Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy and the United States Ambassador Larry Palmer are working to ensure Barbados has enough airlift out of the United States to keep visitors coming.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY at last night’s reception for long-stay visitors at Ilaro Court, Palmer said: “I spoke with the Minister of Tourism; he and I worked very closely on a number of issues and one issue of course is that I’m trying to work with him to increase the number of flights from the United States here because we believe that as many tourists as we can get in, it is good for the economy.
“And I’m happy to say the economy in the United States is slowly coming back to life and that means people are having more disposable income and we are encouraging them to come down and spend time with us here in Barbados.”
He noted that the weather in the United States was still cold and praised the Government for the visitors’ reception initiative, as he had met several people that had been coming back to Barbados for 30, 35 and 40 years.
As the Prime Minister was unable to attend the function, Minister Sealy, offering apologies on his behalf, told guests that he was pleased they had chosen to make the island their destination of choice.
“The winter period has been very good for us in terms of arrivals, much improved from last year and we hope that that can continue.
“Those of you who have expressed some concern to me about the direct flight from New York, do not despair, we are talking to other carriers and we are also hoping that American will reconsider its decision now that the merger with US Airways is behind them, but even the Ambassador himself has engaged in that effort to see if we can get that particular situation rectified and we are certain that will happen in the not too distant future,” he had earlier indicated.
“Interestingly enough, even though we have that situation, the numbers from the US are still quite strong, only a very small decline. That is good news.
“The UK market has completely recovered and is going in that direction, growing by nearly ten per cent over last year, year to day. The additional flights out of Manchester . . . and the recommitment of Virgin Atlantic and British Airways would have contributed to that.”
Mentioning that he had just returned from 18th anniversary celebrations for WestJet in Calgary, Sealy expressed pleasure that the airline had also recommitted to airlift for the island out of the United States.
He told visitors they were in Barbados at the perfect time to take advantage of events like the Sandy Lane Gold Cup, which was good for the horse racing, but also as a spectacle and for its historic value in the UNESCO inscribed Garrison area.
He said the English visitors as well would welcome the English cricket team’s arrival and Twenty/20 matches here soon.