USVI Commissioner/CTO Chairman Beverly Nicholson-Doty’s Remarks at Caribbean Aviation Day

Special thanks to the Aviation Conference Organizers, including our friends at IATA

Thanks to Brian Challenger and Jennifer Barrow for the work you have done on the Aviation Task Force over the past two years.

Thank you also to all of you for the commitment you have made (and continue to make) to resolve longstanding concerns and for being determined to keep this issue at the forefront of our regional discussions.

Message

Our progress has been slow but steady.

The fact that the Task Force is still in effect and expanding its communication mandate is a notable success.

Speaking of accomplishments – even while recognizing this is only a partial victory – I must acknowledge the success on the Air Passenger Duty (APD) and acknowledge the work of two former CTO Board Chairs Minister Richard Skerritt of St. Kitts and Nevis, and former Minister John Maginley of Antigua and Barbuda. Minister Skerritt continues to be at the forefront of this struggle and as a region we are indebted to him.

As we meet here this week we trust that our dialogue stimulates some actions that will enhance tourism in the region.

Implementation of a Caribbean system similar to Europe’s where visitors who are cleared at the initial port of entry can continue traveling seamlessly throughout most the European Union.

Standardized entry and exit cards across the Caribbean to help reduce costs and improve the customer experience.

The establishment of relationships between local, regional and international airlines to share best practices in working within the region and foster the common goal of an enhanced customer experience.

True public-private sector partnerships that provide marketing support for regional airlines linked to growth and enhanced customer experience.

Establishment of regional hubs that provide greater efficiency for air service while providing service to smaller markets where investment in new airports or significant enhancements in the aviation infrastructure is cost prohibitive or simply isn’t a good investment of limited funds.

Closing

Like most of us in this room, I can speak on aviation for the entire week. However, today we don’t want lectures, we want an exchange and dialogue to move this aviation issue to a higher level.

So I am going to close with the sincere hope that we accomplish some real objectives at today’s conference and throughout this week.

We must remain diligent about addressing the issues of aviation in our region as if our lives depended on it – and in fact, our livelihoods do depend on our aerial highways.

Thank you; again welcome to the Virgin Islands and to St. Thomas, the capital of our Territory.



 

 

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