Nation e-Edition

Spreading wings

Spreading wings Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy greeting Captain Razao Pires while his co-pilot Daniel Silver looks on.

Mon, December 20, 2010 - 12:04 AM

THOSE WHO HAVE been criticising the services of GOL Airways, linking travel between Barbados and Brazil, are short-sighted.

Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy told reporters there was no way Barbados could continue to depend on just one major market, and insisted it was time to diversify and capitalise.

He was speaking at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) to mark a six-month milestone of GOL Airways services from Sao Paulo to Barbados last Saturday night.

“I have heard the criticisms,” he said.

“People think that the money we are putting in GOL we should put in the United Kingdom. We can’t do that. We have to, yes, continue to build our brand in the UK, but we have to look at other options as well. When you are too reliant on one market . . . and something happens, you are extremely vulnerable.

“It just goes to show how short-sighted that type of thinking is. I have a responsibility as Minister of Tourism . . . .

We have got to diversify our market base and that is the reason why we are supporting this GOL venture.”

The tourism minister said since the launch of the services last June 28, there have been close to 2 000 passengers who disembarked on 26 rotations into the GAIA and future bookings were looking “promising”.

“We are quite encouraged by that performance. And what have us more excited is the fact that the load factors for December, January and February are extremely strong. The flight on Christmas day

is actually full. All of the flights coming in during the month of January will be bringing in excess of 200 passengers. So it is looking extremely positive where the GOL service is concerned.” (MM)

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