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CTO official says more needed to improve regional aviation sector

Posted in: Regional News | 18 September 2014 | 802

    ST. THOMAS, United States Virgin Islands, Sept 17, CMC – The outgoing chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Beverly Nicholson-Doty, says while some progress is being made, much more needs to be achieved to resolve long-standing concerns of the regional aviation sector.

    Nicholson-Doty, who is also the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) Commissioner, told regional tourism ministers and other stakeholders that while the Aviation Task Force had done much over the past two years, there was still much to be done.

    "Thank you also to all of you for the commitment you have made and continue to make to resolve long-standing concerns and for being determined to keep this issue at the forefront of our regional discussions," she said.
    "The fact that the Task Force is still in effect and expanding its communication mandate is a notable success," she said as the region marked World Aviation Day on Wednesday.

    However Nicholson-Doty stressed the need for more work to be done towards implementing a Caribbean system similar to Europe’s where visitors who are cleared at the initial port of entry can continue travelling seamlessly throughout most the European Union.

    "We also need to see the introduction of standardised entry and exit cards across the Caribbean to help reduce costs and improve the customer experience.”

    The tourism official also called for the establishment of relationships between local, regional and international airlines to share best practices in working within the region and fostering an enhanced customer experience.

    "We also need true public-private sector partnerships that provide marketing support for regional airlines linked to growth and enhanced customer experience," she added.

    The USVI Commissioner also recommends the establishment of regional hubs that provide greater efficiency for air service, while providing service to smaller markets where investment in new airports is cost prohibitive or simply isn’t a good investment of limited funds.

    "We must remain diligent about addressing the issues of aviation in our region as if our lives depended on it - and in fact, our livelihoods do depend on our aerial highways," she noted.