SAN JUAN -- The
need for a single airspace and a common civil aviation regime
culminated in the creation of the San Juan Accord, according to
secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
"A single Caribbean
airspace is what we envision with many more efficient hubs to
enable travelers to move around the region with ease on a two- or
three-island vacation in a single trip," Vanderpool-Wallace said at
the close of the 30th annual Caribbean Tourism Conference
general pointed out that the creation of the San Juan Accord, so
named because it came out of the CTC which was held in San Juan,
resulted from intense discussions involving ministers of tourism,
CTO's board of directors, civil aviation and regional tourism and
aviation officials to restructure the regional air transport sector
to offer the best prospects for safe, secure and sustainable
airlift in the Caribbean.
details remain to be worked out, including the coordination of
different airspaces that now exist within the Caribbean,
Vanderpool-Wallace described the action "as the most significant
achievement to come out of this conference and one that will enable
the Caribbean as a whole to grow our business and make moving
around the region much easier for our visitors."
Another facet of
the air transportation issue in the Caribbean will be explorations
of a single entry visa for visitors who are now required to have
entry visas for many individual countries in the region.
The single visa was
used with success by nine Caribbean countries during the Cricket
World Cup tournament last spring.
Other highlights of
The CTO officially launched its new Web site at www.caribbeantravel.com (a similar site aimed at the
U.K. and European markets will debut before the end of the year at
There are plans to
launch the site in other languages, including a "video-heavy" site
for the Chinese market, according to Vanderpool-Wallace.
The new site
contains a consumer booking engine for air and hotel reservations,
but has links pointing consumers to Caribbean Travel Specialists,
or travel agents specializing in Caribbean travel.
Also on the site
are links to each individual country's official Web site as well as
listings of hotels, attractions, activities, events and the
currency of each country.
" According to Vanderpool-Wallace,
the CTO is eyeing the Chinese market as a potentially viable source
of new travelers for the Caribbean and plans to open an office in
Beijing with a CTO representative before the Beijing Olympics next
"We hope to
showcase the Caribbean during the Olympics by profiling Caribbean
athletes on mass media TV and other outlets," Vanderpool-Wallace
" In addition, the CTO plans to
establish a Caribbean Sustainable Fund to tackle the issue of
climate change and sustainability.
"Such subjects are
tasks too large for individual countries to tackle but the region
as a whole is encouraged by the possibility of accomplishing this
under one Caribbean zone," the secretary general said.
individuals will be able to make donations and contributions to the
fund via a link on the new Web site.
contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].