Statement by the Caribbean Tourism Organization on the pending strike by British Airways cabin crew

Ministry of Tourism…March 17, 2010 – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) continues to monitor closely developments in the current dispute between British Airways and the union representing its cabin crew.

CTO is concerned about the potential impact on our business of the pending strike by the cabin crew, scheduled for 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 and 30 March 2010. However we are encouraged by BA’s responsiveness to the Caribbean and by the contingency plans the airline has instituted to protect the business.

The UK remains an important market for the Caribbean. The Region receives 1.4 million tourists from the UK annually, representing 25 per cent of all European arrivals, and six per cent of total arrivals.

Many of our CTO member-countries are in fact highly dependent on the UK market. For example, 39 per cent of tourist arrivals to Barbados are from the UK.

Other islands where UK visitors are a significant part of total arrivals include: Antigua (34%), Montserrat (29%) Grenada (28%), St. Lucia (29%), St. Vincent & the Grenadines (18%), Bermuda (11%) and Jamaica (11%).

BA has assured CTO that it has robust contingency plans in place and that flights to the Caribbean are not expected to be disrupted by the pending strike. This means that BA flights to and from the following destination are expected to operate as normal:

Antigua; Barbados; Bermuda; Grenada; Kingston and Montego Bay, Jamaica; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; St. Kitts; Saint Lucia; Tobago & Trinidad.

The airline has also advised CTO that it is considering its options for Nassau, The Bahamas; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands and Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands.

It has also assured CTO that it will do all that it can to protect the travel plans of its customers to the entire region.

Our Secretary General will continue to stay in close touch with BA’s senior management to get the latest position.

We hope that talks between the union and the airline resume as soon as possible and that a resolution can be found that will satisfy all sides.

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