Congrats To BTA On Securing GOL Flight From Sao Paulo

Submitted By Adrian Loveridge

Richard Sealy, Minister of Tourism

Just for the record, I would like to applaud all those involved in securing the direct non-stop flight from GOL flight from Sao Paulo including the Minister of Tourism, BTA, Barbados Diplomatic Corp and BHTA. It is a tremendous achievement, and I believe it offers the very best option in terms of route, carrier, duration of flight, connecting city possibilities and gateway.

From comments made by the Minister in the media, he is not expecting every flight to be full in the initial operating period, and however sceptical some may be about this foray into South America, this is in my humble opinion is a very realistic approach. I would, though, offer some suggestions how, perhaps, more of those seats could be filled by specifically targeting niche markets.

I think that we should break down 60 of the available 150 seats per flight and set some achievable goals and objectives.

  1. The majority of the buses operated by the Transport Board are made in Brazil and so many of them seem to be prematurely retired for mechanical and spare parts challenges. Let’s initiate an ongoing programme, where an average of ten Brazilian mechanics train Barbadians to keep these vehicles on the road.
  2. Please don’t anyone say it’s not possible. London Transport kept buses on the road, well maintained for up to 40 years and in the sixties and seventies that was made possible partially by Caribbean immigrants.
  3. Trade Missions (in both directions). Ten seats a week dedicated to forging better trade links between the two countries. The Goddard Group have spectacularly demonstrated that size (Barbados) is no impediment to ambition.
  4. Cultural exchanges. Another ten seats a week.
  5. GOL operates a highly successful frequent flyer programme called SMILES with a stated 6 million members, but also allows the 50 million American Airlines AAdvantage members to use their miles on GOL flights. To tempt those 56 million people who already have the means to reach us, Barbados could be offered at a reduced mileage. Another ten seats a week.
  6. Meetings, conferences, incentive and motivational travel. Surely, we can find ten people a week that would be motivated to excel in return for a one week holiday in Barbados.
  7. Sports groups. Football, polo (connecting flight to Buenos Aires), athletics, golf, yachting! The list goes on.
  8. Education and Language studies. Corporate sponsored language development courses to build for the future.
  9. Freight. While each seat costs from around US$750 return, in freight terms this could only be about 375 kilos of freight. Brazil is one of the most advanced agro production countries in the world and could offer our tourism industry endless new exciting fruit, vegetable, meat and seafood possibilities. Just ask yourself how much Brazilian coffee is consumed in Barbados annually and what is the current cost of getting it here?
  10. There is no doubt that we have stolen the thunder from our neighbours in securing this flight. St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and St. Lucia must be especially envious, but let’s work with them to collectively fill the initial flights and grow the route. For sure the Brazilians that currently visit Mustique regularly are going to find this six hour option very tempting.

Of course, I could go on and many others could (and should) add to this short list.

50 thoughts on “Congrats To BTA On Securing GOL Flight From Sao Paulo

  1. Not only did the former minister commence the negotiations, the former Brazilian ambassador was largely responsible for trying the resuscitate the airlift but his efforts were met with indifference.
    Nothing like a good recession to make people work.

  2. I’ve said it before (I think it was on the other Blog) and I’ll say it again: Linking with Brazil with the hope of beefing up our tourist industry, is a waste of good precious money.

    We’ve tried it in the past and failed miserably! I don’t see why there should be any exceptions now. What has changed? Oh, yes, I forgot. we are now in the throes of a Global Recession.

    Not one of the 10 points above mentioned by Mr. Loveridge gives us any hope that this “new” venture will be a success, or any different to the last one.

    Point no. 1 is really a no-point. Why should we have to fly in Brazilian mechanics to repair buses, or to train staff ? If the buses were any good, that would not have been necessary. These buses are second-string and inferior to its Japanese counterparts.
    I wonder who was the brain child behind the importation of “Brazilian buses?”

    i really hope this government doesn’t follow this suggestion to import more of these units.

