Look elsewhere

Look elsewhere

There is a promising development in nearby Antigua and Barbuda, which will partner with Air Peace to invest in the defunct Leewards Islands Air Transport (LIAT) based at V.C. Bird International Airport and relaunch such as “LIAT 2020.” The reportedly biggest private airline of Africa wants to increase its footprint in the Caribbean and is eyeing a direct connection to Barbados from Lagos, Nigeria.

With more than 38 planes and 3,000 employees, it obviously regards a significant player in that region’s commercial aviation industry, operating flights to the Middle East, India, China and Israel, with the intention to soon add Europe. The company will apparently acquire a majority stake in LIAT.

Apart from Antigua and Barbuda, current shareholders are St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica, which has pledged support. St. Lucia is monitoring this situation with keen interest.

Service from that part of the world to the Eastern Caribbean offers prospects for St. Maarten/St. Martin too. While it involves a considerable distance, people all over are getting increasingly used to relatively long air travel, especially when non-stop.

Any possibility to diversify the destination’s source market, now mostly North America and Europe, is worth looking into. That not only makes the tourism economy less vulnerable, but has the potential to reduce its seasonality by attracting visitors outside of the traditionally busy period during winter in the northern hemisphere.

“The Friendly Island” would do well to also keep looking elsewhere in the world and broaden its horizon.

The Daily Herald

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