Major airlift conference with international allure on St. Maarten  



AIRPORT – If there is one thing everyone can agree on, it is that airlift is vital to the Caribbean region. Airlift is a common denominator of the aviation and tourism industries that determines the strength of a country’s economy. Even more reason to get all stakeholders together to find solutions for strengthening and improving that lifeline.

On June 13-15, some 26 speakers from 20 countries/territories and 22 nationalities will gather on St. Maarten for the 2nd annual Caribbean Aviation Meetup conference. Speakers are coming from as far as Switzerland, Russia and New Zealand. Each speaker contributes to the meetings with expertise and experience. The aim is to offer presentations covering all perspectives of airlift, from the aviation as well as the tourism perception. Each conference participant shall walk away with more knowledge, new ideas and with network extensions.

An example how aviation and tourism can be brought together in a unique tourism product is a seaplane operation providing aerial sightseeing tours. Taking off from, and landing on the water is an experience for itself. Amphibious planes can perform both water-based and runway operations. Cessna, one of the major aircraft manufacturers of private aircraft, will fly in a factory new aircraft on floats all the way from Wichita, Kansas, for the conference.

The opportunity? An established seaplane operator from Florida is exploring the prospects of setting up a branch operation in the Caribbean; the location may be determined as a result of the conference. Seaplanes can offer the flexibility and convenience of transporting guests to marinas, beaches, private clubs, residences or even directly to a yacht.

Each conference presentation is an introduction for a discussion. Town-hall-type sessions by engaging speakers with audience interaction are encouraged. Every discussion is a way to better understand, guidance for finding solutions, and a gateway for cooperation.

Some of the variety of subjects to be discussed in 22 sessions are: “What The Caribbean Needs To Pay Attention To” by David Scowsill, President World Tourism Trade Council, London; “US Immigration Pre-Clearance At Airports” by Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, former Minister of Tourism of the Bahamas; “Private Aircraft Charter and its Luxury Tourism Clientele” by Adam Twidel, CEO of PrivateFly, London;             “Online Hotel Promotion and Reservations” by Dimitri Canton, Director of Market Management, Expedia;  “Airport and Airline Route Planning” by Riad Simon, Senior Route Development Manager for seven airports in the Dominican Republic; “Inter-Island Tourism” by Joy Jibrilu, Director General, Ministry of Tourism of the Bahamas; “Benefits Of Air Transport To Economies Worldwide” by Michael Gill, Executive Director, Air Transport Action Group, Geneva, Switzerland.

The 2nd Annual Caribbean Aviation Meetup is hosted by Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA). The conference is appealing to a significant number of professionals from both aviation and tourism industries from the within the region and abroad.

For more information about the conference, look up the line-up of speakers at, and peruse the program as well.