The time is right for Barbados to transform its tourism sector says Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, highlighting that aviation must be at the forefront of that endeavor.
At the recent Barbados Aviation Industry Forum, Senator Cummins said that in 2020, an aviation team was put together and tasked with developing a framework to improve tourism and its future in a post-COVID world.
“We cannot be limited by seeing only that which is right before us and our immediate needs as we see them now at the expense of that long-range view that oftentimes forces us to see where we are more clearly and objectively, gets us uncomfortable with where we are, and forces us in this room to be agents of change and transformation,” Minister Cummins said.
The Senator explained that the success of enhancing Barbados tourism and aviation would have to do with the help of the government to move things forward. She said the government would need to be willing to transform its own way of thinking and take risks by laying the groundwork with funding and new regulations and technology in the tourism and aviation sector.
A major initiative that is part of the plan is in the proposal for the formation of a Barbados Aviation Centre of Excellence (BACE).
This Centre would work to move air transportation forward and include goals of making the island country a cargo hub and developing better maintenance and repair services for aircraft, as well as enhancing business and VIP services.
“I want us as partners to take that high-level view of flying over a country as we craft a vision for aviation because often times looking down and seeing it all laid out before us gives us a perspective that we cannot see when we are on the ground dealing only with practical day to day routine matters,” the Minister stated.
“But beyond what we have been working on for aviation, we also need to look at the broader logistics position we want to assume in the Southern Caribbean. We already look at how people move seamlessly in air-to-sea corridor for cruise tourism. What is our opportunity to create a new model for integrating maritime cargo and air cargo also as a seamless model?
“We are committed to getting there and that is why you see the GAIA and the Bridgetown Port along with Caribbean Aircraft Handling along with BAASEC in close collaboration along with our consultants on our logistics framework, anchored by world class and seaports. We are taking that high level view, and I need you, the leaders in this room from the public and private sectors, to walk that road with us.”
Senator Cummins, who is also the Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, is a proponent of the Caribbean region having a regional carrier. A meeting has been requested with all Tourism Ministers at the upcoming International Air Transport Association (IATA) forum in September to discuss regional travel, challenges in the tourism and aviation sector, and potential partnerships.