Calling for enhanced cooperation and assistance at a meeting of regional civil aviation directors-general, ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu cautioned that the insufficient compliance with aviation safety and security requirements presented a substantial threat to the vitality of the tourism industry in the Caribbean.

The Secretary General’s remarks were delivered at the opening of the Ninth Meeting of the Directors General of Civil Aviation for ICAO’s North American, Central American, and Caribbean Region (NACC), which took place in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and Tobago.

“Oxford Economics has forecast that air transport and tourism in Latin America and the Caribbean could support as much as 9.7 million jobs and 430 billion dollars in regional GDP by 2034. But this 88% increase in regional aviation employment, and 15% increase in economic impact, will only be placed in greater jeopardy if better ICAO compliance is not committed to and assured here,” Dr. Liu remarked.

The Secretary-General stressed that the UN agency is opening and pursuing multiple avenues to lift compliance and promote the sustainable development of air connectivity among the NACC States. She highlighted the “hands-on approach” undertaken through the NACC Systemic Assistance Programme, and the strategic guidance ICAO provides through its global safety and security planning.

Dr. Liu also noted that ICAO and it’s NACC Regional Office are partnering with lenders and donor institutions to assist the region in meeting some of its more pressing budgetary and personnel resource challenges. In this regard, she underscored the importance of the relationship ICAO has initiated with CARICOM, the progress toward the development of the NACC Regional Safety Oversight Organization (RSOO), and the launch of regional initiatives in support of Regional Accident and Incident Investigation Organizations (RAIOs).