    While we must seek other markets, Brazil is a no-no; non starter – waste of time.

    I will be proven correct in the fullness of time.

  3. Guess it is just as well poor Facts is not charged with making decisions for our Tourism related development.

    One of the main differences this time around may have a lot to do with the choice of air carrier this is not one unknown to the Brazilian market and its people it is one that is their biggest and most popular carrier with a great reputation and a great following.

    This time there is a Barbadian Embassy working in Brazil which will be working with a Vice President of the BTA in this market.

    So unlike the last dabble in Brazil when it was with a carrier that you had to sell to the people with no back up resources or marketing in place then that was then this is now.

    Facts where would you suggest Minister Sealy hang his hat for new markets Cuba ?????

    They are two markets available for tapping into Brazil and China, he has done the work and has Brazil up and running more that we can credit MM Blarney Lynch for doing.

  4. This GOL flight service from Brazil has absolutely nothing to do with Minister Lynch or the last government. This process was properly activated by the new government.

    so find something else to talk about

  5. Facts

    I wid you… Blasted waste of money and time…! Maybe de FTC could waste some resources researching dis ting too… Lard knows dey lookin’ fah relevance now…!

  6. Brazilians ain’ stupid… Dey dun know Bajans enough gun be jumpin’ on da flight and spen’ng nuff US dollars down dere…!

  7. BAFBFP,
    Thanks for your message.. At least someone has enough insight to see the end before it begins.

    And yes, I agree, with you. I think it will tourism in reverse, with Bajans flocking to Sao Paulo instead.

    If the trip costs US $750.00 as suggested above, how many Brazilians will opt to come to Barbados?

    For the life of me, I can’t see why men who are supposed to be experts in this field, can’t see this venture as an opportunity to failure.

  8. And don’t even suggest China. China is an industrial country with high GDP, but money doesn’t filter down to the masses. It is a conundrum; a puzzle.
    It is a quasi – communist country that is now opening up to the Western world, and is somewhat backward in comparison to the West.

    The average chinese is not middle class and certainly does not travel. China is still steeped in communist ideology.

    Again, I wonder who is the brain child behind the chinese-tourism concept?

    I hope this idea doesn’t go beyound the doors of BTA’s boardroom.

  9. With 10 million Chinese travelling every year and the richer travellers typically speak English and are looking for Multi Destination Exotic and New and Different Holiday Locations maybe there is some sense in looking at a Chinese market.

    Also we have Mr Sandiford as our Ambassador to China at work in China and I am sure he is doing a great job promoting Barbados its tourism offerings and all that Barbados has to offer, so lets hear for Mr Ambassador.

  10. Airline confident in move to Barbados

    The right destination and the right time are two reasons why low-cost Brazilian airline, GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes, has chosen to add Barbados to its network of routes.

    In an exclusive interview with the Barbados Advocate on Friday night, GOL’s business development manager, Fabio Mader, explained his company’s rationale and strategy to promote the newly launched route.

    “Barbados is completely different to the rest of the Caribbean; that’s the point,” he said. “We have here in Brazil a culture of Brazilians flying to the same islands, for example, Aruba – it’s a culture for Brazilians. We need a new product, we need a new destination, we need to make “noise” in Brazil and Barbados is the one we trust [to make this impact].”

    He also made reference to changing patterns in Brazilian travel. Traditionally, the domestic market sees some 11 million people flying three or four times a year, usually to coastal areas for beaches, he said. However, there is a growing section of the population – some nine million Brazilians – who are seeing an increase in their disposable income, but who have never flown before. GOL’s aim, therefore, is to capture these new travellers and encourage them to begin flying, not just within Brazil, but to a new, unique destination such as Barbados which would stand out from the traditional Brazilian beach holiday.

    Mader revealed that to this end, GOL is doing its part to raise awareness about Barbados and the new route.

    “Right now we are opening the market – we’re launching a new product. In Brazil, we have many Brazilians who have no idea where Barbados is. Out of ten people, maybe two or three can say exactly where Barbados is,” he said.

