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Archive for July, 2016

Top 10 reasons to visit Montserrat

BRADES, Montserrat – July 12, 2016 – Located at the heart of the Leeward Islands chain in the Caribbean, the tiny island of Montserrat boasts a diverse cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes, and unique eco-friendly activities that have made the island a highly-anticipated destination for visitors wishing to discover and explore the little-known vacation hideaway. Recognized for its rich Irish heritage, the “Other Emerald Isle” enables travelers the opportunity to soak in an environment of soothing tranquility, partake in unique adventures that include black-sand beaches and bountiful marine habitats, verdant green forests and moonscape-like lands, as well as immerse themselves in the diverse culture that has made Montserrat a “must-visit.”

Here are the Top 10 Reasons to make Montserrat your next travel stop:

  1. Irish Heritage – Although a British Overseas Territory, the island was settled by Irish indentured laborers and boasts a strong Irish heritage. The Irish legacy is present in the folklore, surnames and even the local speech, which is laced with an Irish brogue. On arrival to the island, the immigration passport stamp is a shamrock. The harp and the figure on the island’s flag are also derived from the Irish heraldry. Additionally, Montserrat is the only nation in the world, outside of Ireland, that celebrates St. Patrick’s Day as a national holiday with week-long events, Montserratian Residents and visitors alike take part in a week of feasts, costumed parades, concerts and cultural exhibitions celebrating the island’s Irish and African heritage.
  2. Volcano Viewing – Characterized by dome-building materials, the Soufrière Hills Volcano holds an irresistible lure. The volcano, which has been active since July 1995, is continually monitored at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), where international and local scientists conduct research and keep local authorities and residents current with volcanic information. On a clear day, visitors can stop by Garibaldi Hill or other designated safe points for a panoramic view of the volcano and, perhaps spot a thin plume of steam rise from the crater.
  3. A Modern-Day Pompeii – Montserrat’s now- buried capital city, Plymouth, has been compared to a modern-day Pompeii– minus the fossilized bodies. As the only volcanic-buried city in the Americas, Plymouth offers visitors the rare chance to witness a city frozen in time. Although many buildings have been buried by ash and mudflows, some rooftops remain visible. Visitors wishing to access the city may do so through a certified tour operator, a list is available at the Tourism Division.
  4. Luxury Villa Vacations at Bed & Breakfast Prices – Montserrat offers a number of luxurious villas at rental rates that won’t burn a hole in visitors’ pockets. Upon request, most of the villas offer airport and ferry transfers, car rentals, stocked kitchens, housekeepers, baby-sitting services and cooks. Additionally, visitors can enjoy the villa-specific organized activities during their stay. Rates start at USD $1000 per week from mid-April through mid-November for a three-bedroom, three-bathroom villa with a housekeeper, swimming pool, wet bar, wireless internet, washer and dryer.
  5. Birdwatching – The Centre Hills is a haven for birdwatchers and nature lovers alike, boasting over 34 species of birds and diverse flora and fauna. Visitors can observe the Montserrat Oriole, Brown Trembler, Forest Thrush, Bridled Quail-Dove, Green and Purple-Throated Caribs, and the Antillean Crested Hummingbird. Visitors may also hear the distinctive single-note call of the Scaly-Breasted Thrasher, cheery song of the Caribbean Elaenia, peculiar tri-syllable-ending call of the Scaly-Naped Pigeon, and the sweet whistling call of the Yellow Warbler.
  6. World Class Trails — Montserrat’s mountainous vistas, curvy slopes, deep valleys and fertile fields make hiking a natural and popular activity. The island hosts several trails that allow visitors to explore the dramatic diversification of the landscape. “The Blackwood Allen Trail” allows for panoramic views of the northern villages and coastline, while the “Centre Hills Trail” is renowned for its biological diversity, rich habitats and vegetation. “The Oriole Walkway” is where hikers are most likely to get a glimpse of the Oriole, the island’s national bird, while “Duberry’s” and “The Cot” trail provides visitors the opportunity to drink from the cool spring water at “Runaway Ghaut,” where legend has it that if anyone drinks here, he or she is guaranteed to be drawn to Montserrat repeatedly in their lifetime.
  7. Acquatic Adventures The island’s coral reefs are teeming with exotic wildlife, some of which can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Visitors can swim from Little Bay toward Rendezvous Beach, the island’s only white sand beach, and go snorkeling to explore the rich coral and marine life. Divers can also access the two caves that house Montserrat’s colony of Antillean fruit-eating bats with a tour guide. For a unique adventure, visitors may learn lionfish hunting and have the extraordinary opportunity to prepare, cook and eat their catch.
  8. No Fast-Food Chains, Traffic Jams or Noise Clutter – Unlike some of its Caribbean neighbors, Montserrat boasts the serenity that results from the lack of mega-resorts and crowded beaches. This is further exemplified by the fact that Montserrat has no fast-food chain restaurants. Instead, visitors can taste local delicacies and sumptuous island-style cuisine, and may even stumble upon a special gathering serving goat water, a tasty stew cooked on a wood fire, the national dish of the island. Additionally, visitors will find Montserrat’s lack of rush hour congestion and traffic lights refreshing, although it might take some getting used to Montserratians driving on the left side of the road.
  9. Still Growing In Size – Pyroclastic and other flows in the Exclusion Zone areas as a result of volcanic activity have increased the physical size of the island and even created a new beach. Bottomless Ghaut beach is the ideal spot to relax for a leisurely afternoon picnic. Sun lovers can bask on a beach towel or chair nestled on its dramatic black sand while enjoying Instagram-worthy vistas punctuated by distinct rock formations jutting from the sides of craggy cliffs.
  10. Festivals And Culture – In addition to the island’s week-long celebrations for St. Patrick’s Day, Montserrat invites visitors and locals alike to several key festivals that highlight the island’s rich heritage and cultural diversity. Named after the calabash, fruit traditionally used to produce eating utensils, musical instruments and decorative items, the 11th Annual Calabash Festival, which will be celebrated July 17-23, includes a family fun day, hike, island tour, food fair and boat excursion to the former capital city Plymouth. The annual Cudjoe Head Festival, named after the 18th century slave Cudjoe who ran away from his master and was caught and beheaded, will be celebrated July 29-31 with a steel band performance, road race, J’ouvert and an exhibition of goods produced in the village. The Alliouagana Festival of the Word in November brings together acclaimed writers and readers from the Caribbean, North America, the UK and Australia for readings, poetry, conversations, lectures, panel discussions workshops and freestyle performances. Finally, from mid-December to New Year’s Day, Montserrat erupts with an explosion of color, music, revelry, and creativity during the year-end Carnival (Festival), with cultural activities such as calypso competitions, masquerade street performances, J’ouvert, the festival Queen Competition and a parade of costumed troupes on New Year’s Day.

