Discussions have begun with airlines to establish direct air links between Accra, Ghana, and Bridgetown, Barbados.
Word of this has come from Head of Global Markets of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., (BTMI) Petra Roach, who spoke to the media during a tree planting exercise with a visiting delegation from the Ghana Tourism Authority, held at the National Botanical Garden, Codrington, St. Michael, on Thursday.
According to Ms. Roach: “We are currently talking to Ethiopian Airlines [and] South African Airways about the development of that new route because there is a very circuitous route that people have to take which is either through London or New York to get to Barbados. We know that if it were that we left Accra it would just take eight hours [to fly directly here] so that takes out the complexity of travel and the inconvenience of travel.”
Stating that they were also looking into air charter services, she explained: “The challenge with dealing with airlines is that they need to do their business cases. We don’t want to start a relationship or route that doesn’t last. So, they obviously have to do their due diligence; we have to sensitize the market because we want that when we start that service it is there for a very long time.”
Ms. Roach added that there were efforts to stimulate travel between Barbados and Ghana, and said discussions had started with business owners to encourage trade between the two regions.
She said Ghana is centrally located among the West African group of nations and provides access to 350 million people. She noted that it was cited by the International Monetary Fund as having the world’s fastest growing economy at a rate of 8.8 per cent.
“So, there is a growing middle class there who are looking for new experiences, new opportunities and new investments,” she said.
Ms. Roach also pointed out that this was the first time that the BTMI was working with another tourist office to stimulate “traffic from both ends”.
“We are working in a very symbiotic relationship with the Ghana Tourist Authority to ensure that we also stimulate traffic from Barbados and the wider Caribbean into Ghana initially, and then the wider African continent,” she disclosed.
In the short term, there are plans for the Ghanaian polo team to play against the Barbadian polo team on island; cross country art exchanges and exhibitions with artists; and talks about creating a Barbadian-Ghanaian promotional jingle.
Ms. Roach concluded by highlighting Ghana’s homecoming activity Year of the Return 2019, noting that “it segues beautifully” into Barbados’ homecoming, We Gatherin’ 2020.