    In the first instance, their strategy entails hosting seminars for tour operators across the country, from the managers to the frontline travel agents, to teach them about Barbados so they can better sell the destination to their clients. Travel agency staff will also be coming to Barbados on the first four flights so that they can experience Barbados first hand and better encourage their clients to visit themselves.

    The airline will also be pushing the new route to its current passenger database. “GOL has a frequent flyer programme with something like 6.5 million Brazilians. We communicate all the time with these Brazilians [asking], ‘Do you already know Barbados?’, ‘Do you know where Barbados is?’, ‘Fly to a new destination – Barbados is waiting for you!’,” he informed.

    GOL’s strategies are sure to be welcomed by Barbadian tourism officials, who are keen to raise the profile of Barbados in Brazil. Earlier that evening, Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, had expressed that there is a definite need for Barbados to increase its destination awareness among Brazilians.

    According to him, Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) have done a lot to raise awareness, by increasing the access to information the Caribbean in general. He also contended that the exploits of some Caribbean citizens in the sports and entertainment arena would have increased the region’s profile a great deal.

    However, he conceded that there’s still some work to be done in establishing Barbados in the minds of the Brazilian people. “People are aware of the Caribbean, but some of them are not necessarily so aware of Barbados, and so we have some work to do. What is interesting is that they’ve heard of Rihanna, but they’ve never heard of Barbados,” he said. “We need to work more on getting that awareness level up.”

  11. B’dos welcomes GOL airlines

    THE inaugural flight of GOL airlines from São Paulo, Brazil touched down in Barbados late last night and, according to officials in the industry, it is the first step towards greater relations between the two countries.

    Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, was the first to disembark the plane, which was piloted by Captain Ricardo Ferrari and bore Brazilian and Barbadian flags from the cockpit windows.

    The Minister was accompanied by Ambassador of Barbados to Brazil, Yvette Goddard, tourism officials, members of the media and a large Brazilian contingent, who were greeted by Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson, Ambassador of Brazil to Barbados, Appio Cludio Acquarone and other officials from the tourism ministry, Barbados Tourism Authority and the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, to name a few.

    Speaking during a reception that was held to celebrate the momentous occasion, Minister Sealy thanked those persons who were instrumental in making the arrival of the GOL airline a reality. He told the specially invited guests that there is a lot of excitement about this link, not only in Brazil, but also in Argentina.

    “Argentina doesn’t want to be left out. This inaugural [flight] had bookings from Argentina so we are already seeing benefits beyond Brazil and therefore we are developing, yes the huge market of Brazil, but we are looking at the entire South American cone and I think that is good for Barbados as we develop our tourism future.”

    He said that there are “collateral benefits” of the flight, particularly in the area of trade. “Moving from 500 tourists to 5 000 per year would mean a narrowing of the imbalance at the same time there are so many opportunities for our business community, the cultural aspect, sports teams and opportunities for Brazilians to learn English and Barbadians to learn Portuguese.”

    The Minister said that he is pleased to hear that LIAT and GOL have had some intensive discussions and are looking at ways and means that they can harmonise schedules “so that we can have regional traffic going into Brazil and coming back out”.

    “We already are considered as a hub in terms of flights going to the United Kingdom and North America so indeed if we can now add Brazil to that we think it is another possibility.

    “We are blazing a new trail for Barbados’ tourism tonight and it fits right in with Government’s strategy in terms of trying to broaden our source markets and we are going to be looking at other possibilities. We are looking at our air links, greater air connections into Barbados is critically important and we will continue to do that work for the people of Barbados,” he said

  12. Brazil now 6 hours direct.

    Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy and Barbados’ Ambassador to Brazil Yvette Goddard at a Press conference in Sao Paulo.(Kenmore Bynoe)

    The football greats of Brazil, the internationally acclaimed Rio Carnival and cheap shopping are now just six hours away from Barbados after the GOL Linha Aerea Inteligentes (GOL Intelligent Airlines) landed its inaugural flight to Barbados last night.

