CTO News

Archive for 2015

United Airlines starting nonstop flights to Providenciales from Chicago

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands (June 30, 2015) –  Chicago residents will soon enjoy easy access to Providenciales with the launch of a seasonal, nonstop United Airlines service from December  19, 2015 through April 30,2016 – just in time for the busy winter travel season.  Scheduled for Saturdays, the Boeing 737-800, featuring a total of 154 seats; 16 seats in Business and 138 in Economy, including 48 Economy Plus extra-legroom seats, will be United Airlines’ first nonstop service available from Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), its major hub, to the Providenciales International Airport (PLS).

“Providenciales is among the fastest-growing Caribbean destinations, with 16 percent industry demand growth year-over-year, and our service here addresses seasonal variation in demand from different hubs. The winter ORD-PLS service complements our existing service to Providenciales from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and recently added summer service from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH),” says Noel Smith, United’s National Account and Leisure Sales Manager.

The outbound United Airlines flight will depart Chicago on Saturdays at 10:40 a.m. and arrive in Providenciales at 3:40p.m.  Returning from Providenciales, the flight will depart on Saturdays at 1:49 p.m. and arrive in Chicago at 5:09 p.m.

“We are extremely excited to partner with United Airlines on its first ever nonstop service out of Chicago to Providenciales. The direct route will provide easy access for our visitors, add further convenience, and offer excellent connections to feeder cities in the Midwestern United States,” commented Ralph L. Higgs, Director of Tourism. “We anticipate welcoming the new and returning visitors this new service will bring to Providenciales and look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship with United Airlines.”

Bookings to Providenciales from Chicago became available on June 13. For more information on United Airlines schedules and fares, travelers should contact United Airlines at 1-800-864-8331 or visit www.united.com.

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO seeks to inject fresh thinking into Caribbean tourism product

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 1 July, 2015 – The region’s tourism development agency is seeking to stimulate new ideas and fresh thinking aimed at re-inventing the Caribbean tourism product. The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has organized a regional four-day workshop to, among other objectives, provide opportunities for participants to maximize their knowledge through learning about international/global best practices in tourism product development.

“The overall quality of the visitor experience is influenced by the diversity and quality of tourism products and services being offered by the destination.  The Caribbean’s tourism market share and overall competitiveness is gradually being eroded as the perception is that the region’s tourism product is jaded and needs an injection of investment to introduce new products and services, and re-fresh existing products that can excite today’s customer,” said Bonita Morgan, the CTO’s director of resource mobilization and development.

Using Singapore’s model for tourism product development as the case study, the workshop will focus on key principles, including the tourism experience and the role of planning in tourism; fundamentals and principles of tourism product development and the tourism destination and its products.

Dubbed, Developing Viable and Sustainable Tourism Products: The Singapore Model, the workshop will be facilitated by Christopher Khoo, the senior tourism consultant at International Business Dynamics (iBusiness), a training and consultancy firm that specializes in trade and economic development, investment promotion and tourism development.

The four day workshop is being organized in partnership with the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association and will be held from 13-16 July at the Radisson Aquatica Resort in Barbados. It will be followed by a half-day tourism forum on The Singapore Tourism Experience on Friday 17 July, at which participants will be introduced to best practices in the South-East Asian island city-state.

“Singapore offers one of the best business environments in the world and is fast emerging as a choice destination for the development of iconic tourist attractions. It also offers a dynamic tourism landscape and is constantly evolving to stay compelling and remain relevant as a tourist destination,” said Ms. Morgan. “This forum offers an ideal occasion for sharing, learning and discussion among all tourism industry stakeholders.”

This forum will examine six main areas relating to Singapore’s strategic approach to tourism. These include planning and development, product development, partnerships, investment and financing, marketing and education and training.

The programme also includes informative and thought-provoking discussions from a panel of tourism experts, led by the CTO’s secretary general, Hugh Riley.

For programme details and registration information, please visit www.onecaribbean.org

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Norwegian Air Shuttle launches first flights to Martinique from the Northeast USA

NEW YORK, NY – June 25, 2015 – Martinique’s tourism development strategy took a major step forward with today’s announcement of the launch of new nonstop flights from three major gateways in the Northeastern United States – New York (JFK), Boston (BOS), and Baltimore/Washington, D.C. (BWI) – aboard Norwegian Air Shuttle. The new service, which begins December 3, 2015, represents the first time that Martinique has been directly accessible from the Northeast in more than 20 years.

Muriel Wiltord, Director Americas of the Martinique Promotion Bureau, commented on the new flights, saying: “The critical importance of the Northeastern U.S. market to tourism development in the Caribbean is well-known in our industry. In recent years, we’ve invested steadily in the market, progressively expanding demand for leisure travel to the French West Indies, while also leveraging key aviation industry events like Routes Americas to attract the interest of airline partners. These new flights from Norwegian represent a significant step forward in our overall U.S. development strategy, building upon our success in re-establishing nonstop flights from the U.S. via Miami in 2013 and the tremendous growth we’ve seen in the cruise sector since 2010.”

