Antigua and Barbuda's Prime Minister Gaston Browne has urged regional governments to undertake much needed infrastructural reforms to deliver sustainable air transportation in the region.
“It is also fundamental to the overall economic growth and resilience, especially in the tourism sector, (of) those countries that are heavily dependent on tourism," Brown said.
Browne also stressed that reliable air transport connectivity in the region is quintessential to the movement of people and goods, according to Caribbean 360.
“One of the solutions that I am proposing is a subvention by all countries within the region, certainly within the OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States) and Barbados…We have to see the subsidy as an investment in our tourism product, an investment in the integration of our people, to move goods, to move people and to ensure that the integration process works,” he said.
He emphasized that the reduction of regional airport taxes and service charges are critical components of the reforms needed to boost travel and tourism.
The CDB's director of economics, Dr. Justim Ram, also spoke at the seminar.
“Looking at the current state of aviation, we have seen that extra-regional travel has increased over the period 2007 to 2016. However, intra-regional travel has declined. There are a number of reasons for that, including high costs, high taxes, fees and charges, inefficient use of assets such as airports and aircraft and an inadequate regulatory environment,” he said.