During a CBC “On the Go” interview with Ted Blades (Jan. 30th), and after the decision by WestJet to cancel their flights to Gatwick, U.K., the minister of tourism had few suggestions to offer in response.
I have tried many times to persuade the provincial government to become more business minded and proactive. Government must focus on bringing in new revenues, creating jobs and not just trimming expenses. For most of the 43 years I have lived in this province, Air Canada has successfully beaten and eliminated the competition time and time again. Up go the fares and down comes the level of service!
We must become more entrepreneurial and outside-the-box thinkers if we are to drive our economy.
For several years, travelling to the U.K. meant we had we had to fly to Halifax or even worse, Toronto. One year, we left on Christmas Eve and arrived in London on Boxing Day, having spent Christmas Day in Toronto airport. Oh, what joy!
The point is that we cannot just sit back and take what they give us. Accepting the status quo should not be an option.
For sure, the airlines have to make a profit and we must help them to generate more passengers and cargo to enable them to offer a cost effective, year-round service to and from Newfoundland and Labrador. I have suggested before that business retreats for U.K. companies could be held here in our unique part of North America, with all the benefits and hospitality that we can offer. The cost savings in expensive U.K. hotels would pay for the airfare. Most people in the U.K. have no idea that we are only five hours away and about the same driving time that it would take to commute to many quiet “away from the crowds” rural U.K. destinations. Piggyback this with the added advantages of creating joint venture business opportunities with U.K. and other European companies to manufacture goods in N.L. instead of shipping them from the U.K. and Europe would be a bonus. This could reduce their production and shipping costs and provide a manufacturing base in NAFTA (even with future changes that may be in store) and create significant employment opportunities in the province.
We must become more entrepreneurial and outside-the-box thinkers if we are to drive our economy. To continue to do what we have always done will continue to give us more of what we already have.
We have had enough of that already and that is getting us nowhere.