CTO News

Archive for May, 2015

Bahamas stunning from all angles, including 220 miles above

Nassau, Bahamas, May 12, 2015 – Forty-six years after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon, and Buzz Aldrin shared the first photograph from the Moon to Earth, Astronaut Scott Kelly is documenting his year in space with photos on Twitter. At the time, Buzz Aldrin’s photos was considered to be the most beautiful thing ever seen, and one of the things that stood out were The Bahamas gin clear waters. In response, UNICEF made a stamp of the photos and The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism embraced this stunning image, with a poster and tagline, “The Waters of The Bahamas Are Out of This World.”

The latest images from space from Astronaut Scott Kelly documenting his year in space on the Space Station are just as, if not more so, compelling today. Kelly is posting a dearth of images and views of varying images of the earth from space, often not immediately recognizable, and always providing followers with a unique viewpoint to our planet. The Bahamas Ministry Of Tourism was very excited to see his tweet on the 26th of April with a stunning image looking at the Earth seemingly from below, showcasing the stunning clear waters and pristine white beaches with the accompanying text, “Had first video conference with my youngest daughter today. Showed her the most beautiful place from space. #Bahamas.” The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism was not the only fan of the tweet as it was retweeted over a thousand times and favorited by over two thousand people.

Even from 220 miles away in the Space Station it is obvious that it really is better in The Bahamas. The Bahamas Ministry Of Tourism encourages Astronaut Scott Kelly, and would like to invite him and his family to discover the magic of The Islands first-hand when he returns after his year in space as personal guests.

To find out more about everything The Bahamas have to offer and why it really is better there, visit Bahamas.com today.

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St. Kitts to welcome an Embassy Suites hotel

Basseterre, St. Kitts (May 7, 2015) – Currently under construction in Pelican Bay, St. Kitts will debut a 226-suite Embassy Suites by Hilton hotel in the first quarter of 2017.  This announcement was made by Hilton Hotels on Wednesday, May 6, following the signing of a franchise agreement with Caribbean-based developers Sterling Developments.

“We welcome Hilton Hotels to the island,” said the Hon. Mr. Lindsay F. P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce. “Their upscale Embassy Suites brand will serve as an excellent complement to the diverse mix of our current hotel product and it is well-aligned with the direction of our strategic plan for the continued development of our tourism industry.”

The US $90 million development is an approved Citizenship by Investment project.  The condo hotel complex will include six towers, 3,847 square feet of meeting space, an infinity pool, a fitness center, spa, and kids’ club. It will also provide guests the Embassy Suites by Hilton’s signature spacious suites equipped with a separate living area, private bedroom and wet bar fitted with a microwave, mini-fridge and coffee maker. All rooms will have direct views of the Caribbean.

“We look forward to introducing the Embassy brand to beautiful St. Kitts & Nevis,” said John Rogers, global head, Embassy Suites Hotels. “The prime location of this resort, coupled with Embassy’s full service offerings, ample space and guest-desired inclusive amenities will drive this hotel’s leisure travel appeal and strengthen the area’s accommodation options.”

The new hotel will offer the Embassy Suites brand’s signature features, such as an inviting atrium environment, where guests will have access to complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast and Evening Reception with complimentary appetizers and beverage. Restaurant facilities on the resort will include a three-meal restaurant, a specialty restaurant, and a pool and beach bar.

Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Kitts will be located in Pelican Bay, which is an exclusive private cove nestled on seven acres of gently sloping land, cascading down to a private beach on the Caribbean side of the island. Once complete, the hotel will offer easy access to the area’s main roads and downtown attractions, and is only 10 minutes away from Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport. The Embassy Suites will be Hilton’s first property in St. Kitts & Nevis.  Hilton Worldwide currently has 20 hotels open or in the pipeline throughout the Caribbean.

About Embassy Suites Hotels:

Embassy Suites Hotels, one of Hilton Worldwide’s twelve market-leading brands, is dedicated to delivering what matters most to travelers. The full service, upscale brand offers every guest a two-room suite, free cooked-to-order breakfast and a nightly two-hour reception with complimentary drinks and snacks. Both leisure and business travelers looking for a relaxed, yet sophisticated, experience will feel right at home with brand-standard amenities like inviting atriums and complimentary 24-hour business and fitness centers. Embassy Suites Hotels has more than 220 hotels with more than 35 in the pipeline. For more information, visit www.embassysuites.com, and connect with Embassy Suites at www.embassysuitesmediacenter.com, www.facebook.com/embassysuiteshotels  and www.twitter.com/EmbassySuites.

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CTO hosts first MICE Networking event for UK buyers

LONDON, UK (12 May 2015) – Over 50 buyers attended The Caribbean Tourism Organization’s dedicated MICE networking evening for UK buyers held recently.

