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Antigua & Barbuda celebrate new British Airways route

(St. John’s, Antigua) – V.C Bird International Airport will serve as an important hub for UK based carrier British Airways, as the airline, on Sunday, launched their inaugural flight service from Antigua to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The route is historic, as it will be the first, direct flight connection between the Eastern Caribbean and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Minister of Tourism, The Hon. Asot Michael, at a reception to launch the service, said to a gathering of Tourism officials from the Turks and Caicos Islands and Antigua and Barbuda:

“The rise in popularity of Antigua and Barbuda and Turks & Caicos is demonstrated by British Airways agreeing to add a direct link between our two destinations.”

He also said, “This added service means new opportunities, and choices available to us for increased business activities and closer collaboration. The end result will be greater economic growth while, simultaneously building the spirit of regional integration between our two countries.”

The weekly flight from Gatwick, to Antigua on a Boeing 777 then onwards to Providenciales, will operate every Sunday from March 29.

Minister Michael said, the new route allows for visa free travel  and will encourage more business and leisure travellers  to island hop, from Antigua to Turks and Caicos and vice versa.

Welcoming the airline, as they prepared to board the inaugural flight were:  The Hon. Porsha Stubbs-Smith, Minister of Tourism Turks & Caicos, Dr. Kingsley Been, Chairman of Turks & Caicos Tourism Board, Ralph Higgs, Director of Tourism, Turks & Caicos and Mrs. Lavern Skippings-Reynolds, Airport Manager, Providenciales International Airport.

An invitation was extended to the Government and The People of the Turks and Caicos to travel to Antigua for the country’s Summer Carnival: July 25 – August 4 2015.

With a new terminal to be opened in June, Antigua’s V.C. Bird International’s airport expansion, will increase capacity, allowing the destination to develop new routes.  The terminal, which will be the most modern in the Eastern Caribbean will feature the latest technology, first class duty free shopping and VIP lounges, creating a more efficient and enhanced passenger experience.

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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Trinidad & Tobago receives award for Sustainable Tourism Promotion at ITB 2015

Port-of-Spain, trinidad – March 9, 2015. Trinidad and Tobago represented by a delegation of senior government officials from the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Development Company (TDC) and the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), Division of  Tourism and Transportation accompanied by stakeholders kicked off day one of the ITB Berlin Convention with an award presented by DERPART Travel Services for Sustainable Destination Promotion on the German Market.

Derpart is one of the leading travel agency networks in Germany with more than 450 franchise travel agencies with total revenue of 1.5 billion EURO and ranks among Germany’s 500 largest companies. Trinidad and Tobago was given special recognition for its success in building an excellent reputation as a reliable and trustful partner of the German travel industry through its stable marketing efforts and unchanged presence in the German market.

The destination was also commended for actively responding to the rapidly changing demands of travel consumers and the latest booking trends in destination marketing.

Commenting shortly after accepting the award from Derpart, Keith Chin, Chief Executive Officer, Tourism Development Company said, “I am indeed honoured to accept this award on behalf of Trinidad and Tobago. This recognition by Depart is a testament to our continued commitment to the advancement of the tourism product in Trinidad and Tobago.”

He further added, “As a destination we continue to position ourselves as a premier destination of choice and participation at shows such as ITB allows us to sell our product offering in a market that despite occasional shocks have shown virtually uninterrupted growth with travel continuing to be a mega trend with positive forecasts for every major economic zone.”

Germany continues to be a key source market for the destination, in particular the sister isle of Tobago. For 2015, the german economy is Europe’s biggest economy and Germans have an increased interest in discovering new destinations or undertaking new types of holiday having the financial security and available time to travel. In 2013 this market accounted for a total spend of $85.9 billion abroad.

Closing off the day in true Trinbagonian style, Trinidad and Tobago hosted a rum and chocolate tasting session for exhibitors and visitors to the convention. The session was led by former Miss World 1986 Giselle La Ronde- West who provided commentary on Angostura’s signature 1919 rum while ace pannist Johann Chuckaree brought the house down with his energetic performance on the steelpan.