New nonstop flights from the Northeastern U.S. to Martinique via Norwegian will operate as follows:

·       New York (JFK) – 3x’s weekly on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
·       Baltimore/Washington, D.C. (BWI) 2x’s weekly on Mondays and Fridays
·       Boston (BOS) – 2x’s weekly on Wednesdays and Sundays

Recognized by SkyTrax (www.airlinequality.com) as the world’s Best Low-Cost Long-Haul Airline and Europe’s Best Low-Cost Airline for each of the past three years, Norwegian operates one of the world’s most modern and eco-friendly fleets. On its flights between the U.S. and Fort-de-France, the company will deploy Boeing 737-800 aircraft with 186 comfortable leather seats and the added convenience of free in-flight Wi-Fi service, a first among air carriers serving the Caribbean.

Special introductory fares on Norwegian flights to Martinique will be available for purchase as of June 26, 2015. For fares and more information, please visit www.norwegian.com.

New nonstop fights from the Northeast aboard Norwegian mark the latest in a series of air service developments making Martinique more accessible to U.S. travelers than ever before. Beginning June 5, 2015, American Airlines expanded its nonstop service from Miami to Martinique, growing from once weekly to four days per-week (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays). This service will expand to six weekly round-trip flights during July, August, and the peak winter season starting December 17, 2015, operating every day except Wednesday.

Connecting service is also available via San Juan on Seaborne Airlines (www.seaborneairlines.com), which operates on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Codeshare agreements between Seaborne and American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Jetblue Airways, make bookings and baggage handling seamless across multiple leading carriers.

Martinique’s tourism industry is also seeing unprecedented growth in the cruise sector. The Isle of Flowers has experienced a 524% increase in cruise passenger arrivals since 2010. For the 2014-2015 cruise season, The Martinique Tourism Authority is projecting 220,000 cruise passengers among the 176 scheduled port calls. Additional growth is also expected in 2015-2016 as a record 22 ships are slated to make their first-ever port calls in Fort-de-France between October 26, 2015 and August 31, 2016.


Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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Island Fish Fry awarded TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands (June 23, 2015) – The Turks and Caicos Tourist Board today announced that the Island Fish Fry, the destination’s most popular cultural experience, has received the TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award.

The TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence recognises restaurants, attractions and accommodations that continually earn great reviews for delivering a superior customer experience thus making the ‘perfect trip’ possible.

Visitors have consistently rated the Island Fish Fry as excellent on TripAdvisor, citing the exceptional service, great local atmosphere and fantastic gastronomic offerings as just some of the highlights. To qualify for the TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award, a business or attraction must maintain an overall TripAdvisor rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

“We are delighted that the Island Fish Fry have been awarded a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence. The award speaks not only to the exceptional atmosphere patrons have come to expect from the weekly Thursday night event, but also reinforces the quality of our cultural product and the significant role that the Island Fish Fry plays in the broader tourism economy in the Turks and Caicos,” said Ralph L. Higgs, Director of Tourism for Turks and Caicos.

Higgs continued, “We are honored to be acknowledged by our visitors who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor; this is surely a sign of confidence. We are as committed as ever to continually produce the best possible local experience for our visitors, as well as our residents.”

Turks and Caicos Minister of Tourism, Honourable Porsha Stubbs-Smith also touted the tremendous popularity of the Island Fish Fry and stated that she believes the Grand Turk Fish Fry, which the Tourist Board recently launched, will soon be recognized in the same fashion.

TripAdvisor is a travel website company that provides people with a platform to rate and review destinations they have visited. TripAdvisor has 340 million unique monthly visitors and reviews of more than 4.9 million attractions and restaurants.

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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Bahamas continues winning trend for 2015 with latest award

Nassau, Bahamas (June 24, 2015): This year continues to be a landmark year for the Islands of The Bahamas, with this latest recognition for leading the way in delivering a quality product and service by the ESQR (The European Society for Quality Research), which awarded The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism with Gold at its Quality Achievement Awards last week in London. This latest award was of particular note as The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism was one of only five organisations to receive an award in the Gold category. The top award for Quality Management came in recognition of the relentless hard work and the achievements that The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism has made in customer service, hard work and commitment to quality.

Each year the ESQR recognises organisations, public administrations and companies from Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa and Australia, which have demonstrated outstanding commitment, support and effort to endorse and improve quality management. The organisation looks at industries across all seven continents that impact their regions in such a positive manner that they improve the quality of life for residents, to ultimately make each region a better place to live. Therefore, this latest award is truly special for the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, proving that its relentless work has made a difference in improving the Islands—for both visitors and residents.

