Better air access into the region is the focus of discussion at the first Caribbean Aviation Meet Up Conference which got underway here on Tuesday, June 13th.
The Government of Dominica through the Ministry of Tourism and the Discover Dominica Authority is hosting the three-day regional conference which has brought together speakers and guests from France, Ireland, Canada and the USA; as well as representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Caribbean Tourism Association.
Executives of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States as well as executives of airports, airlines and tourism boards in the region are also part of the conference.
The Hon Minister for Tourism, Senator Robert Tonge addressed the conference.
“This is a unique, result-oriented event where pragmatic and forward-thinking minds gather to find progress and solutions. The Caribbean Aviation Meet Up aims to cement dedication and passion of professionals with diverse backgrounds in the aviation and hospitality industries. We know that no-one can do things alone but with a strong commitment to cooperation and a unified effort, we will make greater strides and remarkable achievements,” he said.
Participants will engage in discussions on regional airlines; route development; airport development; airlift impact on tourism, and the economy and trends in regional travel among others.
Sen. Hon Tonge indicated that while on the world’s stage the region is performing remarkably in its tourism growth rate and while Government has taken steps to facilitate growth in Dominica, air access still remains a major challenge.
He says it is fitting that Dominica was selected to host this first conference.
“Our corporate strategy and action plan for the Discover Dominica Authority was developed recently. The Authority has been working to update the strategy mostly through a review of Dominica’s market representation in the source markets that we are targeting.”
He listed a brand audit, a review of the DDA’s communication strategy and upgraded website design.
He says although Government continues working hard to advance the industry, “We are nonetheless challenged by the issues of access to the destination. It is therefore most appropriate that this conference is taking place in Dominica. The Ministry of Tourism and Urban Renewal is leading the charge to address this issue of access-particularly air access into Dominica. This continues to be a perplexing topic but I’m hoping that after this session we will have clear ways of dealing with these issues.”
The Tourism Minister believes that the conference provides a new opportunity for the Governments of the region to continue the trend of growth of the tourism industry.
“While we have made progress, we recognise the need to be involved in the continuous improvement cycle so we have arrived at a new beginning- the beginning of forging a solid movement out of challenges and opportunities to improve air transportation in the region that would benefit our economies and communities. We want to make all the regions in all the areas where it counts to accomplish progress in tourism.”
The Caribbean Aviation Meet Up will from this year be an annual event. At this first conference in Dominica a new organisation, Caribbean Aviation Industry Association (CaribVIA) will be inaugurated.
The conference will conclude on Thursday, June 16th.