The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association (SLHTA), Noorani Azeez, has expressed concern over the situation regarding regional air travel.
The Independent Senator acknowledged that regional travel had experienced challenges for some time.
But Azeez told reporters Thursday it was encouraging to hear some carriers’ commitment at the highest levels to improving regional commuter service.
Recently, Guyana Honorary Consul in Antigua and Barbuda, Robert Reis, called for InterCaribbean Airways to improve its service.
Reis spoke amid reports of flight delays, cancellations, and a failure to compensate affected Antigua, Barbados, Saint Lucia, and Guyana travellers.
The carrier said it was working to improve.
Noorani Azeez said delays do nothing good for the tourism industry and business travellers.
He also explained that regional visitors significantly impact smaller and mid-sized properties.
“Our regional tourism arrivals are something we have been keeping our eyes on. There is significant room for improvement,” the SLHTA official stated.
“Sadly, the offerings are not very competitive regionally right now. There is not sufficient competition among these carriers, and so for far too long regional commuters have just been sadly at the mercy of the inefficiencies of aircraft carriers,” Azeez declared.
He hoped more could be done at a regional level to address those issues.
Azeez also spoke of the need to address the matter of taxation, which affects not only leisure travellers’ movements but citizens wishing to move from country to country.
“I think in this day and age when we are trying to encourage that integration and that cross-fertilization of ideas, it is important that we restrict these things, that we remove these restrictions because they are just prohibitive to travel,” he told reporters.