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Archive for August, 2015

Social sharing app revolutionizes the world of Carnival!

New York, NY – On July 10th, 2015, CEO Rudo Morrison of Carnival Info (CINFO) launched, Carnival Info Mobile, a new app that interfaces with top social media platforms and creates a social network centered on the complete Caribbean style Carnival experience! The recently launched mobile application has over 50,000k users on iPhone and growing quickly on Android targeting users within the Caribbean diaspora that are searching for latest Carnival information as well as travelers abroad interested in going to Carnival.

Rudo Morrison, CINFO Co-Founder says, “We are excited to offer a mobile app to help travelers experience carnival anywhere in the world. We are especially happy to offer this tool for free to all carnival stakeholders. Everyone from Band leaders to event promoters have free access to our users so that they may reach a broader world audience and showcase their talents.”

It’s a little known fact that we are the largest carnival resource on the Internet. Our love for the authentic Carnival experience has allowed us to merge our passion with business strategy to develop this app. We’ve taken all of that information and packaged it into an app that’s not only visually appealing, but functional, says Gordon Henry, CINFO Co-Founder.

Using geo-target marketing, Carnival Info Mobile builds profile information for every member by using smart filters which make it easier to target a specific demographic.  Assessing data like age, gender, and Carnival locations creates itineraries of interest and marketing campaigns based on user frequency.  Utilizing the My Carnival Info feature app can further expand each users profile (think Pinterest with a Carnival twist) to include connecting with homogenous music, costumes and events further expanding opportunities for corporate brands to survey the Carnival experience from a participant perspective, connecting people, places and all things Carnival, like never before.

Carnival Info Mobile App-abilities:

-Filter by location and search for Costumes, Events and Music.

-Receive notification alerts on updated content by location or interest.

-Customize trips to any Carnival taking place in the Caribbean, United States, Canada or the UK.

-Social sharing of saved trip itineraries and carnival itineraries


Posted in: 2015 News, Allied News, Blog

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Barbados to host OK Class World’s 2017

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS. AUGUST 10, 2015 – Barbados has won the bid over Germany for the right to host one of the world’s leading yachting events in 2017.

The OK Class World’s travels to various destinations around the world each year, as most of the yachting classes do, and it is expected that this event will attract 100 of the world’s best sailors to compete against each other in Carlisle Bay.  These sailors are known to travel with their families and companions, a trend that will be of direct benefit to local accommodation providers, restaurants, car rental companies and other industry players.

Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) CEO, William Griffith, attributed the win to the critical support of partners, who have helped to make hosting the event in Barbados an irresistible proposition.

“Through the invaluable support of Geest Shipping, which continues to be a loyal partner in getting the boats here, as well as Mount Gay Distilleries and the Barbados Port Inc., Barbados is once again in the limelight as a premier yacht-friendly destination.

“We will continue to build on our strong reputation as a preferred host country on the international yachting circuit having already hosted the Fireball Barbados World’s in 2010, which was followed by our most successful event to date, the 505 International Barbados World’s in 2013.”

The year 2017 will also see Barbados hosting, for the first time, two international yachting competitions in one year, as the island will also play host to the very large and popular Finn Masters World’s.  That event will feature races among a class of heavier dinghies as seen in the Summer Olympic Games.  It is expected that the latter event attract as many as 200 boats and some 500 sailors and their family and friends.   Together, with the arrivals projected for the OK Class World’s, Barbados is expected to welcome over 800 visitors to the island through this sports tourism niche over a three-week period.

Next year will see the island hosting the GP14s Barbados Worlds Championship 2016 and the Seaview Class events.  To date there has already been a record number of entries for the GP14s Worlds event.  These will be followed later in the year by the ‘Barbados 50 – A Sailing Odyssey’, in commemoration of Barbados’ 50th Independence Anniversary Celebrations.

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St. Kitts & Nevis welcomes new non-stop service from Newark by United Airlines

Basseterre, St. Kitts (August 10, 2015) – The St. Kitts Tourism Authority today announces that United Airlines is launching inaugural non-stop service from its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to St. Kitts.   Commencing December 19, 2015, the flights will operate weekly on Saturdays through April 30, 2016.

The schedule for these flights is as follows-

Flight            Depart                  Arrive

UA 1925       EWR 9:00am       SKB 2:10pm

UA 1925       SKB 3:05pm        EWR 6:35pm

United will utilize a 737-800 aircraft with capacity ranging from 154 to 166 seats for these flights.  These flights will complement existing non-stop airlift into St. Kitts from North America, providing more convenient options for travelers to get to St. Kitts during the peak winter travel season.

“The launch of this new service from United is very significant for St. Kitts, particularly as many of our new hotel developments including Belle Mont Farm at Kittitian Hill, Park Hyatt St. Kitts at Christophe Harbour, Koi Resort & Residences and Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Kitts are open or opening within the next few years,” said the Hon. Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce Mr. Lindsay F.P. Grant.  “To support the growth in available room stock, a simultaneous growth of our airlift is required.  The Northeastern U.S. has historically been our largest source market for visitors, and these new flights also allow for more connections from key gateways in and near this region.”

