Caribavia-founder Slabbaert envisions huge expansion

PHILIPSBURG — Cdr. Bud Slabbaert founder of the annual aviation conference Caribavia envisions a huge expansion of this event into a multifunctional organization that covers everything from the establishment of an institute of higher learning and an airlift council to a video on demand platform (Caribavia TV) and a research and development center.

“Just organizing an annual conference is like operating a circus,” he writes in a vision-document that details Caribavia’s expansion-potential. ”There must be something more meaningful and it must lead to a long-term objective.”

The ultimate goal of what is now an annual meeting of aviation experts goes beyond the establishment of that institute of higher learning and an airlift council. Next to the video on demand platform, Slabbaert also envisions educational and training events, a learning resource center, a tele-presence and tele-immersion facility and a research and development center – all under the brand name Caribavia. Slabbaert intends to rename Caribavia in Caribavia Summit and Retreat, an event to be held in a tropical Caribbean environment. This year, the event will already take place under its new name from June 13 to 15 in St. Maarten.

It is unclear where Slabbaert intends to make his vision a reality. In his vision document he notes that the organization should have shelter and domicile. “It needs office space, classroom facilities, and a studio for video production.” He does not exclude that these activities would be established in different locations.

Part of the vision is furthermore the establishment of a speakers bureau under the management of a learning and resource center. This is where professional speakers are available to a range of community groups, such as service clubs and schools.

Slabbaert introduces the terms tele-presence and tele-immersion in his vision document. Tele-presence is “a technology that will enable users in different locations to come together in a simulated environment to interact. Participants will feel like they are actually looking, talking and meeting with each other in the same room.”

Tele-immersion creates “a three-dimensional realistic holographic environment.” This will enable participants to collaborate in real time from remote locations “in a shared, simulated, hybrid environment.”

The Caribavia research and development center is “a crucial element to contribute to the development and dissemination of new rigorous evidence and innovative products, methods or technologies.”

This center is something to pay attention to, according to Slabbaert: “It may be wise for interested stakeholders to invest in the Caribavia research and development center as it becomes a test lab where new materials and innovative techniques will be experienced.” The center will have an aircraft simulator and an air traffic control simulator.

The airlift council Slabbaert envisions is “an independent and impartial entity with neither political ambitions, nor geographical limitations.” He points out that all aviation and travel segments in the Caribbean region have similar interests and similar hurdles to deal with.

Slabbaert states that the Caribavia projects will have a positive economic impact on the location where they will be established. The projects could trigger science tourism and they will need a number of local employees.

Lastly, Slabbaert touches on potential media exposure. “The uniqueness of these projects will find media exposure worldwide. Their location will benefit with an image of being progressive and an attractive tourism and potential foreign investment destination.”

Reader can download the Caribavia Vision document via the following link: