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Archive for 2015

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard choose The Bahamas for wedding

New York, NY, (February 13, 2015) – This weekend, one of the more lavish celebrity parties took place not in LA but in paradise; the official wedding celebrations of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.  The couple chose the picturesque private Island in The Bahamas that Johnny Depp owns in The Exumas for their wedding ceremony and celebrations.  The guest-list included family members but was star-studded with Steven Tyler, Marily Manson, Helena Bonham Carter, and Tim Burton who were among those in attendance.

Johnny Depp has been in love with The Islands Of The Bahamas since filming the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” film.  Depp purchased a private island, in The Bahamas 11 years ago.  His Island, Little Hall’s Pond Cay, in The Exumas is 45 acres and includes 6 private beaches named after his children.

Depp and Heard are only the latest celebrities to choose The Bahamas as their destination of choice to celebrate their romantic day.  Other celebrity weddings include Cindy Crawford who married Rande Gerber at the One & Only Ocean Club, and Penelope Cruz who married Javier Bardem at a private home in Nassau.

Celebrities flock to The Bahamas as The Islands have everything to offer, from ideal year-round weather, breathtaking beaches with cerulean water, lavish hotels and amenities, along with the warm Bahamian hospitality. The good news is that couples don’t have to be rich and famous to get married at their dream destination. The Bahamas can fit the needs of all themes and budgets with endless hotel and resort options, restaurant choices and activities for the young at heart. To aid in planning this special occasion, The Bahamas Ministry Of Tourism offer 16 different wedding packages to fit any couples desires for planning the perfect destination wedding on The Islands from “Love in the Deep Blue Sea” to “Royal Bliss” ’to “Light up my Life” with prices starting from just $1,300.

The Exumas, where Depp’s island is located in The Bahamas, are an exotic collection of islands, surrounded by sapphire-blue water everywhere, with picturesque white sand beaches. Depp is not the only celebrity to choose The Bahamas as a second home. Others include: Sean Connery, David Copperfield, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Tyler Perry, Bill Gates, Diane Von Furstenburg, Elle MacPherson and Lenny Kravitz. Many celebrities choose to frequent the Bahamas Islands, to enjoy everything the tropical destination has to offer.  Some of the celebrity A-listers that visit The Bahamas regularly includes music industry’s power couple Beyonce and Jay-Z, Michael Jordon, Josh and Fergie Duhamel, LeBron James, Stevie Wonder, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and many more.

For those wanting to experience the luxury of The Islands Of The Bahamas themselves, specifically The Exumas where Johnny Depp’s island is located, The Bahamas Ministry Of Tourism is running a video competition where the winner receives a four day, three night stay at the beautiful Turquoise Cay boutique hotel. The competition, #BahamasWinterWarmUp, is open for submissions until February 20th, 2015. For more information on the #BahamasWinterWarmUp video competition, including details on partners and how to enter, visit Bahamas.com/WinterWarmUp or Facebook.com/TravelBahamas.

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Antigua and Barbuda Triathlon attracts Caribbean Top Athletes

(St. John’s, Antigua) – The region’s best triathletes are expected to go head to head once again when they meet in the twin-island paradise of Antigua and Barbuda, for the fourth annual non-profit AUA Tinman Rohr Triathlon slated for Saturday March 28.

The first half-iron distance triathlon to be held in the English-speaking independent Caribbean now enters its fourth year with Guadeloupe having retained the title for the past two years.

Participants are lured by this race taking place in one of the most picturesque islands in the Caribbean. Temperatures are welcoming with a cooling sea breeze, the waters of Antigua’s Morris Bay are calm and crystal clear, the bike course takes you through the rolling hills of the island’s spectacular southern coastline and ends with a challenging run through the lush rain-forest in Fig Tree Drive. A grueling 2 kilometer swim, 90 kilometer bike and 21 kilometer run makes this race though, one of the toughest tests for Caribbean athletes in the region.

