Business People in Panama Urged to Lobby COPA Airlines

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??(left to right) Denis Kellman, Minister of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development; Felix Cuevas, President of APEDE and Richard Sealy, Minister of Tourism; at a breakfast meeting in Panama with representatives of the Panamanian Association of Business Executives this morning. (F.Ince/BGIS)

Lobby COPA Airlines to get Bridgetown added as one of its new routes for 2012!

That strong exhortation came today from Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, as he addressed a breakfast meeting in Panama with representatives of the Panamanian Association of Business Executives (APEDE), officials from Barbados, as well some from the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.

Mr. Sealy told the business people that the inclusion of Barbados on COPA’s schedule "would benefit everyone in this room", because "the level of trade and opportunities would be immense.

"If trade is to increase, if we are to connect our service-based economies in a tangible way, and if we are to get those cultural linkages going, we need that direct flight… APEDE, the tourism industry, [and] service providers [among others]…will benefit," he emphasised.

President of APEDE, Felix Cuevas, said a COPA connection would create business and other opportunities in Panama and promised to reiterate the call for COPA to fly the Panama/Barbados route.

Minister Sealy described the linkages between the two countries as strong, and said "Barbados has its fingerprints all over this Panamanian society".?? He pointed out that in 1920, 33 per cent of Panama’s inhabitants were Barbadian men. "These historical links give us a natural platform that we can have a very intense relationship with Panama, over the level of the commercial aspect – trade, goods and services," he argued.

He invited the representatives of APEDE to visit Barbados and meet with similar interest groups.

President of the Tourism Commission of APEDE, Jaime Figueroa, said the organisation wanted to increase its connection with Barbados and the private sector and suggested that various initiatives should be explored. The President of the Association of Colon, Severo Sousa, urged Barbadian business people to visit the Colon Free Zone and take advantage of its accessibility and large inventory, among other things.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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