Air Canada Rouge will, on Thursday, 14th December, make its inaugural flight to the Argyle International Airport. The Air Canada Rouge flight, which is the first scheduled international non-stop flight to the destination, will be met on arrival by the Hon. Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves, Hon. Minister of Tourism, Mr. Cecil McKie and CEO of the Tourism Authority, Mr. Glen Beache.
The Air Canada Rouge Service from Toronto will operate once weekly, during the winter season, until 12th April 2018, using an A319 aircraft, with a capacity of one hundred and thirty-six (136) seats.
On 3rd May 2017 Air Canada announced Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as one of six new routes for the airline’s winter season. A release, announcing the new routes, stated that weekly flights from Toronto to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are available for purchase at aircanada.com and through travel agents.
The SVG route was subsequently launched on 25th October 2017, at an event hosted in Ontario by Air Canada. That event was attended by the country’s Consul General in Canada, Mr. Fitz Huggins and Mrs. Shelley John the Tourism Authority’s Director of Sales in Canada. According to the airline, its first long-haul international scheduled service to St. Vincent and the Grenadines “offers new choices for travellers looking to escape Canadian winters.”
A “call to action” by the SVG Tourism Authority was launched in September. This included a taxi wrap promotion with sixty (60) taxis in Toronto. Flight promotion with Canada Traffic Network was also undertaken featuring television ads during traffic reports on Global TV Toronto, as well as radio ads on stations in St. Catherine’s and Hamilton, Ontario. Additionally, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority and Air Canada Vacations have commenced cooperative marketing with local hotels.
The latest visitor arrival report shows an increase of 10.4% in stay-over visitor arrivals from Canada for the period January to September 2017, accounting for 5,997 visitors up from 5,433 in 2016. Tourism has been the main foreign exchange earner and accounts for approximately 20% of the Gross Domestic Product for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It is expected that the international airport will increase earnings in this sector. The Argyle International Airport is also expected to increase accessibility to this multi-island destination from its major source markets, Canada, the USA and Europe.