About Montserrat

Montserrat, the only country outside of Ireland to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as a national holiday, is a lush green and mountainous island of approximately 39 square miles that lies in the Eastern Caribbean chain of islands. Known fondly as the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, this pear shaped island is a traveler’s paradise for nature lovers, divers, adventurers, family and villa vacationers, and honeymooners.  This British overseas territory boasts the spectacular Soufriere Hills Volcano, a modern day Pompeii in the form of its buried former capital city Plymouth, alongside lush, green mountains, world class nature trails, deserted dark sand beaches, untouched reefs and a quiet friendly charm reminiscent of the way the Caribbean used to be. For more information on Montserrat and its breathtaking scenery and unspoiled, unpolluted coral and volcanic vistas, visit www.visitmontserrat.com.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority Appoints Director of Tourism, US

St John’s, Antigua (July 7, 2016) The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority is pleased to announce that Kim Jack Riley has been named Director of Tourism, USA, based in New York City. She began her tenure on Wednesday, July 6th, 2016.

“We welcome Kim Jack Riley to her new position at the helm of the US Tourism Authority,” says Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy, Asot Michael. “Antigua and Barbuda has seen incredible growth in the US market in 2016, and our objective is to continue this momentum with continued exponential growth in tourism arrivals, increasing airlift, and affirming our position as the Caribbean destination of choice. Ms. Jack Riley’s wealth of experience in travel, communications and marketing will be a strong asset to the team to carry through our strategic tourism plan. We welcome her wholeheartedly.”

