first_imgJosef Forstmayr, president of the CHTA. Photo credit: jamaica-gleaner.comPARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — Despite the region spending millions of dollars to secure airlift to the Caribbean, ticket prices are still too high and remain insufficient to sustain the industry, according to a tourism leader. Josef Forstmayr, president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), addressing the opening of Caribbean Marketplace at the glittering Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in The Bahamas, asserted: “There are no ‘drive-ins’ in the Caribbean – most of our guests arrive by air.”He estimated in 2010 the Caribbean governments “collectively paid US$45 million to secure airlift – only to find that our airlift is still inadequate and way too expensive for our visitors.”The CHTA president noted intra-Caribbean tourism “once represented 13% of the region’s tourism; as much as Canada. The combined population of Caribbean countries is 40 million. However, due to the lack of a competitive and truly regional airline, regional tourism has been suffocated by outrageous ticket prices and a cumbersome and ill-conceived network.”The CHTA chief also criticized bureaucratic procedures in the region: “Caribbean nationals cannot travel freely between their countries without being subjected to visas, long immigration lines and other bureaucratic indulgences that stifle any sense of hospitality, the Caribbean’s trademark.” Caribbean News Now Tweet Share Share 29 Views   one commentcenter_img Share Sharing is caring! NewsRegional Better airlift needed for Caribbean, says tourism chief by: – January 25, 2012last_img