Some of the most creative minds in Caribbean and international tourism will come together to seek a solution to the challenges facing intra-regional transportation.

{FILE IMAGE – GUYANA} Intra-regional travel has been beset by high fares and inadequate access, among other challenges – problems which tourism officials contend, hinder development of the important regional tourism market.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has planned a special session at the upcoming State of the Industry Conference in St. Kitts to examine the issue and come up with possible answers. The session, “The Challenge of Regional Transportation – Where is the Solution?”, will not be limited to air transportation, but will also examine sea transportation as a means to connect some of the destinations.

“Regional travel is a focal point of concern for our member-countries. The volume of intra-regional visitors generated among our members annually is close to 1.5 million. But that number is decreasing and it a major concern to us,” said Hugh Riley, CTO’s secretary general. “Caribbean people are longing for a service that is convenient, reliable and affordable. 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.”

The latest figures compiled by the CTO research division show that in 2011, nearly 1.5 million Caribbean nationals visited neighbouring regional destinations, a 3.2 per cent rise over 2010 when intra-regional travel resulted in just under 1.4 million arrivals. However, the 2011 figures were well below those of 2007 when there were 1,536,000 arrivals.

{FILE IMAGE: Hugh Riley, CTO’s secretary general} A special session on regional transportation planned for CTO State of the Industry Conference in St. Kitts 10 to12 October 2012

The session on regional transportation will take place from 3:00 to 5:00 pm on Thursday 11 October and will be moderated by Holly Hegeman, an experienced airline industry analyst and publisher of PlaneBusiness Banter, a weekly financial subscriber publication of the airline industry.

The State of the Industry Conference – three days of provocative discussions and spirited debates about the biggest issues affecting the region’s primary revenue earner – will be held from 10-12 October at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort & Spa. The conference, which has as its theme, “Developing a Winning Tourism Strategy”, is organized by the CTO in collaboration with the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism and the St. Kitts Tourism Authority.

It brings together some of the industry’s most creative thinkers and doers and is especially suited for ministers, commissioners and directors of tourism; hoteliers, tourism attractions, public officials and anyone with an interest in tourism.

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