Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Randall Mitchell says Tobago can soon expect direct flights from New York.
“Today, we are working with Caribbean Airlines (CAL) and the Chief Secretary (Ancil Dennis) to develop some more routes, one of which would be a direct flight from New York to Tobago on CAL). That is a welcome initiative for the tourism sector in Tobago,” he said.
Mitchell made the announcement on Tuesday during the unveiling of a proposed $500 million first-class hotel and property development at Rocky Point.
With the borders now reopened, Mitchell said several other airlines have expressed interest in flying directly to Tobago.
But he said in order for this to occur, Tobago must have the right tourism environment.
“We need robust infrastructure in terms of the types of visitors, the quantity and quality of visitors that we want to attract here in Tobago.”
He said the ANR Robinson airport expansion project is a major step in revitalising Tobago’s tourism sector.
“That marries well with the type of hotel investment being pursued.”
Saying Marriott is the largest hotel chain in the world, Mitchell said about 250 people will be directly involved with the development when it is completed.
He said the hotel chain has its own database of clients and reward system, so it can negotiate its own airlift to destinations and do its own marketing and promotions.
“So with the hotel alone, we expect to improve our airlift almost immediately from the North American market with at least two-four flights per week. As we get those two-four flights per week, we will find that other accommodation providers will begin to improve the quality of their stock.”
Mitchell said as soon as the quality and number of rooms on the island increases, “We can expect multiple daily flights coming in from the North American market as well as the European market.”
He believes the hotel, when completed in 2025, can contribute billions of dollars towards Tobago’s economy.