The Hon. Mark Brantley, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation for St. Kitts & Nevis and Deputy Premier of Nevis stated, “We welcome the United Airlines flight from Newark as an integral component of our strategy to provide non-stop airlift from our key international gateways. Our visitor research and stakeholder input have indicated that New Jersey is a very strong market for the Federation and for Nevis, in particular.”

United is the U.S. airline with the most comprehensive global route network, and the new service provides additional connections from St. Kitts’ top feeder gateways including: Washington D.C.’s Reagan National Airport (DCA) and  Dulles International Airport (IAD); Baltimore/Washington International Airport (IAD); Boston Logan International Airport (BOS); and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). United actively maintains and specifically operates an early departure from Chicago into Newark to support traffic into Caribbean destinations.

“We’re excited to offer new service into St. Kitts from our world-class Newark hub,” said Director of Leisure Sales for United Airlines, Vic Kerckhoff. “This addition will mark United’s 18th Caribbean destination from our domestic airports, offering more flexibility and choice for flyers traveling to the region.”

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Saint Lucia Tourist Board reports another successful North American Showcase

Saint Lucia (August 03, 2015) – The Saint Lucia Tourist Board and industry partners have hailed the just concluded North American Showcase “another fruitful and productive marketplace encounter”. The 2015 North American Showcase attracted twenty-five international wholesale and tour operator companies, and double that number out of the domestic market.

According to the Director of Tourism Louis Lewis, another indicator of success for the Board has been the admirable level and quality of partner support extended by award winning Saint Lucian resorts and tourism and hospitality service providers.

“The vision and aim of the Showcase can only be fully realized with the input of our resorts and allied services. In that regard we are very pleased for the partnership of Windjammer Landing Beach Resort, Capella Marigot, Ladera, Jade Mountain, Anse Chastanet, NatMed, Holiday Taxi, FLOW, Barefoot Holidays and Sugar Beach Resort and Spa this year.”

The North American showcase is an annual marketing event by the Saint Lucia Tourist Board to connect tour operators from the US and Canadian Markets with owners and executives of tourism related services from Saint Lucia. Among its manifold objectives, is the forging of new business partnerships and building product knowledge among those who sell Saint Lucia, through a destination exploration experience.

A much anticipated highlight of the program every year is the announcement and recognition of top selling tour operators. This year, six leading tour operators from the US and Canada were singled out for recognition for top sales performance during a dinner ceremony set against the backdrop of picturesque Marigot Bay. The Capella Resort sponsored event culminated the opening day, Friday August 1st.

From Canada, Classic Vacations took the award for the Most Improved Sales Support from a tour operator, having sold the largest volume of room nights to Saint Lucia from that market, while Air Canada Vacations copped the Top Producing Canadian Tour Operator award 2014. Out of the US market, EXPEDIA made off with the Top Producing Online Tour Operator award while   Travel Impressions took the award for Top Producing Traditional Tour Operator, as the On-line tour operator who has produced the greatest number of room nights out of the US market for 2014.  BOOKING.COM was named the Fastest Growing Tour Operator having demonstrated the greatest growth for 2014 over 2013.

This year saw the introduction of a new award category – Best Producing Tour Operator for Weddings & Honeymoons which was captured by Travel Impressions.  Each recipient received a one of a kind sculpture commissioned by the Board from Saint Lucia’s iconic and internationally celebrated sculptors – Eudovic Studios.

According to the Tourism director, the awards are determined annually from analysis of confidential statistics collected from the partners by the Board. In his remarks to the business partners and sector representatives in attendance, the Director emphasized the value placed by the Board on nurturing its partnerships and continually investing in building product knowledge and in recognizing the performance of the partners who interface with the market.

“Saint Lucia salutes all of the tour operators here with us this evening as your business is very important to Saint Lucia. Tonight we are celebrating combined successes, for we recognize that your success is our success, and our success comes as a consequence of your performance”, Mr. Lewis said.

The packed three-day program also included breakfast visits to resorts in the north, and western coast site visits by cruise, to Anse Chastanet, Jade Mountain and Ladera Resorts with dining at Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort.  The curtains came down on the packed three-day program with an All-White Spa and Beachside Party sponsored by Windjammer Hotel. The event started out with a tour of the resort’s newly completed Spa and Gym Facilities, then a Dancing Congo Line to the Beach followed by dinner served under all white decorated tents. A farewell brunch sponsored by Coconut Bay Beach Resort in the island’s south brought an official close to the program on departure day.

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New luxury hotel breaks ground in Puerto Rico’s central mountain region

August 4, 2015, OROCOVIS, Puerto Rico – Yesterday the prestigious Nayara hotel chain and Toro Verde Adventure Park came together for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the construction of the new luxury Nayara Toro Verde Hotel in Orocovis. The Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) is excited to welcome the Nayara flag to Puerto Rico, specifically to Toro Verde Adventure Park in the central mountain range region. The Nayara  hotel chain, which is no longer exclusive to Costa Rica with its expansion to Puerto Rico, has ample
brand recognition and holds a high reputation in the international tourism industry community.

