“Recover, Reconnect, Revive.”
That is the theme of this year’s Caribbean Aviation Day, and it is what travel and tourism pros intend to do this week in the Cayman Islands, where a high-profile conference is underway.
From now until Sept. 15, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism is bringing together senior aviation executives, government leaders and media to discuss opportunities and challenges in the Caribbean and identify ways of rebuilding a more competitive air sector in a post-COVID world.
The event, which PAX is covering on location from The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, is a collaborative effort between the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
In addition to marking the fourth annual Caribbean Aviation Day, happening on Sept. 14, the week’s program also includes insight from the CTO’s business meetings and updates from the Caribbean Tourism Youth Congress.
Destinations in the spotlight
Journalists flew into Grand Cayman on Sunday (Sept. 11), arriving at Owen Roberts International Airport, where flags were flying half-mast out of respect for the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
Today (Sept. 12), a day-long press conference is taking place, giving tourism ministers from Caribbean destinations a platform to share key destination updates.
The Cayman Islands, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize and Grenada are among the many nations participating in the briefings.
IATA’s global Aviation Days are known for their engaging subject matter, inspiring speakers, lively debate and networking opportunities.
Individuals who are scheduled to speak this week include Kenneth Bryan, Minister for Tourism and Transport for the Cayman Islands; Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica; Lisa R. Cummins, Minister Tourism and International Transport, Barbados; Rafael Echevarne, director general, Airport Council International - Latin America and the Caribbean; Felipe Bonifatti, director general – South America & Caribbean, Lufthansa Group – and several other government and airline leaders.
(Click here to see the complete schedule).
A “pivotal juncture for the Caribbean”
Topics of the week will range from sustainability to multi-destination tourism to infrastructure investments to best practices for reducing aviation-related fees and taxes.
“This conference aims to bring together the most connected professionals and government ministers in our region to discuss issues the aviation and tourism travel industries currently face. I am hopeful that we will come away with new ideas, strengthened alliances and with the best solutions which benefit the region as a whole,” said Peter Cerdá, IATA's regional vice-president for the Americas, who is also presenting this week.
In between speeches and panel discussions, media in attendance will explore some of the Cayman Islands’ best tourism assets, from its crystal caves and botanical parks to historic sites, like Pedro St. James, to its popular stingray boat tour.
Neil Walters, the CTO’s acting secretary general, noted how the conference arrives at a “pivotal juncture for the Caribbean.”
“…especially as the region confronts the challenges of air travel and the sustainability of the tourism sector, in the wake of the last two years,” Walters said.
“A gathering of minds at this high-level augurs well for the sector and represents a major step in the right direction towards solving these challenges.”
Stay tuned as PAX brings you more on-location coverage from IATA and the CTO’s conference in the Cayman Islands.