The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) continues to monitor closely developments in the current dispute between British Airways and the union representing its cabin crew. CTO is concerned about the potential impact on its business of the pending strike by the cabin crew, scheduled for March 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29, and 30, 2010. However the CTO is encouraged by BA’s responsiveness to the Caribbean and by the contingency plans the airline has instituted to protect the business.
The UK remains an important market for the Caribbean. The region receives 1.4 million tourists from the UK annually, representing 25 percent of all European arrivals, and 6 percent of total arrivals. Many of the CTO member-countries are, in fact, highly dependent on the UK market. For example, 39 percent of tourist arrivals to Barbados are from the UK. Other islands where UK visitors are a significant part of total arrivals include: Antigua (34 percent), Montserrat (29 percent), Grenada (28 percent), St. Lucia (29 percent), St. Vincent and the Grenadines (18 percent), Bermuda (11 percent), and Jamaica (11 percent).
BA has assured the CTO that it has robust contingency plans in place and that flights to the Caribbean are not expected to be disrupted by the pending strike. This means that BA flights to and from the following destination are expected to operate as normal:
Antigua; Barbados; Bermuda; Grenada; Kingston and Montego Bay, Jamaica; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; St. Kitts; Saint Lucia; Tobago and Trinidad.
The airline has also advised CTO that it is considering its options for Nassau, The Bahamas; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands and Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands.
It has also assured the CTO that it will do all that it can to protect the travel plans of its customers to the entire region.
The secretary general will continue to stay in close touch with BA’s senior management to get the latest position. It is their hope that talks between the union and the airline resume as soon as possible and that a resolution can be found that will satisfy all sides.