CTO News

Archive for January, 2016

Isla Verde tourism to strengthen as ESJ Towers completes renovation

Isla Verde, an iconic high-density tourist area in Puerto Rico, is projected to see a boost in tourism as the transformation of ESJ Towers is finalized. The renovation of ESJ Towers to ESJ Azul, is one of the pillars proposed to revitalize Isla Verde beach. An $8 million investment made toward remodeling the property will provide a total of 450 rooms for visitors.

“The opening of ESJ Azul, as well as new tourism projects, represent an awakening in this area which is fundamental in strengthening the tourism industry in Puerto Rico,” said Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) Ingrid I. Rivera Rocafort. “These projects will create a new edge on innovation, entertainment and life to this iconic neighborhood in Isla Verde.”

New projects on the island include the remodeling of ESJ Tower, El Noir and El Verde, which have been great investments in the tourism industry and have created nearly 1,000 jobs, resulting in a boost to the economy of Puerto Rico.

This new initiative, known as the rebirth of Isla Verde, is led by Keith St. Clair, a veteran of the tourism and travel industry. With the opening of ESJ Azul, the initial project of the new vision for Isla Verde, St. Clair compliments the functions of a first-class hotel with excellent attractions, services and housing, positioning Puerto Rico as a destination.

“Since I came to Puerto Rico, I have enjoyed the advantages of investing and living on the island, and I am convinced that tourism is one of the key factors to economic recovery and growth. This multi-billion dollar investment made on ESJ marks the beginning of a new stage in Isla Verde, and allows new facilities to continue to promote the tourism sector,” said St. Clair.

“This rehabilitation will provide more variety and attractive offers to visitors, resulting in a great opportunity to give the tourism industry a diverse and dynamic leadership role in the country,” said Rivera Rocafort.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO and CHTA Statement on the ZIKA Virus

Public health authorities in the Caribbean are working diligently to mitigate the effects of the Zika virus. Zika, also known as ZIKV, is spread primarily by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

The public-sector-led Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and its private sector counterpart, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) are in close contact with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to monitor and research the Zika cases that have now surfaced in some Caribbean destinations, and to communicate prevention and control measures to residents and visitors.

The CTO and CHTA are in communication with their respective stakeholders and are observing national, regional and international health protocols in dealing with mosquito-borne viral diseases which can be found in tropical countries.

With more than 700 islands in 30 territories in the Caribbean, conditions will vary from one nation to another.

CTO and CHTA will continue to monitor all developments related to mosquito-borne viral diseases and to support appropriate communication, education and prevention initiatives.



Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, ZIKA Virus

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First Bed and Breakfast inaugurated in San Sebastián

The Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), Ingrid I. Rivera Rocafort, and the Mayor of San Sebastián, Javier Jiménez Pérz, announced the opening of the first Bed and Breakfast (B&B) in the municipality of San Sebastián. The B&B, located in the historic center of town, has four bedrooms and encompasses a Creole-inspired atmosphere through its mix of antique and contemporary furnishings. Rates start at $99 per night.

“Yaiza Arvelo Serrano and Edwin Cortés Seguinot, owners of the B&B in San Sebastián and new entrepreneurs in the tourism industry, believed that tourism development could blossom with the first two Bed and Breakfasts certified by the PRTC program,” said Rivera Rocafort. “With an investment of nearly $65,000, the opening of the B&B in San Sebastián will increase room availability by four units, as well as offer three direct and five indirect jobs.”

“The opening of this Bed and Breakfast, has opened the possibility to a new lifestyle in which we share our home, our people and our country with individuals throughout the world,” said Serrano.

The San Sebastián B&B offers personalized service and a complete breakfast, including local produce found throughout the island. The breakfast provided features a stuffed ham and cheese pocket produced in La Esperanza, natural fruit juice, fresh fruits and gourmet Puerto Rican coffee. In addition, the new B&B will offer guests free Wi-Fi access and cable TV.

Nearby the B&B, visitors can find a number of activities in the town, including a historic century-old church, the History Museum of San Sebastián and City Hall. San Sebastián is also home to a number of bakeries, pizzerias and Creole eateries. Additionally, San Sebastián has a variety of nature attractions, such as the well-known Gozalandia waterfall and Lake Guajataca. Also close in proximity, is the Rio Camuy Cave Park, Arecibo Observatory and Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park.

Puerto Rico Tourism Company Bed and Breakfast (B&B) Program Information

  • B&B Inns are the smallest lodging accommodation available on the Island. Each house has at least three rooms, but no more than six.
  • The resident of the property is the host and provides each guest breakfast services as an essential part of the facility’s per-night rate.
  • The B&B Program encourages visitors to discover the culture and tourist attractions of a destination, while experiencing intimate and specialized accommodations provided by a local family service.
  • The goal of the program is to offer tourists diversity of lodgings throughout their stay in Puerto Rico.
  • The implementation of this program began in December of 2013 with the inauguration of Casa Sol in San Juan. San Sebastián Bed and Breakfast now joins Casa Sol (San Juan), Casa Castellana (San Juan) and Dos Angeles del Mar (Rincon), as a certified B&B.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO’S State of Industry Conference Receives Overwhelming Endorsement from Delegates

(BRIDGETOWN, Barbados) 23 December 2015 The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) which was held in Curaçao in late October has received a ringing endorsement from delegates, with well over nine out of ten rating the event highly.

A survey of delegates conducted during and after the conference has revealed that 95 per cent rated SOTIC excellent or good, and 100 per cent said they would attend another CTO conference. Ninety-six per cent said the theme, Caribbean Tourism: Growth Through Innovation, was well chosen.

“With the survey results now in and the analysis having taken place, it gives us clear insight into what delegates want, what we have done well and what we must improve on,” said secretary general Hugh Riley.

“We are pleased with the survey results but we know we must keep striving to make each conference even better than the one before. Already we’re developing incredible ideas for the 2016 SOTIC, which will be in Barbados.”

The poll found that virtually all of the delegates scored the sessions, the entire conference and the host country, Curaçao, very highly, with three-quarters saying it was good value for money. Nearly nine in ten (87 per cent) thought all the sessions were either good or excellent, with the session entitled, ‘The Age of Innovation – Increasing ROI’, rated by 96 per cent of delegates as either good or excellent. The keynote presentation by Robin Hayes, the CEO and President of JetBlue was also highly acclaimed, with 94 per cent of delegates scoring it excellent or good.

Other survey highlights include:

  • All delegates rated the Caribbean Tourism Youth Congress good or excellent.
  • Ninety-seven per cent thought the closing party was good or excellent.
  • The opening ceremony was well received with 86 per cent rating it good or excellent..

The CTO State of the Industry Conference is the pre-eminent tourism gathering in the region. It brings together tourism decision-makers, including ministers, commissioners and directors of tourism, hotel and airline executives, travel agents, students, the media and persons directly and indirectly involved in tourism. .

This year’s conference was held in collaboration with Curaçao’s Ministry of Economic Development and the Curaçao Tourism Board, with support from the UNWTO and the WTTC.

A date is being finalized for SOTIC 2016 in Barbados and will be released as soon as it is agreed.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, SOTIC

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