Common sense in terms of airport
security and immigration is essential, according to a top tourism professional.
Alex Sanguinetti is the
director-general of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association. In a fiery
speech, he told a panel of aviation experts at the recent Caribbean Tourism
Organisation’s Leadership Strategy Conference in Barbados that the current
airport experience throughout the Caribbean was putting people off travelling.
“I have heard potential visitors
internationally say that they are not going anywhere when they have to fly
because there is too much harassment,” said the hotel expert, who added that
talk of implementing high-tech security systems was not wholly relevant.
Get to the ground
Referring to a recent flight to
Barbados from Miami, he said that there were six aeroplanes landing at the
Caribbean airport within an hour and a half.
“In the terminal there are 12
booths and three people working… you need to get to the ground on this,
He compared his experience to a
recent visit to Beijing when 36 immigration booths were all occupied with
staff. Mr. Sanguinetti was of the opinion that throughout the Caribbean there
were inconsistencies in the security screening process which needed to be
addressed. The hotel body chief posited that a global standard for safety and
security would help matters and that the Caribbean had an opportunity to set
itself apart by working together to achieve a common security standard.
A security strategy had been
implemented in 2007, said Lynne Anne Williams, the executive director of the
Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security, She added
that the responsibility needed to be shared by international, regional and
national authorities, with security reaching all the way down to venue operators.
“The value and priority of
information and intelligence sharing and forewarning systems that need to be in
place to share information… was an important imperative.
“We now have integrated databases
and watch lists, and excellent productive functional relationships and
integration of the authorities across the region,” she said.
Ms Williams added that immigrations
and customs across the region were working closer together than they had before
but it could not work unless there was political will to integrate the