By Bud Slabbaert
ST. MAARTEN — The 4th annual Caribbean Aviation Meetup conference will be held June 11-13 on St. Maarten/St. Martin. The conference is hosted by the tourism authorities of the two sides of the island, and is supported by a number of major international aviation companies.
The Caribbean Aviation Meetup conference, “CARIBAVIA” for short, is a results and solutions oriented communication platform for stakeholders of airlift which are the aviation and tourism industries.
The topics of the 30 sessions will vary from “Friendly Skies; Liberalizing Airlift in the Caribbean” to
“Regional Airport Design For A Profit Making Concept”, and from “Re-Energizing Destination Marketing” to “Training And Mentoring To Service A Demanding Clientele” and “U.S. Preclearance”. Essential subjects related to airports, air traffic, service optimization, destination marketing, tourism development and more will be discussed in an environment of interaction during the sessions and networking around the event.
“Over the past four years the Meetup has been getting increased international interest by experts, professionals, and major players of the aviation industry. CARIBAVIA has become a brand for a unique conference format,” comments Cdr. Bud Slabbaert the Chairman and Coordinator of the conference, “The event will be further developed to justify its reputation as the most important airlift conference in the region.”
Participants will join the 3-day event from 24 countries/territories of North and Central America, Europe and Africa, as well as the various Caribbean countries. Participants are typically professionals of the aviation industry (airports, airlines, charter brokers, FBO, other aviation service providers), the tourism industry (tourism boards) and government authority representatives. Eight international aviation and travel journalists are accredited to cover the event.
“The conference, besides becoming a ‘must-attend’ event for some quite influential people, is also covering a subject that the people of the Caribbean are rapidly beginning to realize is critical to their economic and social well-being,” comments Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, Caribavia Board Member and former Minister of Aviation and Tourism of the Bahamas as well as former CEO of the Caribbean Tourism Organization. “We have been saying for decades that the Caribbean is the world most tourism dependent region. But we have failed to act on the simple fact that since most of the economic value of tourism comes from the air traveler, the Caribbean is therefore that region of the world’s most dependent on air transportation. I think this Meetup will be seen as a most important turning point for our regional economy.”
The conference venue is the Simpson Bay Resort on St. Maarten, the Dutch side of the island, where the sessions on the first and third day, as well as the social events will take place. On the second conference day the sessions will be held at Grand Case airport of St. Martin, French side, and an exclusive ‘summit’ on luxury tourism for a limited number of participants will be held and hosted by St. Barth. During the Awards Dinner, six professionals will be presented with the Sapphire Pegasus Award for their outstanding performance in the field of Business Aviation. There will also be Air Traffic Control Tower tours at St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport.
Further information may be found at the CARIBAVIA website at www.caribavia.com. q