This country’s tourism industry is again being given a lift as traffic into the Argyle International Airport increases with opportunities to fly direct.
The Prime Minister told reporters on Monday that he had been advised that the newly-added American Airlines, which began flying into AIA last December, has been having full trips and that they have full bookings through to March. He also told reporters that based on discussions more airlines will be flying into Argyle International Airport (AIA) which became operational on February 14th, 2017.
Prime Minister Gonsalves said he knows what discussions take place between the CEO of the Tourism Authority and Minister of Tourism regarding additional airlines and that in time there will be announcements of the new carriers that will start flying into the Argyle International Airport. He said he had stated publicly that the Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism must not announce the coming of new carriers but rather let the carriers themselves make the announcements.
“Because, when they announce first that the carriers are coming, the nay-sayers say they are lying. And even when the carriers announce that they are coming they (nay-sayers) start to talk – what is the extent of support you’re getting – as though every single country in the Caribbean don’t provide market support in respect of international airlines,” Dr Gonsalves said.
Prime Minister Gonsalves said that accommodation is expanding and developing as apartments are being added and more hotel rooms are becoming available with the construction of new hotels.
“We have the airlines. We have three major centers, three major carriers in North America – Toronto, New York and Miami. And all the routes are doing well,” Prime Minister Gonsalves said.
Prime Minister Gonsalves said that nay-sayers are claiming the the plane loads are mostly returning Vincentians. He said that even if all the passengers are returning Vincentians they are still spending money.
“You see when Vincy man and woman come from foreign how they spend money, eh?’ the Prime Minister asked, adding that there might be the odd occasion where a returning Vincentian would squeeze a penny by going to agrandmother’s home but there are also those who might leave their luggage at their grandmother’s but they stay at hotels to have a nice time.
Dr Gonsalves said that the passengers often come with spouses and friends to have a nice time. He said it is in the nature of men and women to have good times with each other and thank God they do otherwise civilisation would cease to exist.
“I just want to be practical about all these things. They spend a lot of money,” Prime Minister Gonsalves said.