Twelve-time Guadeloupe national champion is the reigning Tinman Rohr Champion having followed up his 2013 success last year by securing the title ahead of Cuba’s national athlete Vincente Sanabria in 2nd place. Six-time Trinidad and Tobago national champion Ancil Greene in 2014 secured third for the second year running after Antigua & Barbuda took second place on home soil in 2013. Former world champion swimmer turned triathlete Benjamin Sanson won the inaugural event in 2012 which also attracted his colleague Stephane Poulat and Argentinian national triathlete Claudio Delpueche.

The event, which attracts competitors from across the region and the wider world, will have a cap of 200 entrants in 2015 to ensure ideal race conditions for all participants. Registration is open to amateurs and professionals alike via www.antiguatinmantriathlon.com. Special accommodation rates are available.

Young athletes will also compete in a host of shorter distances to include a mini triathlon of a 500 meter swim, 10 kilometer bike and 2 kilometer run or a sprint distance of a 1 kilometer swim, 18 kilometer bike and 5 kilometer run. Age group awards will be given for 6&under, 10&under, 14&under and 18&under.

About AUA Tinman Rohr Triathlon:

The AUA Tinman Rohr Triathlon was launched in 2012 as the first half-iron distance triathlon to be held in the English speaking independent Caribbean. Currently half-iron events are also held in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands’ St Croix, Guadeloupe and the Dominican Republic.

The event is dedicated to the memory of former USA triathlete Jonathan Rohr, who passed away at the age of 25 while studying at the American University of Antigua. Rohr shared the dream of two local triathletes to create a world class half-iron triathlon in Antigua and Barbuda. He died from a rare heart disease known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) while training heavily for the event.

The Tinman Rohr is a 100 per cent non-profit event. The event is dedicated to educating athletes and the general public about heart diseases to save lives as well as raising the level of sport in Antigua & Barbuda and the wider Caribbean. All funds raised are used towards developing sports in Antigua & Barbuda.

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Barbados and WestJet YouTube Valentine’s Romance Campaign goes viral

Bridgetown, Barbados (February 13, 2015) – Just days before Valentine’s Day Barbados is  receiving ‘viral’ online attention with the release of YouTube videos in conjunction with WestJet Airlines about two surprise wedding proposals on the island for two lucky Toronto couples.

The videos, which have already received over 400 000 views, convey all the fun and magic of the romantic time spent by the couples on the island with the term “forever begins in Barbados” certainly ringing true.

Billy Griffith, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) CEO, said, “The videos feature what transpires on the island in the lead up to the proposals and are filled with surprise and delight of that special ‘Bajan’ kind, providing great entertainment and a glimpse of all the island has to offer.”

He revealed that the videos went viral almost overnight and noted: “This is fantastic exposure for the island and credit must be given to the BTMI Canadian team, led by Director Cheryl Carter, for initiating this partnership idea in 2014.

“We wanted to showcase all the romantic spots in Barbados, from our beaches, which are some of the most beautiful in the world, to our lush scenery and natural attractions and were able to do exactly that by teaming up with WestJet to fuel the fires of love.”

The videos show each couple’s journey in Barbados as they embark on spectacular adventures together, ranging from scuba diving to zip-lining, to dining at water’s edge, and taking in numerous beautiful sites along the way as they experience Barbados’ rich offering of activities, all peppered with comedic entrances from the WestJet employee.

Griffith added that the campaign proves exactly why Barbados is not only the perfect place for a marriage proposal, but is also the ideal stage for romance, a destination wedding, honeymoon, or even a romantic vacation ‘just because’.

The men in the video, Mike and J.P., were found shopping for engagement rings at a Michael Hill jewelry store in Toronto, Canada and were offered a proposal of their own, namely the opportunity to prop the question in Barbados, which naturally, they did not refuse.

Meanwhile, the unsuspecting brides-to-be, Heather and Stephanie, thought they were simply being offered a trip to Barbados to be featured in WestJet’s latest commercial. During the trip, the WestJet employee accompanying the couples had complete reign over when the rings would be presented to the grooms-to-be, for the big moment.

