British High Commissioner Harriet Cross is looking forward to thousands of visitors from her country landing in Tobago once more.
Cross was speaking during an interview on Friday, ahead of the return of international flights to Tobago for the first time since March 2020.
The first airline to touch down will be British Airways on Monday, followed by Virgin Atlantic on January 29.
Cross said, "It is no surprise that British Airways is the first international flight to return to Tobago, given the importance of the relationship between the UK and Tobago. The UK is Tobago’s biggest tourism market, and the love for Tobago from British travellers has not been lost despite the pandemic.
"I look forward to seeing over 30,000 travellers from the UK visit Tobago annually once more, as they did pre-pandemic. Regular visitors to Tobago are already starting to return, and I personally know many people who are keen to visit Tobago for the first time. "
Tourism stakeholders in Tobago are cautiously optimistic that the return of international flights will stimulate the tourism-based economy, which has been struggling during the pandemic.
Former president of the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association Nicholas Hardwicke recently told Newsday he was excited about the international arrivals.
"That is where we spread the word internationally about the wonderful attractions that the island has, and that’s where the real volume, potentially, in terms of the economic impact that tourism can have for Trinidad and Tobago, can be found.”
Cross said the resumption of flights augurs well for the future.
"Many travellers are tourists, but they are also business people and families travelling to see their loved ones. They all play a role in boosting Tobago’s economy and strengthening UK/Tobago links, which is important for post-pandemic recovery and for collaboration on issues of joint concern such as climate change and sustainability.”
Asked about the latest wave of covid19 infections and deaths, which has caused significant challenges to the Division of Health, Wellness and Social Protection, Cross said, "I encourage all travellers to sign up for Foreign Office Travel Advice alerts (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice) so they have the latest information on their destination, including in relation to covid19."