ITB is the world’s leading travel show and is scheduled to run over a five day period from March 4th – 8th, 2015. Trinidad and Tobago joins over 180 countries, 10,000 exhibitors, 50,000 private visitors and 110,000 trade visitors at the show, an opportunity which offers the destination an ideal platform for networking with representatives from tour operators, online booking agents, hotels and many other service providers.

For more information on ITB 2015 and Trinidad and Tobago’s participation please contact the TDC’s Corporate Communications Department at [email protected] or [email protected] tdc.co.tt

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News, ITB & WTM

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Curaçao to launch new International BlueSeas Festival this May

Willemstad, Curaçao – March 2015 – Following the success of the renowned Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival, the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao will host its inaugural Curaçao International BlueSeas Festival from May 7-9, 2015. The Curaçao International BlueSeas Festival, a celebration of traditional and gentrified jazz music, will host a variety of international musicians, including the legendary Original Blues Brothers, Buddy Guy, and emerging artists such as Kat Riggins, The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band and Moreland & Arbuckle.

During the first two nights of the BlueSeas Festival, May 7th and 8th, nine artists will perform free concerts on the streets of “Blues Village” in Pietermaai Smal, an up-and-coming neighborhood in Willemstad. Closing night, May 9th, the main stage at Kleine Werf in downtown Punda will feature the festival headliners, the Original Blues Brothers and Buddy Guy, for a ticketed performance.

Curaçao’s continued support for live performances has made it a popular and well-known destination for artists and musicians. The success and popularity of the Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival, now heading into its 6th year, has paved the way, already ushering in music enthusiasts from all over the world to this small, yet bustling island.

“We’re excited to offer visitors even more opportunities to enjoy live music and performances on island, particularly within the jazz and blues realm,” said Hugo Clarinda, Deputy Director of the Curaçao Tourist Board. “Visitors will find the island’s vibrant lifestyle and intimate venues a perfect match to compliment the atmosphere of this new festival.”

In addition to the festival’s full list of evening performances, attendees can take advantage of Curaçao’s rich culture, spectacular diving, world-class museums, and variety of adventure activities. Tickets to the Kleine Werf stage in downtown Willemstad are on sale now for $31.50 USD. For more information, visit www.curacaoblueseasfestival.com.

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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The island of Montserrat is on the rebound

A dynamic tourism marketing thrust driven by a new website, which has just gone live, is seeing the island creatively and meaningfully brought to life.

The former capital Plymouth, now literally suspended in time, is a central feature of Montserrat’s new lease of life in its tourism brand strategy.

At the forefront of this new drive is Montserrat’s Director of Tourism, Anita Nightingale.

Ms Nightingale, in the job for a little over eight months, has been consulting with stakeholders on- and off-island, including tour operators in key target countries as she leads the drive to craft Montserrat’s post-volcano tourism industry.

The Soufrière Hills volcano, along with the walk-through museum of island’s former capital, are central features of that strategy.

“The volcano,” enthuses the new tourism director, “forms our gritty side and it has positively influenced this new strategy. But it is always in partnership with our lush green side.”

“We want people who are fascinated by our geography of contrasts,” she adds, pointing out that in terms of the volcano, “We are at our lowest hazard level ever. Now is the time for people to come.”

A first step on that journey to discover Montserrat – and to rediscover for others – begins with the rebranded, cutting-edge yet user-friendly website www.visitmontserrat.com, which was designed by Katalyst Creative Partners.

“The goal of the site,” tourism director Nightingale explains, “is to make it intuitive and accessible via any medium, from desktops to laptops, from tablets to smartphones. We are emphasising bold imagery and less text. The pictures tell the story.”

Go Off the Grid; Explore the Green and the Gritty is the greeting awaiting visitors to the image-laden site, giving a first hint of the adventure that beckons.

“Another word for gritty is our tough side,” says Ms Nightingale referring in part to the oft-quoted resilience of Montserratians and the charm of the island.

“So we have our soft side and our tough side. Very much like our own people.”

“Montserrat,” the tourism director explains, “is a destination of adventure and seclusion and so what we are offering is a double-edged experience.”

“A lot of our travellers are coming from big cities where they always have to be connected and this is one way where they can just disconnect and rediscover the power and serenity of nature, without having to go very far.”

Ms Nightingale, who has been representing Montserrat at major international tourism trade fairs, already sees Montserrat’s unique dual new niche.

