New CTO aviation committee to address regional air transportation challenges
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday November 14, 2012 – St Kitts and Nevis Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard “Ricky” Skerritt, will co-chair a “highly focused” regional aviation committee to facilitate air transportation in the Caribbean.
The Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) said the committee, which also includes officials from the United States Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, Puerto Rico, Antigua and Barbuda, and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, will also seek to enhance airlift into the region.
“The composition of the committee reflects technical, regulatory and policy-making experience and has public/private sector representation from tourism professionals, accommodations, airlines, airports and aviation consultancies,” the CTO said.
It said that the committee had been among the new initiatives outlined by newly-elected CTO chairman, Beverly Nicholson-Doty, the United States Virgin Islands' commissioner of tourism, when she addressed the media during the CTO State of the Industry Conference in St Kitts last month.
"The CTO recognizes that air transportation is crucial to the success of Caribbean tourism and it is imperative that we seek convenient, affordable and reliable air service if we are to realize our vision of positioning the Caribbean as the world's most desirable, year round, warm weather destination in five years," she said.
The CTO Aviation Committee will be responsible for the development and implementation of strategies for increasing intra-Caribbean tourism; examining the volume and potential of air service into and within the Caribbean; reviewing the status of regulations governing air transportation to and within the region and encouraging and facilitating the establishment of practices and procedures that ease the movement of passengers to and throughout the region.
In addition, the committee will encourage and develop relationships between carriers, regulators, airport authorities, Customs, Immigration, Security and other relevant entities, with a view to removing barriers to cooperation.
The CTO said that the committee will also review aviation taxation and related fees and make recommendations.
It noted that intra-regional travel, in particular, air access, was a major talking point at last month's conference with presentations from American Airlines, British Airways and LIAT all aimed at identifying solutions to the challenges facing air transportation into and within the Caribbean. (CMC)