No need to fear new SVG airport – BTMI

Barbados has nothing to fear for the time being from the new Argyle International Airport (AIA) due to open next month in St Vincent and the Grenadines, according to a top tourism official here.

A confident Chairman of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) Alvin Jemmott said it would take a considerable amount of time before there is any impact, despite the fact that Barbados has been the international gateway for some Eastern Caribbean destinations.

“With this new airport opening this year, I think it is a good thing for the Caribbean because the Caribbean is the most sought after [tourism destination] and it will also be a good thing for St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“I don’t see an immediate fallout for Barbados because things of this nature will take time to take root and plans that have been made will not change overnight. So I don’t think Barbados has anything to fear in this regard,” Jemmott said.

St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves announced earlier this month that the airport would be officially opened on February 14, raising doubt about the continued use of Grantley Adams International Airport as a transition point for international passengers to and from Kingstown.

Regional carrier LIAT and American cargo airline Amerijet are expected to service the new airport while the government works out kinks and continues its efforts to attract other carriers.

The EC$729 million (BDS$540 million) airport has missed completion deadlines annually since 2011 and had been a major talking point of the 2005, 2010 and 2015 general elections.

Jemmott said Barbados’ longstanding partnership with a number of carriers had helped to solidify the country’s position in the international market, hence there was even less reason to fear new access routes.

“Barbados has extremely good relations with our major airline partners and I cannot see easily where that will deviate. There will still be some people that will still take the Barbados route even if there is a direct flight into St Vincent and that may very well open up the gateway for other neighbouring islands,” he contended

However, the Divi Southwinds manager cautioned that even though the threat of competition maybe some distance away, it did not mean the industry could afford to rest on its laurels.

“Everyone has to be always cognizant of the competition around them and we are called upon to compete, so if you sit on your laurels someone else would eat your lunch. That is something that we cannot afford to do and I am sure that we are not going to do that,” Jemmott stressed. 

6 Responses to No need to fear new SVG airport – BTMI

  1. Catchcha Slater
    Catchcha Slater January 11, 2017 at 12:52 am

    you’ll be just fine, there’s more than enough room for all islands to survive in this competitive tourist industry.

    Reply
  2. kathy-Ann Clarke January 11, 2017 at 7:54 am

    They really need this new airport, cause that little shack they using now aint worth it.

    Reply
  3. JS January 11, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Barbados doesn’t need to worry at this point because liat will not have a service to that island from every island in the Caribbean, so some people may still have to pass through GAIA to get there and although they have a new airport its still relatively small compared to GAIA and aircraft parking space is limited so they wont be much competition to us.

    Reply
  4. Tony Waterman January 12, 2017 at 2:40 am

    (A confident Chairman of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) Alvin Jemmott said it would take a considerable amount of time before there is any impact, despite the fact that Barbados has been the international gateway for some Eastern Caribbean destinations.)

    Well!!!!!! That sounds to me like the Utterings of a FOOL in Waiting, i live in a City that has Thousands of Vincentians, St.Lucians, Montserattians, Dominicans, Grenadians, and NOT one of them has NEVER had anything to say that was GOOD about Passingn through GAIA to get home to their respective Countries, and Regardless of what Mr. Alvin Jemmott thinks, the impending Official opening of Argyle International Airport (AIA) will be a Game Changer, especially for LIAT, as all of the people that i know and speak to very often have been just waiting for this to Happen.

    If Mr Jemmott does NOT change this Thinking, he will be in for a hell of a surprise.

    Reply
  5. Henderson January 12, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Barbados has gained greatly from vincentian nationals living abroad. And yes our “little shack had served us, despite the dangerous location. We are greatful and thankful to God that our Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gunsalves finally took the initiative to build us an Airport we’ve been begging for all these years.

    Reply
  6. Nathaniel Samuels January 15, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    Kathy-Ann, I am disappointed in your statement ‘that little shack’. Yes, it is a small airport just like GAIA is a little airport in the eyes of some people. Just say small airport and let us all stop crying down our neighbours, large or small.

    Reply

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