    The feverish and aggressive work from Minister Richard Sealy and the Barbados Tourism Authority paid off with the direct six hour flight out of Sao Paulo, Brazil, landing last night to signal what is expected to become opportunities for educational, cultural and sporting forays into South America. Previously, any Barbadian trip to Brazil, Argentina, involved almost 20 hours of travel via Miami.

    Prior to the inaugural flight, Sealy along with Barbados’ ambassador to Brazil, Yvette Goddard had met with a major travel and trade magazine Brasilturis along with a contingent of the Barbados media in Sao Paulo where the Minister indicated the arrival of GOL resulted from his Government’s thrust to be more creative in existing markets and seeking business in new markets.

    While not being overly optimistic of the one week flights arriving or departing full, the Minister indicated that Barbados currently obtained about 500 visitors from Brazil. “The arrival of GOL provides the scope of moving the arrivals from Brazil from 500 to 5 000 passengers annually,” Sealy said.

    When quizzed over passengers arriving but not spending the Minister highlighted the fact that the passengers arriving on GOL would have to spend at least seven days in Barbados which would involved the concomitant spending while in the country. “Five thousand arrivals a year would be a good start based on a minimum of 60 passengers on each flight,” Sealy mentioned.

    “GOL is a very good partner and Barbados having a permanent representative in Brazil; plus the fact that Brazil of 2010 is different from the nation of 1995. Brazil is the eighth largest growing economy in the world and it is the second largest market in the Western Hemisphere,” Sealy argued.

    Sealy said Barbados needed to explore the many cultural and sporting opportunities which had been ignored in the past as we had biased our interest towards the North. “The entertainment and sporting success of the Caribbean region have increased the profile of our people and generated greater interest.

    “However, some work in destination awareness has to be done as an unscientific poll done on the streets suggest that many Brazillians know of Rihanna but do not know of Barbados or most of the other Caribbean islands,” Sealy added.

    Ambassador Goddard alluded to the fact that Barbados and Brazil were already enjoying exchange discussions in the sugar cane industry as well as in health.

    She indicated that Barbados’ thrust into the South American market would not compromise the security arrangements which have always been in place for travel between any countries and Barbados.

  13. Anonymous

    You wrong. The previous administration had alot more to do in getting a flight connnection between Barbados and Brazil. Remember it was the blp who first made the decision to have a resident amabassador in brazil.

    Get your facts correct for once!!!!!

  14. MM Lynch and the BLP government Brazil adventure flopped for several reasons the biggest one BWIA. But Will It Arrive the designated carrier on the Brazil/ Bdos route was then run by a consortium of dodgy Americans and Trinidadians. As a Brazillian traveller I was going nowhere in that set up. Now with a trusted Brazillian carrier the Brasileros especially the sophisticated and rich ones see Barbadfos as a viable travel option. Barbados has to continue to work hard promoting itself in Brazil. The GOL/ Varig flight is a timely strategic move with enormous potential for Barbados. Instead of tribalism Donald Duck and Facts should join the hard working Minister and his public sector/statutory board team who worked diligently on the project to bring it to market. Time to pitch and help Barbados and stop the bellyaching.

  15. Is the government of Barbados providing a subsidy for this service, and if so, how much? I wish it every success and hopefully more Bajans will take vacations in south america as that will help to ensure that the route is viable.

    • Why would we* not want to give this initiative a chance to work?

      Why do we politicize everything?

      In as much we rely so heavily on tourism does it not make sense to diversify the product especially now we have seen how N. American and European economies are so interwoven? The Latin American economies have shown the capacity to generate healthy GDP growth rates despite the current global recession.

  16. Congrats. Give it a chance to work. It will take time to build this market.

    One of my concerns is the language barrier, I don’t know what plans are in place to teach this to some key contact persons, to ease the situation. More importantly, with the budget cuts was additional money given to promote B’dos in this market otherwise this is just an exercise in folly. If you have cut the BTA budget, then BTA would only be shifting money from other markets to this one, and it would not make sense, as we need immediate market response from current markets to boost foreign exchange this year, to stop the slide in employment and the slide in the economy. At least iti si an effort to do something, so give it a chance.

