President of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), Julia Simpson says it’s time the Caribbean has its own airline, praising Antigua and Barbuda for a 50 % reduction on airline tickets for travel within CARICOM countries.
“More countries need to follow in these footsteps. In fact, by the Caribbean adopting some common policies, it will make the whole of the region much more powerful,” she stated.
Simpson was speaking at International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Caribbean Aviation Day in the Cayman Islands last week.
“I know it’s been discussed for many years but the Caribbean needs to act as an entity to build capacity (that will) benefit everyone. Demand is there and I believe investors are there too,” said.
Simpson also called for lower air taxes to drive business and investment. “We know that this stimulates customer demand while making it more commercially viable for the airlines to operate,” Simpson said.
She did not fall short of praising the Antigua and Barbuda government for announcing a 50 percent reduction in taxes on airline tickets for travel within several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries.
Meanwhile, Barbados’ Minister of Tourism and International Transport Senator Lisa Cummins, told the meeting that despite global airlift challenges, Barbados is forecast to return to 80 percent of 2019 visitation levels by the end of this year, a conservative estimate, she explained.
“While all of Barbados’ source markets have shown a relatively consistent recovery pattern since traffic began returning in mid-2021, the U.K. has been the strongest performer this year.
Ensuring that resilience is built into the destination’s recovery strategy, Barbados is making a push into emerging markets such as Latin America, while continuing to strengthen lift from traditional markets in Europe and North America,” she said.
Cummins said that Wyndham Sam Lord’s Castle will open this December and spoke of the impressive performance of the Sandals Barbados and Sandals Royal Barbados properties.
The Barbados tourism minister also announced the cruise sector was returning in a meaningful way, with a promising winter season on the horizon.