados??? tourism industry is set to get a major boost with the new daily JetBlue direct flight between this country and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Additionally, many Barbadians can now access this service to shop and visit family and friends living in south Florida, as the new service offers cheaper flights.

That was the consensus as JetBlue???s Flight 385 left Gate 9 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, bound for the Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados.

It did so amidst the fanfare of steel pan music; instrumentals by saxophonist Elan Trotman; and appearances by the Bajan Forever Crop Over Band based in Miami, Florida, as well as Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders.

During the festivities, Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Management Inc., Alvin Jemmott, pointed out that he was especially pleased to have the new JetBlue service operating out of Fort Lauderdale. According to him, his organisation started a relationship with Jet Blue back in 2009, and, since then, the relationship has experienced phenomenal growth.

???We have doubled, tripled, quadrupled and keep growing. We started out at JFK and we have now moved service from JFK to Boston. We???ve added the mint service out of Boston and here we are in Fort Lauderdale,??? the Chairman explained.

He added that the relationship with Jet Blue contributed to the record breaking arrival numbers of visitors to Barbados over the past year. ???Their airlift to the destination continues to allow us to achieve our strategies in terms of growing business to the destination, and we want to say a big thank you to Jet Blue and our partners in the diaspora,??? Mr. Jemmott remarked.

Chief Executive Officer of Jet Blue, Robin Hayes, who flew to Barbados onboard the inaugural flight, explained that the decision to operate a flight out of Fort Lauderdale had been a long-term dream of his, coupled with numerous requests for such a service. He said that he was ???extremely happy??? to have the service.

Also voicing his pleasure at the new flight route was Vice President of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitor???s Bureau, Carlos Molinet.

He pointed out that with more than 240,000 residents from the Caribbean living in Broward Country, the Greater Fort Lauderdale area continued to have a growing appeal for the Caribbean, not only for its diverse population, but for business travel.

He added that he expected the increased airlift to facilitate an increase in visitor arrivals to Fort Lauderdale for events like the One Caribbean Festival, Caribbean Premier League T20 Cricket and the upcoming 3rd Caribbean Style Week at Westfield Mall in Broward.??

JetBlue???s Flight 385 exited the tarmac after workers at Gate 9 staged a march past holding a large Barbadian flag and a water salute.

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