Tobago Chamber: New ferries will increase domestic travel
The Tobago Business Chamber is hoping the addition of the APT James and Buccoo Reef to the seabridge will boost consumer confidence.
The APT James arrived in TT on Friday and the Buccoo Reef is expected at the end of the month.
The chamber’s president Martin George said on Saturday passengers should have easy access to the fast ferries.
“We look forward to what we have always referred to as the double redundancy,” he said in a WhatsApp voice note.
“In other words, we want a situation to be such that anyone can wake up any morning and simply head down to either of the ports, either Port of Spain or Scarborough, and say, ‘I want to travel today,’ and there will be a boat available, there will be capacity available. You can go with your vehicle and they will be able to accommodate you.”
George said people should not have to plan a trip to Tobago months in advance.
“That is not practical. Tobago is 15 minutes away by air and two and half hours away by sea. So therefore, it is something that is supposed to be easily accessible, and we think that with the addition of these boats, even though sometimes, they may not be going at full capacity, the idea is that you always have availability, and that will boost consumer confidence.”
George reasoned that greater consumer confidence will increase the number of passengers travelling to and from Tobago, “once people have that confidence to know that ‘I can simply just head down to the port and I will get a ticket.’”
He predicted travel between the two islands will increase three-fold “because people will then say it is not a problem to get to and from Tobago.”
Describing the vessels as a positive development, George said the chamber hopes passengers will treat the ferries with care and respect. The chamber also hopes they will be properly maintained, “because at the end of the day this is something for our livelihood and our survival.”
George said an efficient seabridge is essential to Tobago’s development.
“These are fundaments for nation-building and these are things that the Government is responsible for.
“So, even though belatedly, the Government is now coming through and making good on its promise, we are grateful and we are appreciative.”
BY: COREY CONNELLY