    HH say they bright, so answers to those questions will tell. On another note a youngster on Brass Tacks pointed out about the Education report, that this gov’t is so bright they plan to limit scholarships to UWI where gov’t already pays for our education. Bright, bright, bright.

  17. David, so well said!

    We HAVE to look at other markets.

    Did you read the report in the British Telegraph where it quoted the result of a website poll which ‘revealed that a third of British travellers would cancel overseas holiday plans if an extra GBP 30 in tax were added to their airfare’.

    Does Barbados think it is immune to what is going on around the world?

    If I am EVER asked to submit my wishes on the 10 – Minute Manager feature that appears in Business Monday, the answer to Question ‘If you had the chance to manage Barbados for a day, what would you do?’

    I would put together the VERY best group of passion driven tourism professionals with proven ability and small egos, irrespective of their views on politics.

    It probably, would never work, but just for once it might be worth a try.

    I am curious WHY any commentator would believe that if we do not try different approaches, why he or she would expect ANYTHING to change for the better!

    Give the route a chance to work and you can always come back six months from now and say, I told you so!

  18. BAFBFP // June 27, 2010 at 12:25 AM

    Brazilians ain’ stupid… Dey dun know Bajans enough gun be jumpin’ on da flight and spen’ng nuff US dollars down dere…!

    Well I ain’ know about the rest of wunna, but I tink I gine tek a chance and head down to Brazil to learn de bossa nova and see if I can hook up and get a date with a certain sweet, young ting dat does hang out at Ipanema. I hear she does look sweet fuh so, an when she walks dey say it is like a samba. Oh Lord, looks like I gine have to learn de samba as well as de bossa nova now.

  19. Bajan Truth wrote “One of my concerns is the language barrier”.

    Language is not a problem. Brazillians travel to English speaking cities in North America.

    Government can hire a few translators.Problem solved.

    Interestingly Brazillians speak Portugese while the other South American countries speak spanish.

    As long as there is a good airline service people will travel and Brazil has lots of people with high incomes.

  20. Wuh loss, As wid de bald man above, yuh know dis open de young fellers to the enticementations of the Brazilian lovelies, them hip movementations and ting.

    Den de Bajan lasses going be vex about wunna young fellers chasing after dem fancy tings, and loss, trouble in town.

    Dem hips swaying an ting, going cause rucktion. Ask Ms.Bonny Peppa if ah lie!

    Nuff young men going get ‘Head Turn’ illness. Gotta run to GP to get some kinda medicine to remove it.

    Unless Bonny Peppa got lil concoction from up de country?

  21. @all

    this is simply “great” for our tourism industry “that simply” … Congrats to all those involved in seeing this to completion. If marketed correctly by the BTA it should bear fruit.

    I would also like to see us rethink our USA tourism marketing strategy with emphasis of the southeast USA.

  22. Every additional airlift could be a positive sign for Barbados. However, I am a bit concern regarding this Brazilian air route with the higher percentage Barbadians traveling to Rio instead of Brazilian visiting Barbados. Barbadian would use it as additional place for vacationing and feting. Yuh tink de Bajan women din ‘fraid of de Guyanese women….well wait fuh de arrival of de Brazalian women with those twirling hips and long flowing hair. I agree 102% wid John Dobbie.

  23. @David
    you are totally incorrect to align my disapproval of the venture to politics.

    Efforts to tap Brazil have been tried under both parties.

    My insight has more to do with historical evidence of mass failure.

  24. Do we honestly believe that Brazilians with some of the finest and well kept , like Copacabana and Ipanema, plus a host of unlimited attractions in Rio alone are going to flock here by the thousands. First of all we have to educate them as to where Barbados is.

