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American Airlines and Sandals Resorts International Meet to Discuss Regional Airlift

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World’s Leading All Inclusive Company continues efforts to drive the recovery of Caribbean Tourism

A landmark meeting between top executives of American Airlines (AA) and Sandals Resorts International (SRI) took place at the American Airlines Headquarters in Dallas, Texas on June 27th, and comes at a time when the regional tourism and hospitality sector along with several CARICOM governments are working hard to restore airlift to the Caribbean after the fallout from the COVID 19 pandemic.

The Sandals team was led by Executive Chairman Adam Stewart and Chief Executive Officer Gebhard Rainier and also included Executive Vice-President of Sales and Industry Relations for Unique Vacations (UVI) Gary Sadler along with UVI Chief Executive Officer Jeff Clarke and Senior Vice President of Brand Development Tony Cortizas. Unique Vacations is the exclusive marketing partner for Sandals Resorts.

The American Airlines team meantime comprised Vice President of Global Sales Kyle Mabry, Chief Customer Officer at American Airlines Alison Taylor and Managing Director for Latin America, Caribbean and Florida Sales Christine Valls. 

This is the first time American Airlines, one of the world’s largest airline companies, has hosted a Caribbean hotel company for such a meeting, and SRI Executive Chairman Adam Stewart said this is part of Sandals’ ongoing efforts to help drive the recovery of the regional tourism sector.

“This meeting could not have come at a better time as we seek to restore the airlift that is so vital to the region’s hospitality and tourism sector. The incredible relationship Sandals has with American Airlines has led to enormous benefits for the many destinations where Sandals now operates, and we expect they will soon begin planning for increased flights to the destinations where we will soon be operating such as Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Curacao. I remember my dad, the late Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart used to always boast that wherever Sandals establishes a resort the airlines were sure to follow, and I am beyond proud that along with the amazing teams at Sandals and Unique Vacations we continue to carry on and build on that legacy.”

Stewart went on to thank AA for the incredible support it had already provided thus far in helping to support recovery efforts, ‘Over the last 14 months American has demonstrated a level of strength and agility in a highly complex time and we appreciate it. If there is one thing COVID 19 has shown us is the power of partnerships and relationships. Business does not come to those who wait; it’s about getting out and making it happen. We are pleased to be in a position where we can advocate on behalf of the entire Caribbean, and assist with trying to reestablish and enhance the routes that all our islands depend on to not just to bring visitors, but to connect with the rest of the world.”

The discussions revolved around growth, the expansion of air service, how American can provide more flights to the Caribbean and how they can strengthen their efforts in the region.

Gary Sadler, Executive Vice-President of Sales and Industry Relations at Unique Vacations said this was great news for the region, and is a result of Sandals taking the initiative to go out and do what is needed to drive the recovery of tourism.

“Building tourism goes beyond just having a beautiful beach and nice hotels; the meeting with AA showcases Sandals’ continued commitment to being a champion of the entire Caribbean tourism sector. The company is constantly taking steps to promote the region, and their success is reflected in the fact that there is increasingly high demand for travel to their resorts and to the region. This meeting will ensure that as American Airlines moves to increase its service worldwide, the Caribbean remains at the top of the list.”

The Sandals team made quite a splash as they arrived at the American Airlines headquarters in a fleet of Sandals and Beaches branded cars. They were taken on a tour of the facility where they got a chance to get up close with some historic American Airlines equipment on display.

As they left the meeting the Sandals Executive Chairman assured that there was much to look forward to, “The future of Caribbean travel is strong and our good company is bringing a new level of product to the Caribbean that is going to change the game.”

Caribbean News

CHTA President calls for “Dynamic Tax” to address high cost of air travel

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#CaymanIslands, September 26, 2022 – The President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is recommending a tiered “dynamic taxation system” as a novel and potential solution to address ongoing concerns about the high cost of air travel within and to and from the region.

Calling for a flexible approach to levying airline taxes, CHTA’s President Nicola Madden-Greig said one of the major constraints facing Caribbean travel is the heavy burden of taxation, and governments could well consider successful revenue management tactics employed within the tourism and aviation sector.

Understanding that the full removal of taxes may be challenging, the CHTA president suggested a tax policy that is responsive to international travel demand seasonality. “For example, governments can affix a higher airline ticket tax in the peak winter season and lower taxes in the summer when demand is weak,” she said, adding that giving consumers better prices to drive visitation during the slow season could boost tourism, commerce and intra-regional VFR (Visiting Friends and Relatives) travel.

Speaking recently at IATA Caribbean Aviation Day in Grand Cayman, the successful Jamaican hotelier said the economics of such a variable policy may in fact result in a net gain in tax revenue to Caribbean governments. “As travel becomes more affordable and we stimulate more travel, this will result in more local spending, and consequently an increase in local tax collections,” she said, underscoring there will be an overall net benefit to the consumer thanks to lower ticket prices.

“I think it’s a concept that should be explored,” said Madden-Greig, who argued that a well-developed strategy could address diverse perspectives on taxation. “There’s a way to do it that allows for flexibility so you still have taxation on the front end, but when you need to drive demand, you can reduce those taxes and make up the difference on the tail end,” she said. The taxation details however must be transparent, she warned.

Madden-Greig, the Jamaica-based Group Director of Marketing & Sales at The Courtleigh Hospitality Group, said she hopes to explore the “dynamic taxation strategy” at the upcoming Caribbean Travel Forum, taking place at CHTA’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace in San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 3 to 5, 2022.

“This could definitely answer the call for reduction in taxes, but not a reduction necessarily all year-round,” the CHTA president explained, suggesting that policy makers could consider alternate tax regimes for regional and international flights in order to drive multi-destination and intra-regional travel.

She admitted that research is required on the technological options to implement the system: “It may not be an immediate solution, but it’s a solution we can work towards.”

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WHO rejects report, claims it managed Cornavirus Pandemic well

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

September 18, 2022 – The World Health Organization is rejecting suggestions that it moved too slowly to contain the COVID19 pandemic.

In a press release on Thursday, the WHO says there were ‘omissions and misinterpretations’ made by the Lancet Commission in its report ‘Lessons for the future from the COVID-19 pandemic’ which criticized the organization as ‘delayed and vague’ in its reaction.

Lancet had claimed The WHO was too slow in its response time in the early weeks leading to swift global spread of the coronavirus. In reply the entity said “the Commission does not convey the full arc of WHO’s immediate, multi-year, life-saving response”.

The agency detailed its response in the first weeks of the pandemic saying that behind closed doors they were meeting with member countries and creating information packages on how to test for and treat the unknown virus.

It also defended the timing of its announcement of the pandemic (which the Lancet Commission said was too slow) noting that the first meeting of the emergency committee occurred only after only nine international cases and no deaths outside of China and while it was not declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) it was noted that it could become one quickly.

It was declared a PHEIC seven days later.

The WHO also says not only did it repeatedly warn of the possibility of human to human transmission it warned countries to start screening at entry points and provided early access to personal protective gear.

At the same time there were agreements between the entities. Lancet maintained that with strengthening the WHO should still be in charge of worldwide pandemic response.

Additionally the WHO did say it agreed with some of the commission’s observations including chronic underfunding of the UN and some of its recommendations including the importance of multilateralism, solidarity and cooperation when facing pandemics.

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Caribbean News

TCI’s Faion Hicks on roster for Denver Broncos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, September 18, 2022 – Faion Hicks made history as the first TCI American player to be drafted into the NFL when he got hitched to the Denver Broncos several months ago.

Despite being drafted to the practice squad and not the main game night roster, Faion, we had hoped would see some game time in the team’s Monday Night Football debut for the season.  Denver Broncos were on September 12, up against the Seattle Seahawks.

Practice squad players who are assigned to a team and practice with the team but do not play any games unless they are elevated.

Practice squad players are eligible to be elevated and play official games three times per season.

If Faion is elevated to the roster more than three times this season he will be signed to the main roster officially. Many successful and all-star NFL players started out on the practice squad.

Once the regular season ends practice squad players are usually signed to reserve or future contracts by their team.

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