”We have Plymouth which is of itself an extraordinary attraction,” the tourism director points out.

“In Mexico they have the lost city, in the United States they have ghost towns but here we have a hidden town, the only one of its kind in the Americas.”

“And especially with the volcano and Plymouth, we definitely want to make Montserrat a destination of intrigue.”

This island-of-extremes approach defines Montserrat’s new and unique branding in the tourism market.

“We’re looking primarily at the adventurer…not just those who are looking for an activity that pushes boundaries but those who are nature- and culture-focused as well.

“We are talking about environmental science students and professionals…people who have more than a passing interest in nature.”

Her research shows that there are a lot of geology colleges that do field trips every semester “and we want to be one of their destinations.”

“We are targeting people who appreciate a nature-rich environment and are willing to do things within it to challenge themselves. That would be hiking, diving, bird watching, spearfishing, boat tours and other outdoor activities.”

On the other hand, the villa tourism industry which successfully underpinned Montserrat’s tourism in the past years and for which the island has become well-known, is also highlighted.

“The villa sector which was the cornerstone of Montserrat’s pre-volcano tourism industry still accounts for 80% of accommodation, but for those who want something a little more intimate with more of a local connection, bed and breakfasts and guesthouses are equally important.”

“Our main traveller, the Adventurer, is one who will stay here ideally for seven to nine days. Another key target is the day and weekend excursionist, like those coming by ferry and yacht.”

And after all that exploring of the only buried capital in the Americas, all that hiking, diving, touring and relaxing, turn it up for some serious partying Montserrat style.

Montserratians know how to unwind and party. After all, this little gem of an island gave the world the party anthem Hot Hot Hot by local artiste and international star Arrow.

It was also the home of the world famous AIR Studios of ex-Beatles producer George Martin where the likes of Stevie Wonder, Sting, Paul McCartney, and Earth Wind & Fire recorded albums.

So exactly how do you party in Montserrat?

Ms Nightingale knows.

“The beauty about Montserrat is that you can bring your own party here—preferably on a moonlit black-sand beach.

And you are also welcome at any local shindig.

As the Montserrat saying goes: “You’re safe.”

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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The Saint Lucia Tourist Board Increases Tourism Outreach with New Diaspora Program

SAINT LUCIA (March 5, 2015) – The Saint Lucia Tourist Board has launched a dedicated marketing initiative to reach the island’s Diaspora in North America and the United Kingdom. Called Se Sannou, meaning “our thing” in Creole, the program is designed to strengthen ties with the Diaspora community as a knowledgeable and valuable resource to showcase the island as a choice vacation destination in lead source markets.

The Saint Lucia Tourist Board will offer dedicated training sessions for members of the Diaspora community who wish to become skilled “Diaspora Touchpoints.” The tourism ambassadors will also receive a “Se Sannou” toolkit, marketing materials, merchandise, a quarterly newsletter with trends and island developments, and more.  A dedicated landing page will be included on http://stlucianow.com/ and an invitation-only Facebook group will connect the Diaspora community and encourage worldwide member dialogue. Prizes will be awarded for lead generation, including the chance to win a family vacation for four to Saint Lucia.

“Members of our Diaspora community are in a unique position to share their love and knowledge of their home with other members of the community and any potential visitors” says Louis Lewis, ‎director of tourism for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board. “They are an untapped resource who can be passionate advocates and help contribute to Saint Lucia’s leading tourism industry.”

Additional Se Sannou launch events will be held in the following markets: New York City on March 5; Toronto on March 7; and Washington D.C. on March 14.

For more information about the island of Saint Lucia and the Se Sannou Diaspora program, call 1-800-456-3984, or 1-800 4STLUCIA or visit http://stlucianow.com/.

About Saint Lucia

One of the Windward Islands of the West Indies’ Lesser Antilles, Saint Lucia (pronounced Saint LOO-sha) is nestled halfway down the Eastern Caribbean archipelago. The “Helen of the West Indies,” Saint Lucia is known for its natural beauty and diverse attractions, including the signature Piton Mountains – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – a tropical rainforest and one of the world’s few drive-in volcanoes. Culturally rich offerings include the bustling marketplace in the capital of Castries, quaint fishing villages along the coastline, and the annual Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival. Saint Lucia’s wide range of accommodations includes world-class five-star resorts, all-inclusive resorts, intimate inns and value-oriented properties. Saint Lucia also is home to world class cruise and yachting facilities. The island is continually recognized as one of the Leading Wedding and Honeymoon destinations worldwide.

