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Johnson: Sint Maarten to host second major conference. Good for the economy

Next week the destination will be hosting the 4th edition of the Annual Caribbean Aviation Meetup Conference which will take place from June 11-13 at the Simpson Bay Resort & Marina.

The conference will bring together stakeholders in aviation and the tourism industry from 24 countries and territories of North and Central America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean to discuss a number of issues such as “Friendly Skies; Liberalizing Airlift in the Caribbean” to 

“Regional Airport Design For A Profit Making Concept”, and from “Re-Energizing Destination Marketing” to “Training And Mentoring To Service A Demanding Clientele” and “U.S. Preclearance”.

Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson said on Friday that he is looking forward to welcoming these industry specialists to the island who will be representing airports, air traffic control centers, destination marketing specialist, airlines and much more.

One of the speakers will be Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, Principal Partner of the Bedford Baker Group, a collection of independent professional advisers offering services in Travel, Tourism and Hospitality. He was Minister of Tourism and Aviation of The Bahamas.

Vanderpool-Wallace will be speaking on the topic: “Friendly Skies: Liberalizing Airlift in the Caribbean.”

“Sint Maarten has become the go-to destination for conferences. This is another major event that we are hosting this month after the conclusion on Friday of the 4th Dutch Caribbean Anti-Money Laundering & Gaming Regulation Forum regional-international conference that brought together more than 100 professionals from banking, legal affairs, law enforcement, regulatory bodies etc. 

“We welcome the confidence that exists in our destination where the organizers of these events have seen how quickly we have recovered and continue to do so, and they want to be a part of the Sint Maarten success as we continue to rebuild and grow again as a destination.

“These conferences benefit our economy by injecting foreign exchange into the country which has a spin-off for local tourism-hospitality oriented businesses,” Hon. Minister Stuart Johnson said on Friday.

Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace told Cdr. Bud Slabbaert, Chairman/Coordinator of the Caribbean Aviation Meetup: “The conference, besides becoming a “must attend” event for some quite influential people, is also covering a subject that the people of the Caribbean are rapidly beginning to realize is critical to their economic and social well-being.

“There is now a Caribbean wide petition being signed to force governments to address these issues as a matter of urgency and recently the Director of Economics of the Caribbean Development Bank is recommending that governments “Tackle regional air travel as one”.

“We have been saying for decades that the Caribbean is the world most tourism dependent region. But we have failed to act on the simple fact that since most of the economic value of tourism comes from the air traveler, the Caribbean is therefore that region of the world’s most dependent on air transportation.

“I think this Meetup will be seen as a most important turning point for our regional economy.”

Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace was Secretary General & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CTO, Caribbean Tourism Organization. According to his bio on the CaribAvia website, he is a much sought after speaker and advisor to both private companies and governments in the tourism and hospitality arena

Vincent has been the principal architect of policies to ensure robust public-private sector cooperation in all of his initiatives as a result of bringing a unique perspective to the growth and development of businesses and destinations that rely on hospitality for their profitability and their economies. His tenure covered the best performing years in Bahamas tourism whether measured by total visitors, by hotel visitors, by cruise visitors, by tourism revenues or by levels of visitor satisfaction.

Vanderpool was named one of the 50 most influential people in Caribbean Tourism in the past 50 years, selected by Fast Company magazine as one of the Fast 50 global champions of innovation, selected as Person of the Year for the Caribbean by Travel Agent magazine named as one of the most extraordinary minds in Hospitality & Travel by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association (HSMAI) and being recognized for Lifetime Achievement by both HSMAI and the Association of Travel Marketing Executives International (ATME). In 2009, he was included in Her Majesty the Queen's Birthday Honours List and awarded a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for his contributions to Tourism. More recently, he was selected to serve as a member of the Executive Committee of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA).

PHOTO: Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace