PHILIPSBURG:--- The 4th edition of the Annual Caribbean Aviation (CaribAvia) Meetup Conference which will take place from June 11-13 at the Simpson Bay Resort & Marina, will bring together a mixture of local, regional and international speakers.
Former conference speaker William Bohlke, President and Chief Pilot at Bohlke International Airways, St. Croix USVI, has described the upcoming CaribAvia as: “The great thing about the Meetup, in my opinion, is it is content driven, whether, on the policy side or the operators side of aviation, everyone learns from each other. The end result is a valuable transfer of knowledge to help create safer skies and stimulate air travel.”
Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson said on Monday that the CaribAvia Meetup will bring professionals together from different aviation disciplines to discuss aviation matters that are also very important to the aviation sector and the tourism industry of the country.
The conference will have representatives from 24 countries and territories of North and Central America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean in attendance.
Some of the local speakers are Joao Gabriel Amado, President of the United Tour Operators Foundation and the Chief Executive Officer/Founder of ‘Island-Sightseeing’ brand in South Florida and the Caribbean as well as the ‘Iberian-Tours’ brand in Lisbon, Portugal. In 2012, he expanded his tourism operations to the Caribbean; after having surveyed most islands, he chose Sint Maarten as hub.
Besides his business activities, Gabriel is lecturing Entrepreneurship and Business Management at the University of St. Martin.
Amado will be speaking about ‘Destination Tourism Product Development.’
Another local speaker is Ir. Damien Richardson on the topic: ‘Futuristic Regional Airport Design For A Profit Making Concept.’
Richardson is an architect and Chairman of the Social Economic Council of Sint Maarten. He lectures 'Future of Technology in the Caribbean' at the University of St. Martin, combining Caribbean Technology, Earth Studies, and Space Studies.
Richardson is a graduate of TU Delft School of Architecture in the Netherlands with a Master's of Science degree with honors in Architectural Design.
Another local speaker is Duncan van Heyningen, Manager of ATS (Air Traffic Services) Training & Development at Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM-Airport) on Sint Maarten.
Duncan will be the guide of the Air Traffic Control Tower tours at the airport.
Duncan's 26 years' experience in the aviation field has spanned from Manager of ATS Training & Development, Surveillance (Radar) Air Traffic Controller, Aerodrome (Tower) & Approach Air Traffic Controller, ICAO Classroom Instructor, OJT (On-the-job) Instructor, Air Traffic Control Supervisor, Flight Information Officer (FIO).
One of the most interesting subjects at CaribAvia Meetup will be U.S. Preclearance. Rebekah S. Bacon, an Assistant Director of Border Security for the Office of Field Operations, Preclearance Field Office and is in charge of 16 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) port locations worldwide, will be delving into this topic as SXM Airport is in the process of establishing a U.S. Preclearance Facility.
CBP Preclearance inspected over 21.6 million travelers in Fiscal year 2018 representing over 15 percent of all travelers destined to the United States via commercial air, rail, and sea travel. The Preclearance Field Office deploys over 600 CBP officers and Agriculture Specialists to 15 international airport locations and one passenger-ferry location located in six countries, Aruba, Bermuda, The Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, and The United Arab Emirates.
“The Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications along with its operating arm, the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau, have left no stone unturned with respect to the redevelopment of the country’s tourism product post-Irma.
“We have been actively engaging stakeholders from all sectors to positively reboot our economy and much has been accomplished over the past 20-months, and there is still much to do.
“Engaging aviation stakeholders from across the world at CaribAvia is another important avenue of developing aviation resilience as air transportation is key to the economy of our country.
“I look forward to the productive sessions by local, regional and international aviation professionals at the Meetup,” Hon. Minister Stuart Johnson said on Monday.