The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the international agency responsible for leading the development of Caribbean tourism, has announced a highly focused CTO Aviation Committee to facilitate air transportation into and throughout the Caribbean and to enhance airlift. Particular emphasis will be placed on CTO member-countries.
The Committee is being co-chaired by the former CTO chairman, Sen. Ricky Skerritt, who is minister of tourism and international transport of St. Kitts & Nevis. 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.
During her inaugural news conference at the CTO State of the Industry Conference in St. Kitts on 12 October, the incoming Chairman, Hon. Beverly Nicholson-Doty, the United States Virgin Islands' commissioner of tourism, announced her intention to establish this committee within 30 days.
Commissioner Nicholson-Doty and the CTO secretariat have been working closely since then to bring together some of the region's most creative minds to form the committee.
"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," the CTO chairman said.
The CTO Aviation Committee is charged with a number of responsibilities, including 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; review aviation taxation and related fees and make recommendations where necessary.
Intra-regional travel, in particular, air access, was a major talking point at last month's State of the Industry 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.
The following are the initial members of the CTO Aviation Committee:
Richard Skerritt, Minister of Tourism & International Transport, St. Kitts and Nevis, Co-Chair
Beverly Nicholson-Doty, Chairman, CTO Council of Ministers; & Commissioner of Tourism, United States Virgin Islands
Brian Challenger, Aviation Consultant to the Government of Antigua & Barbuda
Colin Jones, Regional Representative, International Air Transport Association
Dayanand Birju, General Manager, Airports Authority, Trinidad & Tobago
Donald McPhail, Director, Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority
Elizabeth Scotton, Chief Commercial Officer, Sangster International Airport, Jamaica
Hugh Riley, Secretary General, Caribbean Tourism Organization
Ian Bertrand, Principal, El Perial Aviation Consulting
Jaime Lopez Diaz, Chief Development Officer of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce, Government of Puerto Rico
Michael Lum, Air Service Strategy and Development Consultant, Sixel Aviation Consulting
Neville Boxill, Aviation Consultant, Barbados Tourism Authority
Dr. Pauline Yearwood, Deputy Program Manager, Transportation, CARICOM Secretariat