By Linda Hohnholz, eTN editor, eTurboNews.com
Mr. Bartlett was reiterating his stance that multi-destination vacation was the answer to sustaining tourism in the Caribbean and the need for a regional airline to support it. “We have to look at harmonizing the protocols in relation to the use of our airspace so that on entering the Caribbean airspace we could be domestic to all of the other countries that are part of this partnership,” he said in an interview at the Bunker’s Hill community tourism attraction.
The Tourism Minister conceded:
“It’s a little tall order.”
“It also requires a strong political will and I think that CARICOM will have to play a very significant role in all of this.” He is assured however, that “it’s not beyond us because we started it out when we had World Cup Cricket (in 2007) and we had a Caribbean visa and we even had a Caribbean passport,” he said.
Minister Bartlett said the proposal did not entail a change of immigration protocols, “we’re merely asking for a change in visitor facilitation to enable more visitors to come into the Caribbean and to stimulate the region’s economy.”
The proposal for multi-destination travel in the Caribbean and a dedicated regional airline was presented to by Minister Bartlett to a host of Ministers of Tourism, Permanent Secretaries and other officials at a High-Level Policy Forum for building the resilience of small tourism enterprises in the Caribbean to disasters, hosted by the Organization of American States, at the Holiday Inn Resort.
Several presentations were made at the forum and Minister Bartlett who is Chairman of the OAS Inter-American Committee on Tourism (CITUR), said these would be collated by the OAS “and we will have distributed to member states best practices that came out of this. We also will be able to use data from it to create critical tools to assist in better managing and in building resilience particularly among our small and medium enterprises.”
The two-day forum ended with delegates being taken on a field trip to Bunker’s Hill in the Trelawny interior, described by Minister Bartlett as “one of the few diverse experiences that a visitor can get under the rubric of community tourism, nestled as it is in the heart of the Cockpit Country valley.”