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Branson: Market Carnival more

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Branson: Market Carnival more

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Jun 16, 2011

http://www.trinidadexpress.com/business ... 75084.html

Branson: Market Carnival more
By Curtis Rampersad Business Editor
Jun 16, 2011

British billionaire Sir Richard Branson said if the Government invited his Virgin Atlantic airline to operate a service from Piarco International Airport, he would do it.

Virgin Atlantic currently operates a Tobago-to-London service but Sir Richard said if he was invited to "fly to Trinidad, I would be happy to".

He was answering questions during a dialogue session for business executives led by former Caribbean Communications Network chairman Kenneth Gordon during Tuesday night's gala dinner of the Caribbean Investment Forum at the Hilton Trinidad.

Sir Richard, who has a home on a private island in the Caribbean, said he loved Tobago and thought the country's annual Carnival celebrations were "magnificent".

He was the guest of honour at the close of the two-day CIF at the Hilton this week and entered the Hilton with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Trade Minister Stephen Cadiz and Caribbean Airlines chairman George Nicholas.

Sir Richard left Trinidad for Miami after the dinner on Tuesday night.

He advised businesspeople to look at aggressive branding of events like Trinidad and Tobago Carnival around the world.

He pointed out that the country was not only "blessed" with a good government but also with icons like cricket star Brian Lara.

"You have some wonderful icons and Carnival is magnificent. It makes sense to use that," he told the audience.

From a visitor's perspective, Sir Richard said Trinidad was very different from Tobago and he suspected apologetically that tourists would rather visit Tobago.

"Maybe you could move the Carnival to Tobago and have all the fun stuff on one island and one Carnival in Trinidad and another in Tobago. Sorry, Trinidad," he said.

It was at that point that Gordon joked that Sir Richard was in Port of Spain in the middle of an "argument" between the two islands.

The audience, including Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, seemed to enjoy the joke.

Sir Richard said he would be happy to partner with the country to promote Carnival.

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