Come August 30, the Concorde will make its last flight from Barbados closing an enviable chapter of aviation history linking the island and Great Britain. Stakeholders in the local tourism industry such as the Ministry of Tourism, the Barbados Tourism Authority, British Airways, the Sandy Lane Hotel and others å- are all collaborating in a big way to recognise the contribution and retirement of this unique supersonic aircraft.The Concorde has been associated with Barbados for the past 21 years and has been a defining element of Barbados’ tourism product, mainly in the high-end market in the United Kingdom and South America. Several celebrities, dignitaries, members of the Royal family and business magnates have used the luxury and speed of the aircraft to jet to the island for pleasure and business, taking advantage of scheduled winter and summer service.
As the world’s only supersonic commercial jet, the British Airways Concorde has over the years contributed significantly to Barbados’ tourism industry and the economy, a point underscored by several speakers at a special champagne brunch held last weekend at the Four Seasons Hotel in London.
The function was attended by Prime Minister Owen Arthur and Minister of Tourism Noel Lynch, both of whom flew to London on the Concorde as special guests of British Airways, and presented the opportunity to recognise the contribution of the Concorde service to Barbados.
The event was also attended by British and Barbados media, tour operators, Government officials, representatives of British Airways, tourism marketers and others. Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) President Oliver Jordan, Chairman Hudson Husbands and Vice President for Europe, Petra Roach were among the BTA executives in attendance.
Minister Lynch said that for the better part of 20 years, the United Kingdom had been the dominant market for visitors to Barbados and British Airways had played a major role in the development of tourism from the United Kingdom.
“We want to thank British Airways for all that they have done towards the development of our tourism industry over these 20 years. The role played by British Airways was strengthened by the introduction of the Concorde and its presence in flying premium passengers to Barbados,” said the Minister.
Minister Lynch said Barbados and the Concorde were recognised as premium brands of global excellence and he wished to thank British Airways for the memories and Concorde for the joy it brought to the many special passengers to the destination over the years.
However, he said the leaving of the Concorde should not be seen as a negative but really as a platform for strengthening the bond created between Barbados and British Airways over the years.
Minister Lynch further told his audience that Government was working to make Barbados an even better destination for its premium passengers, with emphasis on better product development and improved service quality.