In the 1980s Wardair could fill a 747 from Winnipeg to Barbados. Why can’t we do that now?
In a recent newspaper article entitled ‘Tourism Hope from Canada’ written by Gercine Carter, the outgoing Canadian High Commissioner for Barbados, Ruth Archibald, commented that she thought ‘there is lots of opportunity for continued growth’ out of that market.
Many of us would agree with her, especially when she ‘suggested that there was even more room for expansion in Western Canada’.
“In light of the potential, why is the Barbados Tourism Authority getting rid of its single BTA marketing executive in Western Canada?”
I immediately thought of my early travel industry years, almost four decades ago in Winnipeg, having been there partially during the pioneering days of Wardair.
In 1984 William Canning directed what I consider a truly inspirational documentary for the National Film Board of Canada, called simply ‘Max Ward’. You can view that film here. Part of it was shot in Barbados and if you get the opportunity to view the programme, please note particularly the Merrymen, Plantation dancers and an interview with the late Sir Harold St. John.
What it graphically brought back, was all that time ago, is that we had truly visionary leaders in this industry and how the decisions that they bravely took, changed our lives forever. Max, along with a rare breed of innovative aviation entrepreneurs like Sir Freddy Laker, fought long and hard for airline deregulation and when it finally came about, nothing would be quite the same in tourism ever again.
All these years later, one wonders if ‘we’ have not lost some of the goals or objectives that took us to, what has now become Barbados’s single largest foreign currency earner.
If even back then, Wardair was capable of filling a 456 seat B747 aircraft direct from Winnipeg, Edmonton or Calgary, to Barbados, so why can’t we now?
In fact, if anything it has become a lot easier, because today we have state-of-the-art, smaller capacity extended range planes with one third of the jumbo’s capacity, so the potential financial risk is a lot less. Direct flights from the Canadian prairies are also attractive in several other ways. Longer winters and the wealth created from tar sands, potash and the agricultural industries providing people with the time and financial means to travel. Continue reading