DISCUSSIONS are underway for the possible wet lease of an aircraft to assist on the domestic route, according to Secretary of Tourism, Culture and Transportation Nadine Stewart-Phillips.
Speaking at the Weekly post-Executive Council media briefing at the Victor E Bruce Financial Complex in Scarborough, Stewart -Phillips said a conversation between Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles and Minister of Finance Colm Imbert regarding an aircraft is ongoing.
She was responding to questions on the heels of grave concerns expressed by Tobago businessmen one week ago, regarding the island’s low occupancy rate. Speaking with Newsday following a hastily-called press conference by the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association, vice president CarolAnn Birchwood-James said January figures stood at 37 per cent for hotels and 22 per cent for guesthouses,adding the figures represented a slight increase from last year’s situation.
She said the low occupancy reflected the need for greater collaboration with the Tobago Tourism Agency Limited. She said the Association also wrote to Caribbean Airlines last year and was yet to receive a response.
Stewart-Phillips said Wednesday she was not aware of the details of the press conference.
She said, “However, I am aware that Caribbean Airlines has indicated that they are putting all measures in place to ensure that they meet with the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association. The Tobago House of Assembly and Caribbean Airlines, we have always shared a very amicable relationship.
"However, I am aware as well that there are flights available...therefore, if the demand is not there...Caribbean Airlines would not be so inclined to increase their capacity because there is no demand. But as has happened in the past, once the demand is there we are confident that Caribbean Airlines would increase the capacity for those periods.”