Several Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuelan shipping companies have increased their passenger numbers in recent months with the reopening of the borders after covid19. However, Triniflyer is the only one to have received the legal permits to transport passengers back and forth.
Triniflyer's business manager, Cherry Gonzalez, told Business Day it is seeking to bring the two countries closer by increasing the number of travellers with the options of comfort, speed and legality.
Triniflyer, established in 2015, is a purely Trinidadian company.
Gonzalez said thanks to the support of the Chaguaramas Port and the Immigration Division it obtained the permits for the exit and entry of its vessels bound for Venezuela. Likewise, in Venezuela it got permission to take passengers out of the country.
“Our plan is to continue growing as a shipping company, to be able to transport more people between both countries to increase tourism. And many Trinidadians can go to Venezuela and return without problems, with a quality service,” she said.
Triniflyer boats leave TT at the private port at Crews Inn, Chaguaramas and arrive at the port of Guiria, Sucre state, Venezuela. Triniflyer is also arranging to travel to the port of Tucupita, Delta Amacuro state, the port that sees most travel between the two countries.
Travellers must have ID to buy tickets. Venezuelans whose passports have expired must request a provisional passport from the embassy in Port of Spain.
Trinidadian nationals or residents can buy round-trip tickets to Venezuela with a valid passport.
Venezuelan nationals who wish to go to their country and return legally to TT can also do so through Triniflyer. They must have a valid passport and visa to enter TT on their return.
Gonzalez said before the covid19 pandemic, Triniflyer made two monthly trips. For now, only one monthly trip is leaving.
But she said depending in demand, the company can increase the number of trips without any problem.
Trips via Triniflyer take approximately two hours from port to port.
“We have a great advantage, which is the permission to leave Venezuela to TT with passengers. Many people want to go to Venezuela for tourism with the intention of returning to TT, and that is valid now.
"This could be a turning point for Trinidadians to go on a trip to Venezuela and discover the wonders of the neighbouring country. It is also an option for Venezuelans who live here to visit their families and return to their jobs,” Gonzalez said.
The vast majority of passengers are Venezuelans, but she said, “Lots of locals call us to learn about our service.”
For now, few people are making the trip to Venezuela and back. Many Venezuelans are waiting for a decision of the Trinidadian authorities, with extended work permits due to expire on December 31. Depending on that decision, the flow of passengers which, with Triniflyer, brings the two countries closer, could be increased.