CTO News

Archive for May, 2013

Delegates to STC 2012 Can Experience Majesty of World’s Largest Single Drops Falls for Free

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (3 March, 2012) – Some of the most breath-taking and majestic scenery await delegates to the 13th annual Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC-13), taking place in Guyana from 15-18 April, 2012.

Persons who register for the conference – the full programme only – can get free visits to some of the most desirable eco-tourism attractions in Guyana, including Kaieteur Falls, the world’s largest single drop falls. Among the other fascinating tours awaiting delegates are Iwokrama and the Canopy Walkway; Santa Mission/Arrow Point (a haven for bird watchers and nature lovers) and Surama Village, the winner of the 2011 CTO Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Award.

These visits are part of the Study Tours programme for STC-13, and are being organized to give  delegates a full day adventure into Guyana’s best kept secrets, including the vast, lush and exotic landscape that form part of its low carbon sustainable development strategy.

“The study tours have been among the most highly anticipated part of the STC programme because delegates get to experience first-hand what we discuss during the plenary sessions,” said Gail Henry, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s sustainable tourism product specialist.
“Delegates to STC-13 are excited to get an opportunity to visit and experience some of the most enchanting tropical attractions while learning how best to sustain our resources.”

Over 30 Caribbean and international travel writers and journalists –  many of them multiple award winners – have registered to cover and participate in STC-13, which is being organized by CTO, in collaboration with the Guyana Tourism Authority.

The conference, which has as its theme, Keeping the Right Balance: Sustaining our Resources, will be held at the Guyana International Conference Centre.  In order to take advantage of the free tours, delegates must register early for the conference and select their preferred tours. Tours are limited and are assigned on a first-come-first-served basis.

For more information on the study tours, as well as how to register and benefit from STC-13, visit www.caribbeanstc.com.

Posted in: 2012 News, Blog, STC

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CTO Tourism Human Resources Conf. to Explore Partnerships & Innovation

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (15 Feb, 2012) – How to enhance Caribbean human resources through partnerships and innovation will be the key subject of discussion when tourism human resources professionals from across the Caribbean gather in Barbados from 23 to 25 May for a major conference.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has announced that tourism HR practitioners will explore ways to expand their knowledge and sharpen their skills as it relates to human resources challenges in the tourism environment at the 6th Tourism Human Resources conference will be held at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

During the three day event, tourism human resources professionals from the public and private sectors, tourism educators and trainers and consultants will approach the theme from a number of angles. These include effective leadership and employee engagement, how to recognize and nurture leadership at all levels of an organisation and how to leverage resources across boundaries.

An exciting workshop aimed at breathing life into the workplace has been planned. This workshop – Waking up the Tourism Workplace – is one of two intensive practical learning sessions to be presented by experts in the various fields. The other workshop will focus on innovation and creativity in the workplace.

CTO is partnering with the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus and the Barbados Hospitality Institute – Hotel PomMarine, to organize the conference.

Posted in: 2012 News, Blog, HR Conference

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Three Caribbean Tourism Businesses Celebrate Firsts With Receipt of Hospitality Assured Certification

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (2 Feb., 2012) – Three Caribbean tourism businesses have scored “firsts” while enhancing their reputation for high standards of service quality by earning Hospitality Assured (HA) certification, a symbol of service and business excellence in the tourism and hospitality.

The well-known tourist attraction, Atlantis Submarines (Barbados) Inc. has become the first attraction in the Caribbean to receive HA certification, while Goddards Shipping & Tours, also of Barbados, is the first shipping agent and tour operator in the region to earn this distinction. Additionally, the Tryall Club in Montego Bay Jamaica has achieved similar certification, the first property in Jamaica to do so.

All three companies now have the Hospitality Assured framework in place, which helps them to continuously raise their service quality standards within their individual businesses, focus on their customers’ needs in all aspects of their business, increase customer satisfaction and loyalty and improve overall business performance.

“I believe that the great benefit of Hospitality Assured for Atlantis Submarines Barbados has been the process of involving the entire team in a structured ten step analysis of our business from customer research to service delivery.  Hospitality Assured has become an umbrella under which all of our continuous improvement plans can fall and it ensures that as the economy remains somewhat weak the internal focus remains strong on all the right things to get us through it,’ said Roseanne Myers, the general manager of Atlantis Submarines.

“Our entire team worked together to review our club’s procedures and while we already had systems in place, HA helped us within the business to keep better track, target with greater efficiency and fine tune our operational procedures,” added Gerald Giarla, managing director of Tryall Club.  “The certification process was refreshing and rejuvenating and we are ready to embark on our 52nd season with a renewed sense of commitment and pride in serving our customers.”

