The planned Scandinavia to Tobago charter service by the Greece-based company Apollo Airlines Virtual will have its inaugural flight in November, THA Tourism and Transportation Secretary Tracy Davidson-Celestine disclosed on Wednesday.
She recalled that earlier this year there were statements made and discussions held with the airline to operate the weekly charter flight which was launched back in February 2013 at the Grand Travel Awards in Sweden. “That flight resulted from discussions between the Division of Tourism and Transportation and that Scandinavian-based tour operator,” she told Wednesday’s post Executive Council media briefing.
Finance Minister Larry Howai also referred to the service in his budget address on Monday but gave no credit to the THA for this achievement.
Davidson-Celestine said while it was four months away from its maiden flight the airline had confirmed bookings of 1,400 passengers as of August 2013. Apollo serves major European cities with both charter and scheduled services using its modern B737NG aircraft with a capacity of 261 economy passengers and 24 business class passengers.
“My Division, local stakeholders and representatives at Apollo are committed to ensuring that that flight remains on the Tobago Scandinavia route so that we are ensuring that we collaborate our efforts and approaches in marketing because we understand the importance of this flight in raising tourist arrivals to this island,” she said. She added that the Scandinavia market represented the third largest market outbound in the travel market in the European continent and it was anticipated there would be a 25 per cent increase to the tourism budget in Tobago.
Davidson-Celestine also said her Division was anticipating bumper cruise ship seasons in 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 adding that while the schedule for the coming season which starts in November was being finalised she has been able to confirm over 20 port calls from 11 ships with an estimated 18,772 cruise passengers to Tobago. She was also expecting additional cruise calls from a number of European lines this coming season.
Davidson-Celestine said what was even more important was the work being done for the 2014/2015 cruise season with a target of 50,000 visitors. She said the information currently at hand has revealed that the Division would be able to attract over 48,000 cruise passengers arriving on approximately 31 port calls for that season.