10/08/13 - Tribune 242 (Barbados) - Direct Cuba Airlift To Boost Bahamas As
By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
DIRECT airlift between the Bahamas and Cuba will significantly boost this
nations position as a regional multi-destination hub, and facilitate
increased trade and commerce the two countries, a business executive said
Lindbergh Smith, chief executive and founder of Blue Caribbean Crossings,
told Tribune Business this nation was well-positioned to capitalise on
travel as well as trade in Cuba.
I have been residing in Cuba for a while, with a purpose of engaging in
trade and commerce, looking at the opportunities, examining those and
encouraging Bahamian companies as well as companies in Cuba to engage in
trade, Mr Smith said.
We recognise the vast amount of opportunities that exist in Cuba with
regards to industry, medical care and all these other services. We looked
at what was happening here in the Bahamas. We wanted to expand and provide
different opportunities for trade and commerce.
We encouraged a number of local businesses through the Chamber of
Commerce, and are assisting individuals with understanding how to do
business in Cuba in conjunction with the Cuban Embassy and the Chamber of
Commerce in Cuba, Mr Smith added.
One of the largest impediments was that there was a lack of air
transportation. Even though Bahamasair and Cubana are there, there was an
explosion of growth in that travel market. There is demand to ensure that
we continue to evolve in that market. We saw that there was a need to add
additional airlift between Cuba and the Bahamas, said Mr Smith.
Western Air has partnered with Blue Crossings to launch new air passenger
service between the Bahamas and Cuba.
Mr Smith explained that increased airlift between this nation and Cuba
would not only facilitate the travel of Cuban residents between the Bahamas
and Cuba, but also position this nation as a multi-destination hub for
travel in the region.
There are a number of European travellers that go there for, and would
like to have, a second destination, Mr Smith said.
We have a number of Canadian visitors who visit the Bahamas and want to
travel to Cuba, and were here to undertake those services. We have been
encouraging hotel properties in Cuba to engage in moving those clients to
come and visit the Bahamas in a multi-destination programme.
Were heavily engaged in talks with various hotel properties in Cuba to
invite them to participate with us in terms of allowing those visitors to
visit The Bahamas in a multi-destination programme.
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