Over the past several months, the management team and staff of these businesses maintained outstanding grades in rigorous reviews given by external assessors, including challenging, testing and ultimately strengthening internal systems in business planning, customer service, and training and development, leading to their certification.

The general manager of Goddards Shipping & Tours, Rovel Morris, described certification as “an extremely rewarding accomplishment” which was in keeping with the company’s vision “to be the region’s market leader in all areas of operations, recognized and sought after for exceptional service”.

“The Hospitality Assured Programme certification process allowed us to give tangible expression to the elements and conditions of service delivery that will allow us to achieve that vision consistently.  It has been an invaluable tool in aligning our business processes and galvanizing the commitment of our team toward that end.  We are a proud recipient of the certification and would recommend the process without hesitation,” he said.

Hospitality Assured is a certification programme promoting service and business excellence in tourism and hospitality companies.  It is owned by the Institute of Hospitality in the United Kingdom, and managed by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) in the region.  Caribbean supporting institutions include the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus in Barbados, which collects and distributes benchmarking data on the programme, as well as the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), which is the region’s assessment body for the programme.  Funding support for the pilot phase of the programme was provided by the European Union/PRO€INVEST programme and the Organization of American States.  The pilot phase is now over and funding is being sort to continue to unroll the programme across the region.

In the near future, will be directly engaging with Caribbean countries outside the original eight pilot countries to incentivize tourism/hospitality businesses to join HA and get the benefits to be derived from participation.

Posted in: 2012 News, Blog, Hospitality Assured

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Caribbean Health Agency Inks Collaboration with CTO

January 27, 2012 — The Caribbean Tourism Organization will be partnering with the recently formed Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), which started its operations this month.

Some of the areas of collaborations will include using CARPHA’s information and communications system to increase the awareness about the agency and its public health agenda for the Region.  The two organisations will also join forces to reduce the threats of health and environmental threats for the sustainability of healthy tourism and supporting CARPHA’s surveillance programme.

Disease Prevention

The specific activities to be promoted are accurate and timely information on trends and health risks, disease prevention and control, detection of and response to health emergencies and establishing standards for managing and monitoring information and international health regulations.

The decisions were taken at Council of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, held during the Market Place Conference in Nassau, The Bahamas on 22 January.

CARPHA which already has attracted a wide range of partners in Canada, UK, the European Union, USA and Brazil, has received an undertaking from the CTO of its willingness to be engaged in training and capacity building for workers in the tourism sector in the areas of food safety, environmental management and monitoring and promoting the Wellness Revolution in the Caribbean.

Dr. Jerome Walcott, former Minister of Health, Barbados is the interim director of the agency, till a new director is appointed by June 2012.It was agreed that Hugh Riley, CTO President will represent the organisation on CARPHA Executive Board.

CARICOM Heads of Government ratified CARPHA by signing the inter-Governmental Agreement in July 2011 making the agency a legal entity.

Ricky Skerrit, minister of tourism St Kitts/ Nevis Chair of the CTO Council, said, “this is a bold step to create a viable public health agency that would no doubt be of great benefit to the people of the region and in particular to those in the tourism business.”

Posted in: 2012 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Region’s Premier Sustainable Tourism Conference to Focus on Sustaining Natural Resources

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (24 January, 2012) – The Caribbean’s tourism planners, policymakers and stakeholders will receive valuable guidance on how to sustain the region’s resources in the context of climate change, at the Caribbean’s premier sustainable tourism gathering in April.
The 13th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism (STC-13)  – to be held in Guyana from 15 to 18 April – will focus on effective ways to monitor and manage the use of the region’s natural resources to limit depletion while maximizing the socio-economic benefits of tourism.
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), which organizes the conference, has chosen as its theme, Keeping the Right Balance: Sustaining our Resources. The CTO explains that because the natural environment – including coastal areas, coral reefs, wetlands, mountains, volcanoes, terrestrial and marine biodiversity, as well as the national and marine parks – serves as a major tourism pull, it’s imperative that action is taken to sustain these resources.

“The theme of STC-13 will therefore highlight best practices in how this requirement can be fulfilled in the context of climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts within the Caribbean and beyond. It will also provide valuable guidance on investing in, developing and marketing sustainable tourism products that can assist in sustaining our resources,” said Gail Henry, the CTO’s sustainable tourism product specialist.
The conference, which will be held at the Guyana International Conference Centre, is being organized in collaboration with the Guyana Tourism Authority.

