Action plan agreed by stakeholders to improve OECS intra-regional travel

Castries, St. Lucia, CMC — The establishment of a “One STOP Security Check” system has been identified among the measures to be undertaken to improve intra-regional travel within the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

A statement issued by the St. Lucia-based OECS Commission Tuesday said that the recommendation was the consensus reached on practical solutions to address issues inhibiting the optimal expansion of intra-OECS travel.

The OECS Commission said that tourism and civil aviation, airline representatives and regulators, as well as regional and international organisations, met in Antigua earlier this month to discuss and validate the findings emerging from a previous study commissioned by the OECS to empirically investigate the key factors that inhibit the growth of intra-regional travel.

It said the study had to “add critical value to work already undertaken on the air transportation sector in the region and should offer viable, practical resolutions to the challenges related to air transportation”.

The statement said that the meeting in Antigua deliberated on the dynamics of the OECS intra-regional travel market, airline net work connectivity, the structure of airfares, as well as legal and regulatory framework.

It said that these discussions culminated in general consensus on practical solutions to address issues inhibiting the optimal expansion of intra-OECS travel, some of which include adjustments to OECS destination product and promotion strategies to attract increased visitation from neighbouring islands.

There was also need for arriving at a feasible approach to the reduction of taxes, fees and charges (TFC’s) on airline tickets for Intra-OECS travel, based on sound financial and economic analyses undertaken jointly by the OECS Commission, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and ministries of finance in the OECS countries.

The meeting also agreed on the establishment of a one Stop Security Check system and the development of an OECS MASA (Multilateral Air Services Agreement) consistent with Article 19.8 of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre, which calls for the establishment of a single Economic Union Area Air Space.

The meeting was funded by the European Union.

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