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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Barbados’ Strong Presence at ITB Berlin 2015

GERMANY, BERLIN. March 5, 2015 – Barbados’ Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, is heading a delegation of local industry leaders at ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show.

From March 4 – 9, 2015, the Messe Berlin has become a melting pot of global tourism excellence as key decision-makers negotiate important travel partnerships and unveil innovative holiday products.  In 2014 a total of 10,147 companies and organisations from 189 countries exhibited their products and services to 174,000 visitors, including 114,000 trade visitors.

The Barbados booth is staffed by a high-level delegation including Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), Alvin Jemmott, and BTMI CEO, William Griffith.  They are joined by Suresh Monickoraja of Accra Beach Hotel & Spa; Glynis Jeffrey from Elegant Hotels; and Andrea Quinn-Ward of St. James Travel & Tours.Olaf Päpke of Star Clippers.  Waves Hotel’s Gary Orr and Titti Kerr Axelsson of West Indian International Tours have also made the trip to this important travel trade fair.

Through advanced planning, the Barbadian team has secured back-to-back meetings with tour operators, wholesalers, online retailers, airlines, media partners and press.

Representatives at the BTMI also plan to use this opportunity to launch their latest promotion, “Brilliant Barbados”.  CEO Griffith recently stated that Brilliant Barbados has been designed “to drive incremental business in the traditionally softer period of the year”.  He added that “the battle for growth and sustainability for visitor arrivals will not be won solely by winter performances. It requires greater effort and more targeted marketing activity in the summer and fall months”.

The booking window for the Brilliant Barbados promotion will open from early March for five weeks and travel will be required between May 9 and December 19, 2015.  Thirty participating hotels and a number of local attractions have come on board to offer visitors discounts.

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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18.88% Increase in Visitor Arrivals to Grenada in 2014

(St. George’s, Grenada) 5th March 2015 – 18.88% more cruise and stay-over visitors came to Grenada in 2014 than in 2013, revealing an increased interest for travel to the beautiful tri-island state.

Cruise is one of five main market niches for Grenada, with three ports of entry for cruise ships. One hundred and fifty six cruise calls brought 235,140 passengers to Grenada in 2014, contributing an excess of twenty six million Eastern Caribbean dollars to the economy. Last year, ports at Grenada and Carriacou welcomed a total of eleven (11) inaugural cruise calls, with two during the months of July and September after a long hiatus.

There were 133,521 stay-over visitors in 2014, an increase of 18.36% or 20,709 in real terms when compared to 2013. These stay-over arrivals added over $347M to the economy. On average, Maurice Bishop International Airport receives three hundred and forty (340) inbound flights from major cities in the USA, the UK, Canada, Germany, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Visitors came to Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique mostly for leisure, vacation, visiting family or friends, weddings, honeymoons, or business. The majority of persons that came last year for weddings and honeymoons were from the United States of America, while 90% of visitors who came for business and conventions were from the Caribbean.

Venezuela proved to be an emerging source market for visitors to Grenada. In 2014, 289.38% Venezuelans flew to Grenada on the airline, Conviasa which increased its airlift to two weekly flights last year. These South Americans tend to travel in groups and learn of Grenada via word of mouth.

The Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) presented a statistical overview of 2014 at its press conference yesterday at its headquarters on the picturesque Carenage, St. George’s. “Destination Pure Grenada – the Spice of the Caribbean is being recognised more in the marketplace, due to the work of the Grenada Tourism Authority and all our stakeholders. My fellow directors, managers and officers of the GTA thank you all for your dedication to developing our tourism sector,” remarked Mr. Richard Strachan, Chairman of the Board of Directors, GTA.


Media Contact

Chrislyn Lashington

Corporate Communications Officer, Grenada Tourism Authority

[email protected] ; 473 440 2001/2279

For all our recent news releases go to www.puregrenada.com/news

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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