‘Our inter-regional trade is down 22 per cent. That’s a lot’
So disclosed Peter ODLE. Bajan hotelier and President of the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), at their annual conference in Miami yesterday (Tuesday 19th June 2007).
‘Already what has happened (with the impending merger of LIAT and Caribbean Star) is that (they) have reduced from 30 aircraft a week to approximately 14 aircraft. They have reduced the flight schedule by almost 40 per cent throughout the region’ said Odle.
After the Barbadian taxpayer has already ploughed over $40 million into LIAT according to the Prime Minister, the current high airfare levels are killing intra regional travel.
Mr Odle adds ‘Present airfares will keep Caribbean vacation travellers at home and will deter island hopping by foreign visitors who might have wanted to visit a neighbouring island or two during their holiday’.
Just how many more of the region’s tourism industry leaders have to voice their extreme concern before ‘our’ Tourism Minister is galvanised into action?
Based on average stay and spend, the Government of Barbados loses more than US$128 in VAT revenue alone for each Caribbean traveller that doesn’t grace our shores.
If ‘we’ (Barbados) are also down around 22 per cent in regional long stay visitor arrivals, it does not take a rocket scientist to calculate the overall national loss in tourism revenue to the country.
Add to this the reduced number of US visitors so far this year and ‘we’ have a problem!
See Regional trade falls after airline trouble Trinidad Express, Wednesday 20th June 2007.
Photo: LIAT does a “Bob Hoover” on short final for the last time