If all goes according to plan, this country could soon have a flight from the west coast of the United States along with a tourism marketing team there to help spur visitor arrivals from that area.
Minister of Tourism Ian Gooding-Edghill gave this indication on Monday, as he disclosed that discussions have begun with airlines to see if a flight arrangement could be put in place.
“We are in discussion with some airlines to see if we can do a stop and drop arrangement from the west coast. The west coast has great promise,” said Gooding-Edghill.
He was responding to a question from Minister of Home Affairs and Information Wilfred Abrahams during the first day of the debate on the 2023/2024 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, about any plans to target the western seaboard of the US. This includes the states of California, Washington and Oregon.
Gooding-Edghill told his parliamentary colleagues: “We are in discussion with Atlanta-based entities to see if we can build out a proper air route into Barbados.
“There is no difficulty if we can commence a service. The issue would then be frequency and can the airlines accommodate it,” he said.
The tourism minister said he would be able to give a better indication of the plan after engaging industry officials in an upcoming event.
“Once we are there and we engage them, we might be in a better position to understand whether or not they still have the appetite for a west coast flight,” he said.
He also gave the assurance that his ministry was looking at establishing a marketing presence there.
“When I went to the ministry, the officials indicated to me that the west coast is an area that we should have a marketing presence. We are currently addressing that issue. That marketing presence will also allow us to build out greater relationships with airlines,” he said. He could not say how soon the plans would materialise.
“I can assure you that it is on our agenda and additionally we are going to have to put an extra resource there. The one thing within the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc is that we need somebody as well to assist us on aviation matters and that is top of their mind and we are working through a programme to address that. It is on the cards. How long it will take to bring it to fruition I can’t say at this point, but a discussion with the airlines will be ongoing,” he said.