The CTO, along with the GTA and industry partners, is finalizing the conference programme which will include a mix of panel discussions and workshops with presentations from  leading local, regional and international tourism experts and practitioners.   Informative and exciting study tours to attraction-packed sites, including the majestic Kaieteur Falls, will expose delegates to the rich history, local culture and scenic beauty of Guyana.
For more information on STC-13, visit www.caribbeanstc.com.

Posted in: 2012 News, Blog, STC

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CTO Travel Media Awards Recognise Excellence in Canadian Travel Journalism

Toronto, ON (December 8, 2011) – Canada’s top travel journalists were honoured by the international agency responsible for the development of Caribbean tourism, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) at its fifth annual Caribbean Media Awards event on December 8th, as part of the week-long Caribbean Week in Toronto celebrations.

“The Caribbean continues to be a popular destination with Canadians, known for its friendly locals, sun-kissed beaches and endless activities,” said Sylma Brown Bramble, the CTO’s director of marketing for the Americas.  “The winners today were recognized for their contributions to Caribbean storytelling, as their articles evoked and brought to life highlights of the Caribbean to their readers.”

The full list of CTO’s 2011 Toronto Caribbean Media Awards winners:

* Best Feature Article in a Consumer Newspaper – Mark Stevens
“New England Architecture Meets Caribbean Color” in Toronto Star

* Best Feature Article in a Consumer Magazine – Kailash Maharaj
“Paradise Found” in City Style & Living

* Best Feature Article in a Trade Publication – Gregory B. Gallagher
“A Diver’s Dream” in Ensemble Vacations

* Best Photograph in Conjunction with a Feature Article – Theresa Storm
“Where Mother Nature still reigns supreme” in Calgary Herald

* Best Online Article – Diane Slawych
“Get Close to Nature in St. Kitts” in Canoe.ca

* Best International Feature (Print or Broadcast) – Mark Stevens
“On Antigua Everyone Comes to Party” in Washington Post

* Best of Show – Kailash Maharaj
“Paradise Found” in City Style & Living

The panel of judges of the 2011 Caribbean Media Awards included Dr. Rita Cox, a renowned storyteller and multi-cultural educator; Lillian Allen, writer and Juno award winner, who teaches creative writing; Dr. Camille Hernández-Ramdwar, a sociology professor at Ryerson University who specializes in Caribbean studies; and Johnson JohnRose, communications specialist for the CTO.

Posted in: 2011 News, Blog, Media Awards

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CTO Statement on Reform of the UK Air Passenger Duty

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 6 December, 2011 – The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) is deeply disappointed and surprised by the UK Government’s announcement on 6 December that it will continue to discriminate against the Caribbean in relation to the banding aspect of the Air Passenger Duty (APD) system.

In a 26-page document published today, the British government said that APD rates to Caribbean destinations will continue to be considerably higher than those to some competitor destinations. Furthermore, the fact that Premium Economy passengers will continue to be charged the same APD as First Class passengers is a blow for those customers wanting to upgrade

Over a period of three years, the Caribbean and its community in the UK have consistently sought to raise the issue of APD at all levels of the British government and with the UK parliament.

Minister Ricky Skerritt, Chairman of the CTO said: “Today’s announcement on the APD is a slap in the face for all Caribbean people. It dismisses all of the research and information CTO has provided to the British Government over the past three years, and it contradicts the message sent by the UK Chancellor, George Osborne MP, in March 2011 when he cited the discrepancy between the USA and Caribbean APD rates as one of the reasons for holding a consultation on reform of UK APD. The Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region of the world and the British Government’s decision totally ignores the negative effect that APD is having on our economies and the Caribbean’s business partners in the UK travel industry.”

Caribbean Prime Ministers, Ministers of Tourism, the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the Caribbean Diaspora in the UK, including the High Commissioners, have consistently raised the issue of Air Passenger Duty with the UK Government and UK Parliament our concern about the negative effect that APD is having on the tourism dependent economies of the Caribbean and on the Caribbean community living in the United Kingdom.

The Caribbean understands the challenge faced by the UK in respect of revenue raising,
and has put forward constructive suggestions on how the UK can benefit from an Air Passenger Duty tax in a non discriminatory way. The Caribbean does not believe that APD should be imposed at the expense of the Caribbean economy or its community in the UK.

The Caribbean made a formal response to the Air Passenger Duty consultation in June. In summary this made clear that:

• We require parity in banding with the US.

• A move to a two band system would address the Caribbean’s requirement if this resulted in equal treatment of all long haul destinations.

• No other option set out in the consultation addresses the concerns of the Caribbean.

• APD has become a political issue with the Caribbean Diaspora in the UK.

Posted in: 2011 News, APD, Blog

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