By partnering with MICE specialist, Global Connect, the event which took place at Gordon Ramsay’s Heddon Street Kitchen, was the first of its kind for the CTO to showcase what the region has to offer UK buyers.

It proved to be a great success with many partners reporting new enquiries and business leads coming directly as a result of their attendance.

To build on this success, the CTO is aiming to arrange a series of informal networking events throughout the year to directly drive business for members and help develop a strong MICE database of UK & European MICE Buyers.

Carol Hay, director of marketing UK and Europe, Caribbean Tourism Organization, says, “We were really impressed with the quality of the buyers who attended the event and many of the partners have already started to receive leads for potential new business. We wanted to make sure that the event delivered a return on investment for our partners, as well as providing a setting for introductions to some of the MICE market’s key decision makers. We know that the region has a lot to offer groups and we will continue to execute our strategy to attract more group business to the Caribbean.’’

The event was a follow up to the CTO’s recent MICE masterclass held in March to inform some of the CTO’s members on best practice within the market. The CTO plans to host its first MICE fam trip by the end of the year for UK buyers.

Partners who attended the event were:

Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority
Bahamas Tourist Office
Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.
Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, Saint Lucia
Harlequin Hotel & Resorts
Jamaica Tourist Board
Pineapple, Luxury Hotel Specialists (representing  Cobblers Cove, Barbados & Carlisle Bay, Antigua) Resort Marketing International (Representing Occidental Hotels & Resorts, Elite Island Resorts & Sun Group Hotels)
St. Kitts Tourism Authority
Saint Lucia Tourist Board
Sandals Resorts
Trinidad & Tobago Tourist Office
Viceroy Anguilla
Virgin Atlantic
Windjammer Landing, Saint Lucia

UK Buyers interested in learning more about the Caribbean’s MICE product should contact the Caribbean Tourism Organization on 020 8948 0057 or email Lorraine Grant at [email protected] to register their interest.

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The Caribbean’s “smartest” festival, a Literary Jollification in Anguilla

ANGUILLA, B.W.I – May 7, 2015 – This Memorial Day weekend, travelers can combine a relaxing warm-weather getaway with the Caribbean’s “smartest” festival during the fourth annual “Anguilla Lit Fest:  A Literary Jollification” from May 21 – 24. Honoring the literary heritage of Anguilla, the three-day event brings together an accomplished list of celebrity authors and speakers with book lovers and literary connoisseurs to celebrate and explore the creative process. With special room rates currently being offered by participating hotels, including host property Paradise Cove, and Sponsor Hotel, Cuisinart Golf Resort and Spa, and an ever-expanding network of transportation options, including the newly launched service via Seaborne Airlines between San Juan and Anguilla, now is the time to book and finalize travel plans to attend this annual event.

Featured speakers for this year’s event include authors, poets and publishers from a variety of fields, including celebrity novelist, Zane; award-winning author and former Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan Magazine, Kate White; best-selling author, lecturer and philanthropist, Elizabeth Nunez; world-renowned author Benilde Little; Grammy-award-winning performance poet, author and motivational speaker, J. Ivy; debut Antiguan author, Joanne Hillhouse; award-winning author and associate publisher of The Sun magazine, Krista Bremer; as well as celebrated author, professor of Creative Writing, and co-founder of the Calabash International Literary Festival in Jamaica, Colin Channer.

The publishing panel features Books Editor of O: Oprah Magazine, Leigh Haber; Editor-in-Chief of Writers’ Digest, Jessica Strawser; Senior Publicity Manager of Atria Books/Simon & Shuster, Yona Deshommes; and critically-acclaimed author, educator and publisher, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell of House of Nehesi Publishers in St. Martin.

A number of Anguilla’s leading literary giants will also be featured at this year’s Lit Fest, including the author of a Fortunate Member of a Caribbean Diaspora, Phillip Arnell; author and host of Positive Living, Marilyn Hodge; noted poet, Lena Gumbs; and performance poet, Timmie Webster.

This year’s event will also celebrate the 2015 Malliouhana Poetry Competition winners,  under the theme, Jollification in the 21st century, which is coordinated by the Anguilla Community College and the Department of Youth and Culture in memory of cultural activist, the late Linda Lake; as well as  presentations by poets of Anguilla’s  soon-to-be-released foundational anthology of poetry, “Where I See the Sun – Contemporary Poetry in Anguilla”, which includes more than 90 poems from 42 seasoned poets and up and coming writers from Anguilla.  A selection of books of the featured guest authors, poets and publishers will be available for purchase on-site from The Anguilla Lit Fest Book Table, which is coordinated by the Anguilla Library Service.

