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THA accuses CAL of neglect

Caribbean Airlines (CAL) has been accused of neglecting pleas by the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) for connecting services with international flights in an effort to boost Tobago's ailing tourism sector.

Secretary of Tourism and Transportation Assemblyman Oswald Williams told reporters at Wednesday's post Executive Council media briefing that the situation was so bad that he again wrote Transport Minister Devant Maharaj earlier this week seeking a meeting to discuss the issue.

Williams said CAL continues to neglect the pleas of the Assembly through letters and telephone calls for a meeting to put their case before the national airline which was being heavily subsidised by the taxpayers of Trinidad and Tobago. He has not even received an acknowledgement to his letters.

He said CAL recently introduced connecting services between Barbados and St Lucia and Barbados and Grenada. He said he had earlier requested a meeting with CAL executives to discuss a connecting flight between Barbados and Tobago for tourists on a fortnightly charter service from Scandinavia who wished to come to the island. He added that the airline had reserved 30 seats on its aircraft for Tobago bound passengers but because of a lack of same day connections it was forced to give it to St Lucia.

Williams stressed that there must be some level of connectivity of services to support tourism. "A lot of connectivity is taking place in the Caribbean by our national airline but Tobago is not benefitting," he said.

He said Trinidad and Tobago taxpayers through CAL were also supporting tourism in Jamaica with its services from North America. He said the Assembly had to put up a struggle to get the once weekly CAL New York service to Tobago.

"Our investigations showed that North American tourists spend three to four days at a destination and therefore a second service at mid week would serve them well," he added.

Williams said: "Tobago is part of the nation of Trinidad and Tobago and therefore should be given consideration, charity must begin at home."

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Bagonian said on Friday, Feb 17 at 12:06 PM

So Jamaica's benefiting from CAL but not Tobago?? CAL should have a NON-STOP flight to Tobago from Miami at least twice a week that arrives in Tobago before 4pm to accommodate passengers who do not want to stop in Trinidad...and what happened to the long-expected entry by CAL to the Atlanta USA market which is the hub for millions of passengers...NON-STOP Atlanta/Tobago would bring many new visitors/revenue for Tobago from the US

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T-TRINI said on Saturday, Feb 18 at 2:26 AM

Mr. Wilson let us face the obvious fact, Caribbean Airlines like its long gone predecessor BWIA does not and will not anytime soon care about Tobago and how the tourism product is affected. How many times has BWIA abandoned the POS/TAB route stating it is uneconomically viable and the THA had to literally scramble to either lease other carriers or create other carriers to ensure there was not a complete collapse on the domestic air-bridge? Suggestion, have an open skies agreement and bring in substantial competition that will gladly meet the needs of the Tourism product. Remove all those unnecessary subsidies we the taxpayers are hemorrhaging monthly to Caribbean Airlines and let them handle their affairs for once. Remove the hefty landing fees imposed on the competing airlines that the broken wing "hummingbird" is not subject too and you will see other airlines showing interest. And lastly stop having Caribbean airlines monopolizing the tourism market

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T and T said on Sunday, Feb 19 at 9:20 AM

Surely CAL is part of the problem, with the other being the THA Division of Tourism the other part. They both fly blind. There is no marketing of Tobago in NY, it would even be nice to see the same billboard on the main road we see in Bon Accord up in NYC. New Yorkers do not even know that we exist. If there was a marketing plan actually done in conjunction with CAL then they would have some direction. People still fly to Piarco because there is no information available about the direct flight to Tobago. Tobago has no serious marketing plan on paper so why should CAL waste it's time and resources even though they run on tax money. Again, THA does not want to hire an expert and only want to hire political supporters with no experience in travel other then on government money. We have a product for folks who want out of the way places, and not tourist destinations which we cannot truly offer. The blame game continues, people drag their feet and cannot not make decisions of sense.

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