I recently read your published article highlighting the return of direct flights by the German airline Condor from Frankfurt to Maurice Bishop International Airport in Grenada. This I believe is good news for those wanting to holiday in Grenada or visit friends and family. Flights from Germany will also help to boost the tourism industry and the country’s flagging economy.
I am writing to express my appreciation and thanks to the government and in particular the Minister of Tourism, Alexandra Otway-Noel, who I attacked personally in an article I wrote while holidaying in St George’s in November. At that time I felt the minister failed to grasp the nettle and look at the bigger picture in terms of value to the industry as a whole also; the economic benefits of long and short stayover visitors to Grenada. I also felt that not enough was being done to re-introduce chartered flights from the UK and Germany.
There are scheduled flights from the UK every week provided by national airlines; however, these flights are not cheap and, with the introduction of air passenger duty, which the British government has been ratcheting up year after year, visitors to Grenada from the UK have to pay an additional £170 each in tax to the UK government for the pleasure of travelling to the Caribbean. For a couple, it cost £340. This is not just scandalous it is outrageous – we call it rip off Britons.
The slight reduction in this tax announced by George Osborne, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his budget speech last Wednesday will only come into effect in 12 months time. This, in my opinion, is too little too late and will have little or no effect at all in terms of boosting air travel from the UK to the Caribbean.
What UK residents want from the Grenada Minister is a resumption of chartered flights from the UK to St George’s, which would make a big difference, because it would encourage people to visit Grenada as this would offer them more choice and value for money when choosing a Caribbean holiday, as well as encourage Grenadians in the UK to visit their homeland. It will also increase the footfall of visitors from the UK on a weekly basis.
The minister has made a good start. I am confident that with the re-introduction of Condor Airlines flights to Grenada the country will experience more visitors including long stays and this will no doubt help in the regeneration of the economy. The minister next objective in this direction should be negotiating the resumption of weekly chartered flights from the UK.