Caribbean Aviation Meetup opens in The Bahamas
Tourism and Aviation officials from 28 countries and territories are in The Bahamas this week for the third annual Caribbean Aviation Meetup.
The event, dubbed the region’s largest aviation conference, which is being hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, is scheduled from June 12-14.
The key objective of the meetup is to find new ways to increase airlift into the region.
During the opening ceremony yesterday at Atlantis Paradise Island, Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar said he was pleased that The Bahamas was selected as the location for the conference.
“I think that it is a wonderful opportunity to bring experts in the field of aviation to talk to all our different governmental groups. I’m very encouraged because it was a great turnout and I think a lot can be learned from this conference because it is the way that visitors who spend the most get here. The airlift customer to The Bahamas spends 20 times more, and so this is the component of our tourism product that we want to encourage,” he said.
Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority Captain Charles Beneby shared similar sentiments.
He said that the conference is a timely one.
“This conference is important because it brings all the stakeholders together with a common vision. The Caribbean is one of the fastest-growing areas of the aviation sector. That growth has to be done in an orderly fashion so that it is sustainable,” Beneby said.
“We are hoping that the airlines can see The Bahamas as a place where they can do business in a profitable manner, and for us, it allows us to showcase our capabilities in the country and as we try to reach out to our partners in the region, we can attempt to have harmonization for the visitor experience.”
Chairman and coordinator of the Caribbean Aviation Meetup Commander Bud Slabbaert said he was happy to bring the conference to The Bahamas.
“This is an excellent location because we are close to the United States and close to Florida, and we have a lot of American companies that want to reach out to the Caribbean region, and The Bahamas is a great place to do that,” he said.
“This is a communication platform, and it is result and solution-oriented. This is what we want – a platform where everyone learns something from it.”
Countries participating in the conference include Anguilla, Antigua, The Bahamas, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, Canada, Commonwealth of Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Jamaica, Luxemburg, Nevis, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Saba, St. Barts, St. Eustatius, St. Lucia, St. Maarten/St. Martin, St. Vincent, Suriname, Switzerland, Trinidad, Turks and Caicos Islands, the United Kingdom, the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
There are 40 presenters scheduled for the event, including Director General of Tourism Joy Jibrilu and Managing Director of Bahamasair Tracey Cooper, as well as other local and international tourism and aviation professionals.