Sep 28, 2013 News
Arriving on time, to a roaring crowd at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Thursday night, the much talked about Jamaican airline, Fly Jamaica, officially commenced flight services between Guyana and Jamaica and North America. The airline management reiterated that it will bridge the tourism gap between Guyana and Jamaica.
Captain Ronald Reece, Fly Jamaica’s Chief Executive Officer, told the gathering of government officials, foreign personages, staffers and well wishers, “What we have basically done is to create
history by joining two countries by an air bridge.”
The captain told the attendees at the inaugural flight’s cocktail party that hopes are high that Jamaicans and Guyanese citizens will benefit by increased trade and tourism between the two countries.
He said that Jamaica has beautiful beaches, while Guyana offers jungles, bird-watching and the breathtaking Kaieteur Falls among other things. Reece encouraged citizens of both nations to take advantage of the Fly Jamaica opportunity and explore the nations.
Minister of Housing and Water and acting Tourism Minister Irfaan Ali said that the government would seek to work hand in hand with Fly Jamaica to promote Guyana. The Minister highlighted the need of an airline for the purpose of regional integration and a joint tourism venture.
He said that Fly Jamaica has added “one of the most versatile, natural and exciting tourism destinations—Guyana— to its routes.” He said that the government is moving towards working with the Jamaican tourism authority for a joint packaging arrangement for tourists wanting to travel to both countries.
Ali believes that in this way both countries would be promoted by this one air carrier. He stated that there has been a 15 percent increase of Jamaicans visiting Guyana and that was before the arrival of Fly Jamaica. With Fly Jamaica, the Minister said he believes that the number could be significantly increased.
Additionally, Ali said that moves are also being made to find common ground with other tourism destinations such as Barbados and St. Lucia, while expressing hopes that in the coming six weeks a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) could be signed, first with St. Lucia for closer ties as it relates to tourism.
The Minister concluded that there is a vast tourism market in Guyana that has to be explored. He said that natural attractions that both Guyana and Jamaica have are enough for forward movement.
Ali applauded Fly Jamaica for its initiative to add Guyana to their routes before registering his belief that the Jamaican carrier will be successful.
Minister of Works, Robeson Benn, after welcoming and congratulating Fly Jamaica on its inaugural flight stressed the need to create connectivity among countries like Guyana and Jamaica; not only for tourism but for business, shared knowledge, experience and expertise.
He said it is pivotal for CARICOM countries to connect for business and commerce.
Benn added that upgrading the CJIA so that it could be slated as an internationally recognized airport is one of the steps to improve air transport. It also provides the need to reach peoples in the Diaspora and Europe, Benn said.
For improved services, he reiterated an upgrade for the CJIA with great emphasis being placed on the lengthening of the CJIA runway by some 1000 metres. Benn said there is a dire necessity to make the terminal buildings larger, modern and more efficient to meet international standards.
Following the formalities, Fly Jamaica’s foreign and local entourage grooved to sweet and bold dancehall and pop styles out of Jamaica.
Fly Jamaica had brought the likes of Assassin, Wayne Marshall among others as ambassadors for the prized air carrier when it landed Thursday.
Well wishes and a lasting Jamaica/Guyana partnership went out to the airline, a joint venture between Guyanese and Jamaicans seeking to bridge the gap between the two noticeably similar nations.
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