NEW YORK --- Caribbean Tourism Organization representatives, meeting here June 1 to 6 for Caribbean Week, formed an Air Transportation Services Committee to study route structures, airline incentives, airport policies and the needs of regional airlines.

Pamela Richards, tourism minister for the U.S. Virgin Islands, will head the committee.

"We want to encourage new routes and keep existing routes," Richards said.

The committee's formation was one of a series of steps the organization took as 32 Caribbean tourism ministers convened for the week-long session to help reinvent the CTO. The annual Caribbean Tourism Conference in the Bahamas in October mandated that the CTO take steps to respond to the changing global environment.

Obie Wilchombe, CTO chairman and Bahamas minister of tourism, detailed several actions taken the group took during Caribbean Week.

" Newly formed technical committees, chaired by individual tourism ministers, will focus on cruises, marketing, research and information management, sustainable tourism development and funding, air transportation and human resources," Wilchombe said.

" A task force to work with the West Indies Cricket Board will deal with preparations for the World Cricket Cup, which will be held in various Caribbean venues in April and May, 2007, and which is expected to reach an audience of 1.7 billion TV viewers and to bring thousands of spectators to the region," the CTO chairman added.

Caribbean Week included public appearances by the Royal Barbados Police Band, Mocko Jumbie dancers from the U.S. Virgin Islands, a Caribbean Fair at Bowling Green Park in lower Manhattan, cooking demonstrations in Macy's, an exhibit of paintings and sculptures by Caribbean artists at South Street Seaport and an interfaith celebration.

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