International transport is the plank on which tourism is built, says Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Lisa Cummins.
The Minister emphasised this on the weekend as she welcomed the Partnership between InterCaribbean Airways and Barbados, during a breakfast meeting at the Abidah Hotel, Christ Church.
While also stating that it was the plank on which an economic development model now had to be built, she gave the assurance that her Ministry and its team remained committed to doing just that.
She noted a number of agencies under the umbrella of the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, such as Caribbean Aircraft Handling and the Civil Aviation Department, had the responsibility for building this out and said: “How are we going to be refashioning and remodelling a Caribbean aircraft handling? They are responsible for regulatory management; they are developing their relationships obviously with InterCaribbean having already created a Southern and Eastern hub from here in Barbados out of Turks & Caicos.
“And, we have the Grantley Adams International Airport, as well, and a key element now, in discussion with Grantley Adams International Airport, is what will a new-look GAIA reflect for Barbados that will make us hard to beat.”
Describing the initiative with InterCaribbean Airways as an “amazing one”, Ms. Cummins said one of the things her team was working through with the Barbados Tourism and Marketing Inc. and airline partners was the development of a southern aviation hub given that transportation was the plank on which everything must be anchored.
As she noted that International Transport would soon have a new model to drive the development of the aviation and international transportation sectors here, she explained the need for this. Ms. Cummins said:
“Now what does that mean for all of you? It means that we open new gateways, as we find new partners, as we open new routes and as we bring new international parties to the table and allow them to participate in what is going to be hard to beat for anywhere else. All the downstream services benefit.”
Referring to the accommodation sector, she said with increased visitor arrivals, this would bring with it increased accommodations and equally, all of the down-stream services such as restaurants, taxi services that are driven by increased visitor arrivals would benefit.
Speaking to the partnership with InterCaribbean, she said the country stood also to benefit from investment in flight maintenance, investment in private aircraft services; investment in flight school training and the development of new skills; and new services that create employment opportunities for Barbadians and that allow us to export skills and services that have been developed as a niche area that may not already exist in Barbados.
“And, that is connected to our education thrust in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport. We’re pleased to say that we have already met with all of the tertiary level institutions in Barbados and we have already begun to explore the international best practice tertiary level institutions including top level polytechnic institutes to be able to create those relationships and those partnerships that would develop new skills in Barbados.
“So, before you may have heard of aeronautical engineers and you would hear of a range of services upstream and downstream in aviation and international transportation.
But how do we service a partner like InterCaribbean with your planes and your fleet, right here in Barbados, if we don’t have the capacity for the skills and
services to provide that; how are we going to be able to create employment?” she asked. InterCaribbean Airways, which launched their new service on August 4, offers direct travel from Dominica, St. Lucia and Grenada, with plans to further expand shortly.