VILLA occupancy in Tobago is high during this long vacation period, according to Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association vice president Carol-Ann Birchwood-James.
Birchwood-James told the Express yesterday, that while the association does not have the data on the occupancy levels at hotels and other accommodations, she knows for a fact the villas on the island have been doing very well.
“The villas will do well as many people are still cautious about the Covid-19 so they opt for villas where it is a more intimate setting. The association is having a meeting on Thursday to discuss the data on the occupancy rate, but I know it will be good as many domestic visitors and tourists are on the island for various events,” she said.
Birchwood-James said she is very pleased that the occupancy rate is going back up, because the two years of the Covid-19 pandemic have been very difficult on owners.
She also noted that her hotel, Canoe Bay Beach Resort, is now returning to normalcy as well.
“Our occupancy rate is improving and we are also having a lot of events taking place due to our outdoor and beach settings. The Great Fete weekend, which was held the last weekend of July really helped hoteliers and villa owners. We are hopeful that the numbers increase especially for the Tobago Carnival in October, which seems to have a buzz and then for the winter when our international guests arrive,” she explained.
Birchwood-James, indicated that while the airlift is not the best, they are working with what they have.
Earlier this month, Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Farley Augustine called on the Tobagonians who sit in the Cabinet to “stand up” and advocate for Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) to increase domestic flights to Tobago.
The issue was being raised as the THA moved to extend the opening hours of the ANR Robinson Airport to 2 a.m.
“On our (THA) end, I am clearing the way… for heaven’s sake, increase the number of flights,” he said on Tuesday.
The ANR Robinson Airport currently opens until 10 p.m. daily, unlike Piarco International Airport which operates on a 24-hour basis.
Augustine has noted in the past that opening the Tobago airport until 2 a.m. requires $5.6 million annually (US$600 per hour), and the THA had agreed to foot this bill.
Last week, retired chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority, Ramesh Lutchmedial, sounded an alarm over the domestic operations of Caribbean Airlines, noting that even if airbridge flights are operated at 100 per cent load factors, the revenue earned by airfare and subsidy is well below the economic cost of providing the service.
CAL had previously responded to a public statement by the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Farley Augustine who knocked the airline for not providing enough flights to Tobago.
CAL responded by stating that its airbridge operations are plagued by heavy and consistent losses amounting to millions of dollars.
“The airline industry is extraordinarily complex and requires lots of cash to meet capital and operating expenses. Airlines are in business to operate profitably, and air fares and flight schedules are set to make a profit. For every route, airlines determine the cost to produce a seat on the flight and the realistic passenger loads at which the revenues generated meet the cost of operating the flight,” Lutchmedial said.
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