  25. I had a chance last night to chat with a brazilian couple who came in on the new flight and their concern was the high prices they have to pay in the hotel. example a bottle water $3US. Certianly when are tapping new markets we need to look at the whole picture and not just airlift. Pitching the airlift only is quite misleading.

  26. well said Orson but lots of businesses here can’t see the big picture. The thing about Barbados is when you become savvy about it as a tourist you sleep in the hotel and buy everything you can outside. The problem is that it takes several visits or a Bajan friend to enlighten you. $3 US for a bottle of water just ridiculous.

  27. @Bad man saying nothing…..Not only in Barbados , but many visitors worldwide now, sleep in the hotel, and buy meals outside. Perhaps this is why Cruise Tourism is becoming so popular.

  28. Our high cost of living always comes back to bite us in the ass. Yes we have a high standard of living which has to be supported but can we do better on the cost of living front.

  29. Orson,

    Fair point, but which hotel did they buy the water from and which brand was it!
    Wholesale price of a bottle of a 500ml VOLVIC now costs over BDS$2 here.

    Best to either but locally or regionally packaged bottle water.

    And do you really think that bottle water would have cost any less at a similar standard hotel in Sao Paulo?

    I understand at least some of the Barbados delegation stayed at the InterContinental and their cheapest rooms are US$370 per night plus according to their website. What do think a similar bottle of water would cost in that hotel?

    Our rooms average US$99 per night and a bottle of water is US$1.50

    • US370 per night you wrote?

      Maybe they got the corporate or a special rate?

      Please say yes* somebody.

  30. Jus’ came back from Brazil… dem women down dey got backsides like you have neva seen, and dah brown skin t’ing wukkin’ man…! Sorry BTA.. yah goose cook… fin’ somewhere else… maybe somewhere in Europe maybe…!

  31. Sorry, previous comments should have read ‘best to BUY’.

    According to InterContinental SP, they place a free bottle of water per person in the room daily, but a bottle purchased costs US$6.

  32. For tourists (important distinction), our costs are comparable with overseas.

    In any decent restaurant in London you will pay far more than here.

    Food and drink in Europe is expensive, forget buying beer etc, those prices asre astronomical.

    Our important focus should be squality of service, cleanliness and ancillary attractions.

    Those who argue on costs of water bottles compared to overseas really are not the medium or high end tourists.

    Cost of living for us bajans is high, because we deal with a disproportionate amount of housing and motor costs, thus less money is left for spending on ‘living’, plus our wages are not that high, comparably with Europe at least.

    • If the government can get Barbados to be a hub for Brazil Caribbean travel that would provide a good ancillary revenue option to make the project viable. Heard the Minister being quoted in the media that this is the goal.

  33. You say GOL stands for Intelligent Airlines well they have certainly made an unintelligent choice with their new San Paulo-BGI flight, if for example, you have to have 10 bus mechanics on board to fill up the flight. If GOL was really intelligent he would have offered a flight to BGI with stops in Boa Vista Brazil and Georgetown Guyana the gateway to all South America (now I did not say GY is gateway to SA but Kamla in Trindad said that) in this way his jet would come full to BGI.. Guyanese would fill up the GEO-BGI vv sector and Brasilians the BVD-GEO vv sectors, plus the few tourists on board destined for BDS, but the fact remains GOL would always have full load on this flight, but as you can see he is not smart, so the flight will fail. Sorry, any BTW in case you did not hear JW Marriott is building a hotel in Guyana and maybe next is Hyatt Guyana like in POS. TAM was to fly to Guyana but econmic downturn may have been a factor as the flight not implemented at this time. Good Luck Barbados with the tourists, I hope they have their USD to spend, like how Guyanese do

  34. Promocionar un sitio web y conseguir tráfico de visitas de potenciales clientes a través de publicidad puede costar mucho dinero: anuncios patrocinados en Google (Adwords), campañas de banners, anuncios pagados en portales web, marketing mediante campañas de e-mails; etc. suele ser bastante costoso.

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