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Archive for 2015

Antigua and Barbuda opens the Caribbean’s newest and most modern state of the art airport terminal

(St. John’s, Antigua) – The twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda has opened one of the most modern international airports in the Caribbean.  The 23,000 square meters new terminal for the destination, more than doubles the capacity of the adjacent previous terminal, making way for an increase in passenger use of the V.C. Bird International Airport as an all important airline hub, and the  largest gateway to the Eastern Caribbean.

There are 4 jet bridges, and a unique, state of the art baggage sorting and scanning system. With faster immigration processing times, user friendly innovations and features, the near US$100 million terminal that opens for operation on August 24, will greatly improve the visitor experience, allowing travellers expedited access to Antigua and Barbuda, and maximum sun time on the destination’s 365 beaches.

For those departing, there are 46 check-in counters and 15 self-check in kiosks. A bigger departure lounge, offers more space to relax, modern comforts, multiple gates, and an enhanced shopping and dining experience. The facility houses 30 retail units including International brands Dufry, Colombian Emeralds, Café Britt, Café Player and Subway. Free wifi and Internet service is available for the tech savvy traveler, while travelers with pets, can take advantage of the airport’s pet friendliness by enjoying the pet restroom.

There are three brand, new lounges: A VVIP lounge, a VIP lounge and an Airport Executive Lounge. The airport executive lounge, with outdoor balcony offers remarkable views of two of Antigua’s offshore islands – Long Island and Maiden Island, giving passengers the opportunity to bask in the last rays of sunshine before their flight.

The modern facility, funded by China EXIM Bank concessional loan, and by a Chinese Government Interest Free Loan, has also been specially designed with elevators, escalators and ramps, to serve the travel needs of passengers requiring special assistance.

The terminal building will also see an innovative feature intended to further advance Antigua and Barbuda’s reputation as a leader in sustainable tourism and sustainable development within the region.  This involves the establishment of a 3 mega watt solar photovoltaic facility, to provide green energy solutions to the considerable demand for electrical energy in the new terminal.

Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Energy and Investment, The Honourable Asot Michael says, “What we are celebrating today as we cut a ribbon is the largest single infrastructural investment in the development of our young nation. This facility, is one that we can all be proud of and of which I am confident will help ensure the bright and successful future of Antigua and Barbuda. It will further cement our position as a premier tourist destination of choice in the Caribbean.

“We are responsible for ensuring a major part of this, by ensuring that our islands are exactly what we promise: welcoming, beautiful, safe and enjoyable; from the point when visitors touch down to their departure we will ensure that their experience is one that is unforgettable and that they take back only warm and lasting memories of their time spent in our beautiful country.”

For the upcoming winter season, JetBlue Airways will begin direct service to Antigua’s new international airport, from New York’s JFK International Airport on November 5. In December, Alitalia will begin weekly service from Milan, and Seaborne Airlines will begin direct service from San Juan.

The V.C. Bird International Airport currently offers service to more than fifty destinations worldwide on Air Canada, American Airlines, British Airways, Caribbean Airlines, Condor, Delta Airlines, LIAT (1974) Ltd, St Barth Commuter, ABM Air, Thomas Cook Airlines, Tradewinds Aviation, United Airlines, US Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways and WestJet.

The new terminal will operate 24 hours a day.  The previous terminal building which processed over 860,000 passengers per year, will continue be used partially for administrative purposes.

The new and greatly improved V. C. Bird International Airport terminal is the latest jewel in the country’s tourism crown, and will position Antigua and Barbuda for unprecedented growth in the travel and tourism industry.

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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Cayman Islands mid-year visitor arrivals show overall positive increase

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands (31 July 2015) Following another consecutive record breaking year in 2014 the Cayman Islands has remained in a modest growth positon year to date June 2015. Overall air arrivals for 2015 have remained steady with year to date arrivals increasing by 1.43 percent. The month of June saw a slight decrease in stay over visitors when compared to the same month in 2014. Year to date 2015, there have been 213,495 air arrivals, compared to 210,491 for the same period of 2014.

Cruise arrivals for the Cayman Islands have shown a marked increase with a 9.21 percent increase for the month of June 2015.  The total numbers of cruise visitors in the month of June were 94,511.  Year over year statistics also demonstrate that cruise visitation for the first six months equaled 908,881, a 5.50 percent increase over the 861,517 visitors in for the same period in 2014.

“We understood heading into the shoulder season that arrival figures would be challenged,” said the Minister of Tourism, the Hon Moses Kirkconnell. “Despite the minor decline for the early summer period, I am pleased the destination has maintained positive growth in arrivals for both air and cruise.”

At 32,573 stayover visitors June 2015 saw the second highest June visitation rate for the Cayman Islands since 2000.

Director of Tourism, Mrs. Rosa Harris shared, “My department’s 2015 forecast indicated a slowed growth due to capacity constraints. The Department of Tourism continues to work very closely with our tourism partners through marketing and promotional efforts to flatten the seasonality of tourism. We are encouraged by the continued confidence demonstrated by airline partners through the addition of new and expanded winter service from key markets in the US, such as Chicago, Dallas and Washington, D.C.”

For more detailed information about arrival statistics, please visit the website, http://www.caymanislands.ky/statistics.

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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Statement by the Caribbean Tourism Organization on the influx of Sargassum seaweed

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Tues 11 Aug 2015 – The seasonal influx of Sargassum seaweed on Caribbean beaches has got the attention of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and tourism policymakers and practitioners across  the region.

Sargassum is a natural occurrence believed to originate  in the Sargasso Sea, a two million-square-mile  body of warm water in the north Atlantic near Bermuda, although some scientists believe the current influx was brought into the Eastern Caribbean through the North Brazil Current and because it thrives in warm, nutrient-rich water, the Sargassum simply spreads throughout the region.

It is an unwelcome visitor which can be uncomfortable and which takes away from the beach experience for our guests.

The CTO and our Caribbean partners are treating this matter seriously and with urgency. We have engaged a number of  regional and international institutions in our attempts at finding solutions, among them, universities.

A number of theories have been advanced as to the cause of the latest influx, and myriad suggestions put forward for tackling the issue. We will be participating in a symposium being led by the University of the West Indies (UWI) next Monday, August 17th “to crystallize these myriad ideas and theories into workable solutions that can be implemented immediately to address our situation.”  We are optimistic that meaningful solutions will emerge.

Among our CTO member-countries the issue differs significantly from one set of circumstances to another, as does the level of the incursion. Even in destinations which are at risk, not all beaches have been affected; in some cases it’s just on the windward coast and not the leeward.

But many seem to agree that what’s needed is a deeper understanding of how to tackle the issue collaboratively, with key stakeholders, public- and private-sector, contributing to the discussion. This is what the CTO is encouraging; this is what we are involved.

The Caribbean has countless attributes which makes our region a most desirable holiday destination. Our history, culture, cuisine, music, hiking, diving, bird-watching, festivals, etc, all make for unforgettable experiences. However, for most of our members, the beach is an integral part of this experience, the pristine nature of which we are proud. We are aware that the influx of sargassum can impact this aspect of our product and we will be at the centre of efforts to find a regional solution.

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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.

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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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.”

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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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.

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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