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Barbados, Virgin’s strongest Caribbean market

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Barbados, Virgin’s strongest Caribbean market

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Despite the decline in tourist arrivals, Virgin Atlantic officials remain confident in the Barbados market.
In fact, Andre Bello, sales, marketing and public relation officer for the Caribbean, said Barbados remained the strongest market for the company within the region and that it was expecting future growth.
Bello was speaking to BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY regarding the airline’s code-share agreement with Delta Airlines last month.
The agreement means that Virgin Atlantic will “place its code on 91 Delta routes and Delta will place its code on 17 Virgin Atlantic routes”. It also provides customers flying on both airlines with a frequent flyer programme.
Saying that the Atlantic route was very important to the company’s operations, Bello remarked: “For Virgin to continue to serve this part of the region, we need to grow as an airline and this is an important part of that step”.
He said the airline was ensuring it stayed ahead of the game by placing “a lot of emphasis” on aircraft upgrade to meet the demand.
“We have new capacity in our upper class. Before with the 747 although it is a large plane we only had 14 upper class seats available but now we have 33. We think that rightly matches the marketplace in terms of the business sector and the luxury leisure traveller,” Bello added.
He said while he remained confident in the Barbados tourism product, he cautioned against doing things the same way they were done as international competition had changed the market dramatically.
“We know that the demand is there and we feel that this market will continue to do well for us and will show growth. We are projecting growth in Barbados,” he said.
“We are very confident overall in the Caribbean, Barbados in particular. It remains our main route. What we have seen is that tourism in this region, when you look at the offer, it has become much more competitive. More and more countries, including the Maldives, are becoming a very active sea and sand destination so we have to continue to remain competitive here in this market with our product to go beyond just the beach and start to really diversify the offer,” he said.
The airline official said there was hardly anything airline companies could do to lower the cost of flying since a large part of their cost depended on the cost of fuel. (MM)