To see these romantic videos with Mike and J.P popping the question and Heather and Stephanie’s responses, go to http://youtu.be/MhIMLfTbM48 |http://youtu.be/_Mh3xZE-PpY |http://youtu.be/ZbdztZ6GzcE, for an exciting adventure.

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Trinidad welcomes the Ruby Princess

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad – February 12, 2015. The Ruby Princess made her inaugural visit to Trinidad on Saturday 7th February, 2015.

To commemorate the momentous occasion representatives from the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Development Company (TDC) and the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (PATT) paid a courtesy call to the ship’s captain, Master Karl Austin, during which a formal crest exchange took place.

Commenting on the ship’s inaugural visit, Mr. Keith Chin, TDC’s Chief Executive Officer said that “we are very pleased to welcome the Ruby Princess to Trinidad and Tobago. The Cruise industry provides a major opportunity for the development of the tourism industry and the diversification of the economy and it is the aim of the TDC to encourage more cruise lines to include destination Trinidad and Tobago on their itineraries.”

The ship which was christened in 2008 is part of the Princess Cruises cruise line and brought over three thousand passengers to the destination during her inaugural visit. The passengers were welcomed on the quayside with a cultural showcase featuring steelband, limbo and Indian dance performances as well as some of Trinidad and Tobago’s traditional Carnival characters. For one Trinidad born passenger, Mrs. Margaret Beaman, who currently lives in Australia, this visit was her first time returning to the island of her birth in several years and she was presented with a special gift from the destination by TDC’s CEO, Mr. Keith Chin. Mrs. Beaman and her husband were also sent on a tour to Mount St. Benedict, courtesy the TDC, where they were married over forty years ago.

Princess Cruises is part of the Carnival Corporation, one of the largest vacation companies in the world. The cruise line first set sail in 1965 with one ship sailing to Mexico and is now the third largest cruise line in the world with an eighteen ship fleet sailing to various destinations around the world including Alaska, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean. Some of the line’s largest vessels include the Regal Princess, the Royal Princess, the Caribbean Princess and the Crown Princess. One of the line’s more intimate cruise vessels, the Ocean Princess, also visited Trinidad in December, 2014.

For more information on the Cruise sector in Trinidad and Tobago contact the TDC’s Cruise Sector Specialist at 675-7034 or via email: [email protected]

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Haiti launches first-ever U.S. television advertising campaign

NEW YORK – February 11, 2015 – The Haiti Ministry of Tourism has today launched the country’s first-ever television advertising campaign aimed at attracting U.S. travelers. Developed in partnership with Cablevision, the fully-integrated campaign features :30 TV spots, a 24/7 dedicated destination channel – Haiti: Experience It! – located at Cablevision channel 650, and online exposure via News12.com.

“Haiti is taking a giant leap forward today toward recapturing her place as one of the leading tourism destinations in the Caribbean,” said Stephanie Balmir-Villedrouin, Minister of Tourism and Creative Industries. “We couldn’t be more pleased to have partnered with Cablevision on this campaign and can’t wait to showcase Haiti’s tourism charms to New York-area viewers.”

Television ad spots developed for the new Haiti tourism campaign are targeted at members of the Haitian diaspora, as well as mainstream leisure travelers. Ads will air across major cable networks in the New York tri-state area, including CNN, A&E, The History Channel, Food Network, AMC, Discovery Channel, and News 12, reaching an estimated 1 million households.

“This innovative new campaign not only helps to put Haiti firmly back on the tourism map by raising awareness, but it also gives consumers the chance to plan their travel through our very own interactive channel,” noted Ms. Villedrouin.

Haiti: Experience It!, the dedicated destination channel component of the Haiti tourism campaign, provides viewers with a convenient, interactive travel planning resource right on their own TVs. Using their cable remotes, viewers can search and select from a library of on-demand long-form videos providing in-depth information on attractions, hotels, tour guides, events, beaches, and more 24 hours per-day, seven days per-week.

