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Air Transportation a Critical Factor For CTO Ministers

Air transportation will be a key issue for discussion among Caribbean tourism leaders meeting in New York City during the next two days as part of Caribbean Week activities organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).
Discussion on a Caribbean air transportation study will form part of the business agenda of ministers and commissioners of tourism when they meet at the New York Hilton on Thursday morning. The issue will come up again at the 12th Annual Caribbean Tourism Marketing Workshop and Awards Luncheon on Friday.

“Without reliable, efficient and adequate air transportation at affordable prices the Caribbean cannot be assured of a sustainable tourism industry,” said Arley Sobers, CTO’s acting secretary general. “Because of the Caribbean tourism industry’s overwhelming dependence on air transportation our countries’ economic interests are at risk if airlift to the region is inadequate,” he added.

About 85 percent of airlines operating in Latin America and the Caribbean have had major losses - an estimated US$8 billion between 2001 and 2004, with US$5 billion in 2004 alone despite a more than 18 percent increase in passengers. Also, the regional carriers have lost hundreds of millions of dollars among them.

While the major carriers are reporting losses, with some going into bankruptcy, low cost carriers have revolutionized the way the airline industry does business and have been doing well.

The impacts and implications of all these changes to the airline industry and how they will affect Caribbean tourism will be the focus of the Marketing Workshop, hosted by the CTO Allied Members and the Association of Travel Marketing Executives (ATME).