Airlift, tax issues in focus at conference
These issues are among the agenda items at the first ever Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Conference.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday May 19, 2011 – Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) President Josef Forstmayr intends to make airline lift and taxation two of the issues for discussion at the upcoming inaugural Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Conference (CHTC).
Other issues will include a continued advocacy and promotion of the "Tourism is Key" campaign to create awareness of the importance of tourism to the local economies in the Caribbean, regional integration, linkages and use of locally produced products and regional marketing.
"An important focus at this conference for me will be to highlight that improving airlift must be one of our top priorities. Affordable air service remains one of our biggest challenges. We all suffer when a carrier reduces or eliminates service to a destination,” Forstmayr said.
"Rising fuel costs, increased airport user fees and taxes create additional challenges as air fares rise making vacations more costly or sometimes even result in reduced services.”
The CHTA head also stressed that airlift is one of the top three items on developers' lists when researching investment opportunities and urged all Caribbean governments to understand that.
“Not accepting this clear message will simply lead to no new investors coming to the region, present investments will dry up and go bust, and existing industry will continue to under-perform. It is time that all our Caribbean governments and the entire private sector get off our collective butts and work together to get over this hurdle. We are ready for this and we are challenging our governments to join with us at CHTA,” he said.
"We need more regional integration, less visas, more airlift, less taxation and I urge once again, that my country, Jamaica takes the lead to establish funding for a regional marketing campaign. The time to act is now,” Forstmayr added.
CHTC is taking place from June 1 to 3 in Barbados and is being organised by the CHTA, the Barbados Tourism Authority, and the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association.
It is a new annual tourism summit which brings together hotel and tourism experts and industry professionals to examine forecasts and trends for the Caribbean as well as develop plans to overcome specific challenges faced by the region.
The conference includes an allied trade show component which will also serve as the platform for the presentation of the Caribbean Employee and Supervisor of the Year awards.
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