Tourism Director General, Joy Jibrilu, was on hand to accept the latest award. “What winning these awards says to us, not just as the Ministry of Tourism, not just as an organisation, but also the people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas on the whole, is that we are doing something right and we are on the right track. The world is watching, they are recognising us, and they’re letting us know that we are getting it right,” Jibrilu said.

While being the most recent award, the ESQR Gold Award joins the many nominations and awards The Bahamas has received thus far in 2015. The Bahamas has already won the Trip Advisor 2015 ‘Best Beaches’ award.  Junkanoo was also voted ‘#1 Festival in the Caribbean’ in USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards in 2014. The Bahamas was voted in the top 10 places in the Caribbean to visit by U.S. News and World Report in 2015. Additionally, The Bahamas has been nominated in nine different categories for the 22nd World Travel Awards, for which voting will close in August of this year. Established in 1993, the World Travel Awards acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry. Today, the World Travel Awards brand is recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality.

Not only is 2015 shaping up to be a landmark year in industry recognition, but at a projected tourism growth rate of 6.7% according to the WTTC, The Bahamas expects to host more visitors than ever in 2015. To meet this increased demand, there is expected to be an increase in room availability, as well as more attractive events for visitors to look forward to, such as the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival that attracted thousands when it debuted in May, and a variety of sporting events from the Bahamas Marathon to the Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl. There are endless activities for travellers to choose from when visiting the Islands of The Bahamas.

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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Barbados ranks third in 2015 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards for Islands

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS. June 17, 2015 – – Barbados has been recognized as a winner in the 2015 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice™ awards for Islands, ranking third in the top 10 of all competing island destinations.

For the third straight year TripAdvisor has highlighted the world’s top islands based on the millions of reviews and opinions collected in a single year from travelers around the globe.

William Griffith, CEO of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) acknowledged the award stating, “Barbados’ steady climb in popularity from eighth position two years ago is a clear indication of the level of engagement of all of the island’s tourism accommodations, restaurants, tour operators and ancillary services. They are the ones that must be congratulated for the superior service being exhibited in all establishments”.

He added that his team has been working hard to broaden the image of the island across the globe so that the island is renowned as much for its culture, events and culinary offerings as it is for its beaches, landscape and weather.”

TripAdvisor’s chief marketing officer, Barbara Messing, congratulated Barbados stating that the results reflected independent views of over 340 million unique monthly visitors.

“Our well-traveled community has uncovered the best islands around the world for that perfect island escape whether you want to lie on the beach or seek adventure,” said Messing. “To help travelers book their trips to these remarkable destinations, TripAdvisor has surfaced amazing island hotels to accommodate a range of travel budgets.”

To see TripAdvisor traveler reviews and opinions of Barbados go to http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g147262-Barbados-Vacations.html.  For all of the 2015 Travelers’ Choice award-winning islands, go to www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-Islands.  Travelers can also follow the conversation on Twitter at #travelerschoice.

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Saint Lucia records over 6% growth for the first 5 months

SAINT LUCIA (June 22, 2015) – Saint Lucia joins the rest of the Caribbean in celebrating phenomenal increases in visitor arrivals in 2015.  The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) announced that visitor arrivals to the region was up 6% at the end of the first quarter, whilst Saint Lucia alone, recorded a 6.4% growth over the same period last year.

This growth has continued past the first quarter for Saint Lucia however, with a 1.4% and 7.2% increase recorded in April and May respectively.  At the end of the first five months of the year, total stay-over arrivals to the island was 159,077; up 5.5% from the same period in 2014.

Furthermore, the figures recorded in the first four consecutive months, were the highest figures for these months ever recorded in the island’s history.  The 29,658 arrivals recorded in May this year, was however the highest figure for that month in the last five years.

The North American Market has been extremely buoyant this year, with Canada recording a 10% increase in arrivals year-to-date (YTD) and the US 9%, stemming largely from the increase in airlift and strategic marketing approach within the respective markets.  The greatest percentage increase however, was noted from the Caribbean, which stood at 22,142 arrivals at the end of May – a 21% increase from the same period last year.  Improvement in the data collection method, particularly in capturing arrivals from Martinique by boat, has been attributed to this increase.

Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus told a news conference on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, “that as impressive as the growth performance figures were, there will be no letup in Saint Lucia’s push toward reenergizing and invigorating the international marketplace via well-orchestrated strategies in key source markets.”

Europe however, has not fared as well as other source markets, with marked declines in arrivals from the UK and Germany along with other European countries, being recorded several months this year.

Targeted promotions and marketing campaigns planned for later this year, should result in increased arrivals from these markets before the year of 2015.

In other performance areas, cruise tourism is also on the rise, with a 9% increase in arrivals being recorded between January and April, following a 4% increase in cruise calls.  In yachting, a 1.5% decrease in arrivals was noted, despite there being a 14% decrease in calls.

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