“Our new campaign will run for an initial period of five months ending in June, though this is just the beginning,” said Ms. Villedrouin. “Just as behind every mountain there are more mountains in Haiti, so too will our marketing efforts continue to grow and surpass the achievements to date.”  For more information on travel to Haiti, please visit www.haititourisme.gouv.ht.


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St. Kitts Graces the Cover of DEPARTURES’ ‘Book of Extraordinary Experiences’

Basseterre, St. Kitts (February 9, 2015) – In an unannounced move by the publishing team at DEPARTURES magazine, images of St. Kitts were selected to appear as the front and back cover of the latest edition of The Book of Extraordinary Experiences.

“While we had no idea that St. Kitts’ photography would be so prominently featured by this prestigious publication until we received our copy, this is just the kind of surprise we like to get,” stated Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority. “This front-to-back cover wrap is a testament to the natural beauty of St. Kitts and the island’s growing appeal within the luxury travel market.”

In addition to the print Book itself, there is digital integration with a slideshow on Departures.com that will remain online for a total of 6 months. Further to the cover placement, the St. Kitts curated experience appears in a two-page spread on pages 32-33 of the Book (pages 31-32 in the online version), outlining things for upscale travelers to see and do on island.

Inclusion in The Book of Extraordinary Experiences is a component of St. Kitts’ recent marketing partnership with DEPARTURES.  Published twice per year, the Book curates the most exclusive itineraries for American Express Platinum Card® and Centurion® Members.  This inspirational travel collection is distributed to some of the most influential travel agents in the industry – the American Express® Platinum and Centurion Travel Service – which provides the opportunity to position St. Kitts in front of both DEPARTURES readers and the 2,300+ agents booking their travel.

DEPARTURES is the leading voice of luxury, published exclusively for American Express Platinum Card® and Centurion® Members. The exclusive membership, and targeted readership, ensures DEPARTURES is alone in connecting with these truly affluent and well-traveled individuals. DEPARTURES serves as their lifestyle sourcebook; a call to action on where to go and how to go, as well as who and what to know now.

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (10 Feb. 2015) – The Caribbean welcomed a record 26.3 million tourists in 2014, a 5.3 per cent rise over the previous year. These visitors spent  US$29.2 billion, itself a record.

The Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Richard Sealy, and the secretary general, Hugh Riley, along with the CTO’s director of research, Winfield Griffith, announced the record performance at a news conference streamed live to a global audience from the CTO headquarters today.

“Last year, we received more visitors than ever before – recording  our fifth straight year of growth as a Region – and visitors spent more money in the Caribbean than they ever did before,” said Mr. Sealy, also Barbados’s minister of tourism and international transport

“There was strong demand throughout 2014 and I am particularly pleased with our performance during the summer period when our growth rate was  almost twice that of  the summer of 2013,” he added.

The 26.3 million visitors represent 1.3 million more than in 2013, itself a record year for the Caribbean. These visitors contributed a record US$29.2 billion to Caribbean economies, a 3.9 per cent rise over the US$28 billion that visitors spent in 2013.

“With a strong year for air travel, a positive performance by the accommodation sector, solid growth in cruise visits and faster-than-expected rise in stay-over arrivals, the Caribbean Tourism Organization is pleased to report that the state of Caribbean tourism is sound,” stated Mr. Riley.

The US continues to be the region’s primary market, with nearly 13 million Americans – or just under half of the total arrivals – to the region. Canada rallied from a flat performance in 2013 to post a 5.7 per cent increase, while Europe topped five million visitors for the first time since 2008, registering a 4.6 per cent increase over 2013.

“There’s no doubt that political and economic conditions, increased airline seat capacity, improved airport facilities, increased room stock – as recognized hotel chains established themselves in our destinations – and new initiatives in the marketplace, all contributed to this success,” Mr. Riley added.

The 5.3 per cent rise which the Region recorded was above the global growth rate of 4.7 per cent announced by the UN body, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and nearly twice the predicted two per cent to three per cent growth.

According to Mr. Griffith, leisure travel is showing steady demand again as the economies in the main markets continue signs of resurgence. This heightened demand significantly benefitted the Caribbean and is evident in the record number of visitors.

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