“In addition to the prestige that the construction of a Nayara hotel brings to our destination’s tourism industry, the project also represents an important initiative for the economic development of the mountain region and Puerto Rico,” stated Ingrid I. Rivera Rocafort, executive director of the PRTC. “The first phase of the construction process represents a $2.5 million investment which will create between 50 and 60 jobs. In its operational phase, the hotel will employ between 50 and 60 additional individuals.”

In addition to its economic contribution, the hotel will also supplement Puerto Rico’s tourism industry as plans for expansion are already underway. The first phase of construction will include 20 luxury cabins, a lobby, common guest areas, and a swimming pool. The hotel is expected to comply with all the PRTC’s requirements to be certified as an eco-touristic development. According to Rivera Rocafort, plans for the completed construction project include a total of 50 cabins for an estimated comprehensive investment of $6 million in the island’s economy.

“Toro Verde is a dream come true,” said Jorge Jorge, CEO of Toro Verde. “Thanks to your support and our desire to always be innovators and stay on the cutting edge of the eco-tourism trends, we have joined forces with the Nayara flag, a world renowned five-star hotel chain with plenty of experience in providing unforgettable experiences to their guests. These facilities in the Toro Verde Mountains will bring a new perspective to the luxury and ecotourism niche markets in Puerto Rico. I am positive that this is the beginning of another successful undertaking, one that will showcase the potential of our beautiful Island to the world.”

“Today is a very important day for us,” said Mr. Fredy Obando, Nayara Hotel Company.  “It marks the first time Nayara Hotel expands its horizons beyond Costa Rica. We are very excited that this growth is happening in this beautiful island and within such a successful project as Toro Verde is. I am sure that this partnership be very beneficial to Puerto Rico and will attract a new market to the destination.”

The groundbreaking ceremony for the hotel in the renowned nature adventure park also included the inauguration of the Labyrinth Rope Course. The innovative, $200,000 structure measures 60 feet by 60 feet and boasts 36 different adventure courses, including suspension bridges, canopies, obstacles, and rappelling lines. The Labyrinth Rope Course will be the largest in America and have a capacity to host 50 people per hour. It will be used mainly for team building dynamics and birthday celebrations.

“We are grateful to the Nayara Hotel Company for its trust in Puerto Rico as a travel destination and the developers of the Toro Verde for their vision and commitment to creating a unique adventure park,” said Rivera Rocafort. “This park will continue to attract travelers to our Island in search of adventures such as the challenging ‘The Beast’ zip line, the newly inaugurated Labyrinth Rope Course and the upcoming Nayara Toro Verde Hotel. At the Puerto Rico Tourism Company we are very fortunate to have Toro Verde as an ally of the tourism industry and the promotion of Puerto Rico as a five-star destination”.

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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Grand Bahama Island visitor occupancy soars for summer 2015

Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas – August 5, 2015: Grand Bahama Island visitor arrivals and occupancy levels have increased significantly this year. Statistics show that the occupancy rate for Grand Bahama Island in June has increased by 18.2% compared to the previous year, to 72%. Another sign of increased demand is a 40.1% increase in the year-to-date number of room nights sold in June was 253,941 versus 181,248 from the previous year. The amount of available rooms was 352,767 in June 2015, as compared to 337,009 last year, an increase of 4.6%.

Partnerships with Vacation Express, Sunwing Travel Group, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, the Grand Bahama Island Promotion Board, Balearia and Grand Celebration Cruise Line have all been instrumental in the outreach efforts this summer, selling great package deals and fantastic accommodations. Sunwing Travel Group, specifically, has sold 76,538 room nights in June 2015—a phenomenal increase of 90.52%, which could not have been accomplished without strong collaboration between all partners. Since the inception of Sunwing’s operation on Grand Bahama Island in January 2014, they have sold an average of 8,100 room nights per month, through June 30, 2015.

Additionally, Vacation Express’ summer program has booked 21,153 passengers this year compared to 10,000 passengers booked last year. One of the main factors in the success of the packages offered by Vacation Express and Sunwing Travel Group has been the strategic multi-pronged promotion plan implemented by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism in the US market. The plan included not only national promotion of the packages but media blitzes in the eight gateway cities in the US, with multiple interviews with local media from broadcast to print to radio, geo-targeted radio and digital ads and geo-targeted PR outreach.  The marketing plan resulted not only in successfully raising Grand Bahama Island’s brand awareness and driving destination desire but also in increased bookings.

Rounding out the successful increases in visitors, since resumption of service in February of this year, the Grand Celebration Cruise Line has sold a resounding 23,804 room nights, with the Grand Lucayan receiving 78.5%.

“The Bahamas’ tourism industry continues to reap the results of all of its hard work and dedication from both the public and private sector. The increase in business is a direct result of the combined, strategic efforts across the board. We still have lots of work to do, but we are on the right track,” said the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Obie H. Wilchcombe.

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