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THA’s London: CAL policies affecting Tobago

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Orville London wants the new board of state-owned Caribbean Airlines (CAL) to adopt a new mindset about the island’s domestic and international air bridges.

“It doesn’t matter to me if the national carrier goes to other islands or other countries. I am not envious, but I am not stupid. If I am living in Tobago and this is T&T and this is my national airline, my business must take priority. I do not want this new board to deal with a situation where CAL cannot take care of our domestic tourism,” he said.

London addressed the issue in his remarks at yesterday’s 10th Annual Tobago Economic and Business Outlook Conference at the Magdalena Beach and Golf Resort, Tobago.

He expressed disappointment at the cultural mindset of CAL and the airline’s policies which he said continually affected the development of Tobago.

London said: “That’s why I made the point about the potential of domestic tourism, because Trinidad visitors are contributing significantly to the revenue earnings capacity in many of the islands and one of the reasons is that you can sit down in Maraval or Couva and make a booking and be certain that CAL will take you to St Lucia or Grenada and get you back at a predictable time. You can’t do that between Tobago and Trinidad. 

“You have to bear in mind that we in Tobago have a deciding advantage. We are a population of 60,000 sitting right next to a 1.3 million market and if we really maximise that market—I am not saying we are going to need very much else—we will be well on the way to treating with many of the challenges which we face at this point in time.”

The Chief Secretary said CAL has a critical role to play if it takes advantage of the opportunities available in Tobago. He said officials of the airline should see three markets: Trinidad, Tobago and T&T markets.

“If you do your marketing properly and you have maybe ten or eleven flights coming, let’s say from Canada, most of them are going to come for business. But it will be possible that among those hundreds of people that come in on a monthly basis, you should be able to find enough of them who are not averse to stopping over in Tobago and spending a day. 

“Those are the kinds of opportunities we have missed and it all has to do with the mindset,” London said.


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