The burning and vexing issue of affordable and reliable intra-regional travel through the Caribbean will be the focus of attention when the new LIAT CEO, Captain Ian Brunton, makes his maiden appearance at the region’s premier tourism gathering this week.
Mr. Brunton, who took over the helm of the regional carrier at the beginning of August, will join a panel of creative thinkers and doers at the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s State of the Industry Conference being held at St. Kitts from 10 to 12 October.
The panel is seeking to identify solutions to a problem which has plagued Caribbean travellers for a number of years. LIAT stands for Leeward Islands Air Transport and provides services mostly within the Eastern Caribbean.
Intra-regional travel has been beset by high fares and inadequate access, among other challenges, which tourism officials contend hinder development of the important regional tourism sector.
“Regional travel is a focal point of concern for our member countries,” said Hugh Riley, the organisation’s secretary general.
“Caribbean people are longing for a service that is convenient, reliable and affordable.”
The secretary general added that there is a perception that it is often cheaper to travel from the Caribbean to the United States than from one Caribbean country to another.
“There’s something wrong with that. For this and other reasons, the topic is of critical importance,” he explained.