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Caribbean ministers discuss airline connectivity
Published on February 28, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Cayman Islands minister for tourism and transport, Moses Kirkconnell, said that the need for stronger partnerships and improved connectivity and cooperation between regional governments and airlines was a key topic for discussion at the 2014 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Conference for the Americas.

At the ministerial round-table meeting on air connectivity held on February19, it was noted during the lead presentation that opportunities existed for “states and relevant international organizations to take a broad homogenous and sustainable approach to air transport and tourism policy.”

Commenting on the outcomes of the discussion, Kirkconnell noted, “The region designated as Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Caribbean stretches from Cuba, across the Islands of the Eastern Caribbean and also includes The Bahamas, Belize in Central America and Guyana and Suriname in South America. Although considerable variations exist between these states with respect to their size and level of development, it is clearly evident that the majority share similar concerns regarding airlift, capacity, connectivity and the cost of intraregional travel.”

“Discussions focused on whether the Caribbean could derive greater benefit as a ‘global destination’ if individual strengths could be harnessed boosting the level of cooperation that exists between regional governments and airlines. By way of example, this could pave the way for improvements in regional airline code sharing, ground handling and interline e-ticketing, among others,” Kirkconnell added.

The meeting was organised by the Bahamian ministry of tourism in collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and brought together government ministers from fifteen countries, as well as officials from regional and international organisations.

Other topics discussed during the two-day meeting focused on tourism as a force for sustainable development, the careful management of limited resources and strengthening the resilience of SIDS tourism in the face of change. A conclusion document is expected to be developed, summarising the outcomes for input to the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which is due to be convened in Samoa in September 2014.
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