Former Tourism Minister, Philip J. Pierre, has asserted that there must be greater ease of travel in the Caribbean.
“I am not speaking about travel in terms of transportation,” Pierre told the Times.
Pierre expressed the view that the administrative procedures involved, including filling forms can also be eased.
“I agree that there also ought to be an easier way to get around the region,” he told the Times, recalling that he has made that point before.
Pierre noted that there are a number of studies on dealing with how travel should be eased.
“There is no need for any new study or any new consultation, what there is need for is to implement the studies that have taken place – that is the crux of the matter,” he asserted.
Pierre said the issue of taxes has also been spoken about for years.
“Caribbean governments have found that the easiest way of raising revenue is through taxes – the same governments who complain bitterly about the airport tax in England, they tax their own countries, their own travel,” he stated.
The former Tourism Minister was of the opinion that the situation can be resolved, but would take political will and the will to follow through on the advice that has been given to the governments.
“There’s no need for new studies, because the solutions are there, we just need the political will to follow through,” he explained.
Pierre’s comments came as the President of the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC) David Scowsill s warned Caribbean governments of the need to take urgent action to remove aviation and visa restrictions, which he said were serving as major impediments to the development of the tourism sector.
Scowsill told the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC), which ended here last weekend, that he remains “astonished” that after decades of discussion and negotiations among Caribbean States, intra-regional travel remains amazingly unproductive.