The Anguilla Lit Fest: A Literary Jollification honors Anguilla’s literary heritage and offers another enticing reason to come to the island in the early summer. A registration fee of US$150.00 includes a welcome cocktail party, breakfast and lunch presentations, special sessions with the authors and fun-filled evening soirees. The program also includes a day at leisure on Sunday to ensure that participants will have the opportunity to experience the island’s various offerings, from beaches to culinary to watersports and more. As in previous years, arrangements are being made for students from the Primary Schools to interact with the visiting authors, and for students from the Secondary School to attend the presentation of the event headliner as specially invited guests. There is also a special session for children and young writers on Saturday, May 23 in the afternoon.

Residents of Anguilla can take advantage of a special rate of US$100.00 for Lit Fest 2015, subject to proof of residency.  Registration is available online at www.iVisitAnguilla.com, and tickets can be purchased in person at The Anguilla Tourist Board office and the Anguilla Public Library.

Special vacation packages for the event are being offered by Anguilla’s accommodation establishments, including:  the Host Hotel, Paradise Cove Resort; Sponsor Hotel, Cuisinart Golf Resort and Spa; Little Butterfly Villa; Bird of Paradise Villa; Anguilla Great House Beach Resort; and Nathan’s Cove.  Flights can be arranged on American Airlines/US Airways, Continental Airways, Delta Airlines, JetBlue and United Airlines, through San Juan, Puerto Rico, connecting directly to Anguilla with Seaborne Airlines, or Trade Wind Aviation; through St. Martin with onward connecting flights or ferry into Anguilla; or on regional carrier LIAT. Travel from the Caribbean can also be done through Winair.

For more information on the Anguilla Lit Fest: A Literary Jollification, or to register for this year’s event, go to http://iVisitAnguilla.com/register ; visit our website at www.anguillalitfest.com ; or call 305-444-4033, 800-553-4939, or 264-497-2759.

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Trinidad and Tobago woos Atlanta Business Community

Port-of-Spain, trinidad – May 6, 2015. The Trinidad and Tobago Convention Bureau (TTCB), a department within the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Development Company (TDC) kicked off its three city North American Road Show at the Ellis Hotel in downtown Atlanta on May 4, 2015.

In attendance was the Honourable Dr. Anil Ramnanan, Consul General of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago of Miami, Florida who brought welcome remarks on behalf of his Consular office and the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.  Dr. Ramnanan endorsed the initiative and invited the packed audience of Meeting Planners and Association Heads in attendance to seriously consider Trinidad and Tobago as a viable destination to host their next big meeting.

Also, speaking at the cocktail reception was Arveon Mills, Sales Manager of the Convention Bureau who made a destination presentation to the audience and debuted a new destination Convention DVD which was warmly received.

Mr. Keith Chin, Chief Executive Officer of the TDC brought the night’s official function to a close and invited the appreciative audience to sample the food and music of the destination while encouraging networking with representatives from Hyatt Regency Trinidad; Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort, Tobago and the Tobago House of Assembly- Shaw Park Complex who were present to promote their various properties and product offerings.

Increasing the number of meetings and events held in Trinidad and Tobago is a key deliverable of the Bureau and the road show is a marketing promotional tool employed to build awareness of Trinidad and Tobago as a Meeting, Incentive, Conference and Exhibition (MICE) destination in the USA and to promote the services offered by the TTCB in an effort to increase bid opportunities.

Worldwide, at least 50 million trips are taken each year for MICE purposes which according to the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC) Economic Impact report is expected to rise by 3.7 % per annum to USD 1,666.1 bn in 2024. Current trends indicate that with an improving global economy, there is once again a renewed demand for meetings and events for associations to showcase their latest products and attract clients.

The United States of America continues to be the main source market for arrivals to the destination with over 80,000 MICE arrivals per annum and 39% of total stop over arrivals, making it a lucrative lead generation strategy to position Trinidad and Tobago as the place to do business. Trinidad and Tobago’s presence in these cities will aim to strengthen relationships with key meeting planners in the North American market.

Other cities included in the road show are Washington DC and New York which like Atlanta are headquarters to a large number of associations, professional bodies and Caribbean interests who are heavily vested in the MICE market and are looking for new destinations to bring their meetings and conferences. The road show rolls into Washington DC at the Grand Hyatt Washington on May 6th and concludes in New York City on May 8th at the W New York Times Square.

The Trinidad and Tobago Convention Bureau (TTCB) acts as a liaison between meeting planners and local suppliers and offers a number of complimentary services. These services include assistance with conference bids, site inspections, destination information packages and tour proposals.

