In greeting the Captain and crew of the inaugural Air Canada Rouge flight, the Honourable Shamfa Cudjoe, Minister of Tourism, noted that “in today’s fiercely competitive global market place, consistent, reliable and competitive air access is the lifeblood of any modern economy. In this light, therefore, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago has sought to attract additional airlift both to Trinidad and to Tobago. We welcomed Condor and Thomas Cook to Tobago in November 2016. Moreover, as a result of our recent participation in ITB Berlin and the World Travel Market in London, we are in discussions with several other airlines - including Eurowings, Norwegian Airlines and Air Berlin – all in our efforts to secure additional airlift directly to Tobago”.
Minister Cudjoe applauded the decision by Air Canada to commence flights to Trinidad and wished the company all the best in this initiative.
The Air Canada service to Port of Spain from the Toronto hub will operate twice weekly (Tuesday and Thursday). Canada is home to a thriving business and financial community and a large Caribbean Diaspora. This service from Canada will play an instrumental role in serving both communities and in enhancing trade and economic ties between Trinidad and Tobago and Canada
With an average of 40,000 to 50,000 visitor arrivals from Canada each year, Canada is Trinidad and Tobago’s second largest source market. The typical Canadian visitor stays for approximately two (2) weeks and spends approximately TT$6,500 per trip, generating approximately TT$0.34 billion (US$ 0.05 billion) in foreign direct revenue. Over 50% of Canadian visitors come to Trinidad and Tobago to visit Friends and Relatives (the VFR market); followed by approximately 20% who come for leisure.
The Ministry of Tourism also announced during the ceremony that TDC will be launching early next year (2017) a new tourism mobile application that will provide users with a comprehensive insight into our myriad events and festivals as well as provide feedback regarding the quality of visitor experiences whilst in Trinidad and Tobago.
Joining Minister Cudjoe in welcoming the Air Canada Rouge flight with 282 passengers onboard were many dignitaries including:
- Her Excellency Carla Hogan Rufelds, the High Commissioner of Canada to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
- Mrs. Vidiah Ramkhelawan, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism
- Mr. Warren Solomon, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Tourism Development Company Limited (TDC)
- Mrs. Adrienne Ayers-Allen, Acting General Manager of the Airport Authority of Trinidad and Tobago
- Mr. Michael Lazzari, Director of the travel agency Lazzari and Sampson
- Mr. Ariel Harris, General Manager Operations of Air Canada
Passengers arriving in Trinidad received commemorative eco-friendly token bags with local gifts as tokens of appreciation from the Ministry of Tourism and the TDC.