CaribAvia conference officially opens on island | THE DAILY HERALD

Caribbean Aviation CaribAvia Meetup Conference on Tuesday.

SIMPSON BAY–The fourth edition of the annual Caribbean Aviation CaribAvia Meetup Conference officially opened in the Simpson Bay Resort and Marina conference room on Tuesday morning and will continue until Thursday.

“St. Maarten is actively engaged in redeveloping its tourism product post-[Hurricane – Ed.] Irma and the aviation industry, and in particular the reconstruction of Princess Juliana International Airport to include US Pre-Clearance, is paramount.

“Considering the importance of air transport to the future of our tourism economy, forums such as Caribbean Aviation Meetup provide our people with access to vital information that will aid in the redevelopment of Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) to meet and improve our aviation standards,” stated Minister responsible for Aviation Affairs Stuart Jonson during his opening address.

He informed conference attendees that the Department of Civil Aviation and Maritime Services in St. Maarten is working towards regaining its Category 1 status. This will create new opportunities for local carriers to enter into interline agreements with

US-based carriers for connection of travellers to neighbouring islands from the United States mainland. This forms part of St. Maarten’s strategic plan for further development of PJIA’s hub function and service to the region.

“Whether travelling leisurely for vacation or business, aviation activity generates tremendous economic benefits for the people of the Caribbean, and in particular a tourism-dependent destination such as St. Maarten. Therefore, I wish to commend the organisers whose foresight it was to combine the two topics Aviation and Tourism, and establish the Caribbean Aviation Meetup.

“As we look at the impact of globalisation on travel activity, we see aviation as perhaps the largest and still-growing industry which spans so many other industries that rely almost exclusively on accuracy, safety and efficiency in aviation to execute business and make projections for future investments.

“Naturally, since globalisation in the real sense is the transformation of something from one form to a global one, it seems fitting that even in small Caribbean islands, we would want to ensure that the protection and expansion of our aviation industry remains forefront of our economic outlook and planning for the Caribbean’s stability.

“Connectivity and reliability, leisure and business travel, cargo access and transhipment services are constantly experiencing innovations in technology to make it easier for us to tap into services, and we must remain on the forefront of these advances in technology,” said Johnson.

The conference has representatives from 24 countries and territories of North and Central America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean in attendance. One of speakers is Joao Gabriel Amado, President of United Tour Operators Foundation and the Chief Executive Officer/founder of “Island-Sightseeing” brand in South Florida and the Caribbean, as well as the Iberian-Tours brand in Lisbon, Portugal.

“St. Maarten has a unique opportunity to rewrite its aviation policy and plan for an even-more-active role in Caribbean aviation as we rebuild our airport. We do not have to reinvent the wheel, because thankfully we have been able to gather some of the greatest minds in the aviation industry here today, whom we will simply not leave without giving us their insights on some of the best practices that St. Maarten must incorporate into its rebuilding plans for PJIA and aviation in general,” concluded Johnson.

Source: The Daily Herald