For more information on the North American Road Show or the Trinidad and Tobago Convention Bureau please contact Arveon Mills, Sales Manager, Trinidad and Tobago Convention Bureau at [email protected]  or visit our website at www.gotrinidadandtobago.com/trinidad/meetings.

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JetBlue expands Caribbean network by adding new seasonal Boston-Barbados route

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS. May 1, 2015 — JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ: JBLU), the largest airline to the Caribbean, today announced its continued expansion in the region with seasonal weekly service from Boston’s Logan International Airport (BOS) to Barbados’ Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI), which will launch November 7.

“Barbados has proven a customer favorite for our New York customers, and we’re happy to offer Boston customers the chance to experience the beauty and culture of Barbados,” said Robin Hayes, President and CEO of JetBlue.

Barbados’ Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, welcomed the service as a critical part of the strategy to diversify the island’s tourism source markets.

“Boston is one of the most affluent states on the eastern seaboard of the United States and it presents an opportunity to diversify Barbados’ tourism business beyond the current US gateways.  We look forward to continued strong cooperative marketing efforts with our partners at JetBlue to ensure the success of this new service”.

As at April 2015, Barbados’ arrivals out of the USA were up by 27.4 per cent.

The weekly Boston-Barbados flight will complement JetBlue’s existing daily service from New York JFK to BGI, which was launched in 2009. The flight sale is scheduled to commence on May 1, subject to receipt of government operating authority, with an introductory fare of only US $149 one way for travel from November 7, 2015 until April 30, 2016. JetBlue Getaways will offer customers heading to Barbados the opportunity to bundle flights and hotels, as well as with their car rentals and other amenities and activities. Four-day, three-night packages will start at US $345 per person at Courtyard by Marriott.

JetBlue’s flights to Barbados will be operated on a 150-seat Airbus A320 and will offer the airline’s award-winning service featuring assigned and comfortable seating; free Fly-Fi, the fastest broadband internet in the sky; complimentary and unlimited name-brand snacks and non-alcoholic/soft drinks; free, live DIRECTV® programming and 100+ channels of SiriusXM® radio in every seatback; and the most legroom in coach (based on average fleet-wide seat pitch of U.S. airlines).

The Boston-Barbados flight is the fifth new Caribbean seasonal service launched from Boston in the last year following Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR); Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic (POP); Saint Lucia (UVF); and Port-au-Prince, Haiti (PAP). JetBlue also recently announced it would offer its highly successful Mint experience between JFK to Barbados on Saturdays between November 7, 2015 and April 30, 2016, and daily between December 19, 2015 and January 4, 2016.

JetBlue’s Schedule between Boston and Barbados on Saturdays as of November 5, 2015:

BOS – BGI
7.45  a.m. – 1.39 p.m.

BGI – BOS
2.35 p.m. – 6.59 p.m.

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JetBlue to begin service to Antigua & Barbuda in November

(St. John’s Antigua) – Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy, The Hon. Asot A. Michael, has said that airlift into Antigua and Barbuda from its critical North East corridor of the USA will be augmented by the arrival of JetBlue Airways for the upcoming winter season.

The arrival of JetBlue, he announced, will open up the destination to even more business, increase the competitiveness of the destination within the US travel market and encourage more air travel.

The Tourism Minister made the remarks, at a press conference held last week Friday at the V.C Bird International Airport, attended by Antigua and Barbuda Government Officials, Senior Executives of JetBlue Airways, Antigua and Barbuda Airline Executives and Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Officials.

JetBlue Airways, will begin direct service to Antigua from its base in New York’s JFK International Airport on November 5.

The airline is known for its attractive fares, and value service which has created a strong brand loyalty among a younger demographic in the US.  The JetBlue Airbus A320, which carries 150 seats will be available to travellers to Antigua on, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

The Tourism Minister said, “We are excited to be bringing JetBlue to Antigua and Barbuda following successful negotiations. As a new airline flying into Antigua, JetBlue will make the destination more accessible to visitors searching for affordable and direct same day connections.”

“We are confident in the ability of our team in the US, to stimulate demand for the destination within the north eastern region, from New York to Washington.  This is an opportunity to, increase our tourism arrivals for the 2015/2016 winter season, and grow our tourism business.”

The Tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut is the largest metropolitan area of the US and is home to some 23.6 Million people who comprise a key demographic amongst the US source market.

“We offer customers more options than any other airline to the Caribbean, and the beautiful destination of Antigua will be a great addition to our network for those wanting to discover something new. A gorgeous Caribbean island, Antigua offers beaches, history and romance, along with world-class resorts like Sandals.” said Marty St. George, executive vice president, commercial and planning, JetBlue.

The news of the new JetBlue flight was received with much enthusiasm by hoteliers on island who look forward to the impact that the increased seats will have on occupancy and revenues.

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