PHILIPSBURG:— It is easy to assign a PR person or agency to immediately issue a run-of-the-mill press release the day after the event, stating that the Caribbean Aviation Meetup on St.Maarten was a success. No doubt, that the event was indeed a significant accomplishment. But it was better to wait a week, do the debriefing first and evaluate the various comments and suggestions that are received. How can one recognize whether the conference was a success and what may be expected for the conference next year?
This year’s conference may have been called a regional conference with international ambitions. The participant from the farthest away, New Zealand made a 33-hours trip to get to conference and several participants came from Europe. In total twenty countries and territories were represented. Next year, it will be a full- fledged International conference for the benefit of the region. There is already a serious interest of companies and organizations from Germany, Norway, Israel, Colombia, Belize, and Brazil, to send representatives. Because of the “globalization”, one has to look ahead to set a date and examine which other international conferences are held in the industry in order to avoid conflicts of interest.
The date for the 3rd Caribbean Aviation Meetup next year will be June 12-14, 2018. What also underlines the success of an event are the inquiries by countries whether it could be held there. Currently there are inquiries from The Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, and of course St.Maarten.
Two companies that came to the event to explore the opportunities in the Caribbean have decided to establish an operation or branch in the region. Immediately following the conference, the executive of one of them has submitted a company internal 16-page report on the findings and information gathered during the conference. If the person would not see an opportunity, it would only have been a one-page report and in essence saying: “forget it”. The question remains where these companies are willing to settle. In order to explore such, the various islands should have competent networkers from both the public and private sector at the conference. This exploration and evaluation will again happen next year by other companies from abroad.
At this year’s conference, two airports in the region had decided to send six and more staff members because of the educational content and value of the conference’s presentations.
Government officials cannot always afford the time away from the office, or their institution cannot cover the expense of sending several of its staff members. And so, the transportation department of CARICOM which is located at their headquarters in Guyana, inquired if it was possible to follow the conference through online streaming. That is something that will be looked into for next year because it is important that the conference content will be disseminated as widely as possible for the benefit of the region. But the inquiry itself shows the growing importance of Meetup.
In the week after the event, the various comments came in varying from “Thank you so much for the invitation to attend and participate in one of the best aviation forums in this part of the world” to “My hearty congratulations for arranging what I found to be an extremely worthwhile and successful conference”.
There are the typical post-conference reports in the media. Along the news that during the event, The Bahamas was honored with the Sapphire Pegasus Award for its international promotion of the country and the Caribbean, was published in twenty-six media outlets in the region. However, the international media representatives that were on location to cover the event, are currently writing their feature articles about individual subjects that were discussed, or are processing the interviews they had with persons of interest. The articles will be published in various monthly media outlets. As an example, one journalist informed us that his editor of an international magazine based in the UK has approved the publication of five articles on the airlines in the region in their monthly magazine between now and December.
Summarizing and Responding to the question was the Caribbean Aviation Meetup a success, without exaggeration the answer is positive. With confidence, the planning and preparation for next year’s conference have already started.
Source: St. Martin News Network
Why the aviation conference on St.Maarten was a success