TOURISM MATTERS: Thomas Cook selling Barbados
From as early as November 1, every United Kingdom passenger who boards a Thomas Cook flight to the 57 destinations they currently serve, will receive an in-flight magazine containing a special ten-page supplement highlighting Barbados.
During the three-month shelf life of the publication, well over two million captive readers will be enticed to consider us as an alternative destination for their next holiday.
Solely thanks to the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., a full page has been dedicated to the re-DISCOVER promotion giving the 60-plus participating restaurants massive exposure, which in most cases would be beyond their individual financial reach.
It takes us a step further to maintaining our reputation as one of the premier culinary destinations in the entire Caribbean and offering so many incredible and varied choices, when compared to many other islands in the region. For many, if not the majority of our visitors, this is critical to attracting, but perhaps even more important, retaining loyal repeat long stay arrivals.
To add to the existing winter Manchester/Barbados flight, Thomas Cook has increased frequency to three flights weekly and introduced an initially limited season direct Glasgow Sunday service from next month. This opens up Scotland to potential visitors who don’t want to endure time consuming and costly connections to London departing flights.
As well as the 1.3 million population of Greater Glasgow, it also brings cities like Stirling (89 850), Dundee (141 870), Perth (44 820), the Scottish capital Edinburgh and its surrounding areas (492 680), plus even the northern English city of Carlisle (100 734), within easy striking distance of Glasgow, making the new British gateway even more of a very tempting prospect.
Using the Great Circle distances to determine the shortest route, Glasgow is actually closer to Barbados than London, with a flight time of around eight hours, point to point, so you can easily understand why the Scots don’t want to fly an extra 738 miles roundtrip to and from Gatwick. The current alternative is a minimum connection of 13 hours and 15 minutes with British Airways.
The concentration of efforts is now to ensure that the airline at least considers extending the operational dates of the service, for both the private and public tourism sector to employ the resources, both financial and physical, to create awareness and demand for the flights.
By reducing travelling times, I believe that this service could also attract more second home owners, allowing the fortunate few to escape the harsh long Scottish winters, at least for a while.
There is clearly some evidence that a second choice on the Manchester route has created competition, allowing in many cases extended stay over guests the option of a second or third visit per year.
As I understand from the Thomas Cook website, the flight will be operated by an A330-200 with 321 seats each with a 31-inch pitch. This aircraft type within their fleet has recently undergone a major refurbishment programme with enhanced seats, 8.9-inch touch screen on demand in-flight entertainment with blockbuster movies and an upgraded food service.
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