Kim Jack Riley an experienced and well established Travel Marketing and Hospitality specialist with expertise in content production, integrated marketing and digital traffic growth. Riley began her career in the travel industry in 1997 when she operated a successful home-based travel agency specializing in personalized tours of The Caribbean and Europe.  In 2007, she led a phenomenally successful start-up joint venture for mega-marketers Proctor & Gamble and NBC Universal. From there, Riley joined Flight Center USA (FCUSA) as a Marketing Team Leader where she used her expert knowledge of the North American demographic to install marketing and social media strategies to grow awareness across air, land and sea products (FlightCenter.com, HotCaribbeanDeals.com and DiscountCruises.com). She has also held roles with field sales (MSC Cruises) and destination marketing for various hotels and tourism boards.

Ms. Jack Riley’s career includes working for established New York City publishing houses such as Scholastic, Inc., Time Out, and The Source Magazine, where she restructured the editorial and research division and where the magazine earned the distinction of “#1-selling music magazine in the US” under her leadership. Additionally, she worked for the prestigious Planned Parenthood Foundation of America (PPFA), where she spearheaded the launch of a multi award-winning website with innovative and interactive marketing tools.

Jack Riley comes at a time when Antigua and Barbuda tourism is seeing positive growth from the US market with arrivals being up by an average of 20% as was announced earlier this year, and where the tourism product overall has experienced very positive results, due largely to increased airlift, enhancements to the island and intensified sales and marketing efforts.

“I am honored to take on this new position for Antigua and Barbuda, as it is an incredibly exciting time for the country with surging tourism arrivals, and multiple new properties on the horizon. I look forward to the opportunity of helping the twin-island nation achieve even greater visibility and growth in the US,” Jack Riley says.

In her new position, Jack Riley is responsible for the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority operations in the US. Kim resides in New Jersey with her husband and celebrated radio journalist, Mark Riley, along with their daughter, Viveca.

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ABOUT ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

Antigua (pronounced An-tee’ga) and Barbuda (Bar-byew’da) is located in the heart of the Caribbean Sea. The largest of the Leeward Islands, Antigua & Barbuda comprises 108-square miles. The 365 white and pink sand beaches, one for every day of the year, are just the beginning of the treasures that await visitors.  Antigua’s rich history and spectacular topography provide a variety of popular sightseeing opportunities. Nelson’s Dockyard, the only remaining example of a Georgian fort commissioned by the British in 1755, is perhaps the most renowned landmark. Betty’s Hope, built in 1674, is the site of one of the first full-scale sugar plantations on Antigua, and offers a chance to step back into time by visiting the restored mills. Another unique attraction is Devil’s Bridge, located at the eastern tip of the island in Indian Town National Park, where Atlantic breakers have carved out a natural limestone arch. Antigua boasts a varied tourism calendar including events such as the World Class Antigua Sailing Week, Classic Yacht Regatta, Antigua Sports Fishing and also the annual Carnival; known as the Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival. Island accommodation ranges from luxury, boutique resorts and all-inclusive hotels to smaller more intimate boutique guesthouses and cottages. For information about Antigua & Barbuda visit www.visitantiguabarbuda.com or www.antiguabarbudabuzz.com and follow us on Twitter. http://twitter.com/antiguabarbuda  Facebook www.facebook.com/antiguabarbuda; Instagram: www.instagram.com/AntiguaandBarbuda

 MEDIA CONTACT:

Maria Blackman ~ Marketing Communications|
Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority – HEAD OFFICE |

3rd Floor  | ACB Building | Corner of High and Temple Sts.| St. John’s Antigua
(: Office +1 268 562 7600   (Direct Line):  +1 268 464 7601

 

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Innovator Adam Stewart to Keynote CTO’s State of the Industry Conference SOTIC

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 6 July, 2016 –   The leader of one of the world’s leading resort companies will outline a vision for Caribbean tourism as he sets the tone for the region’s most important tourism gatherings, the State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC).

The chief executive officer of Sandals Resorts International, Adam Stewart, will deliver the keynote address at the 14-16 September event in Barbados, chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Barbados’ minister of tourism and international transport Richard Sealy announced this morning.

“We are honoured and excited to announce Mr Adam Stewart, the chief executive officer of Sandals Resorts International as the keynoter for SOTIC. Sandals is an influential Caribbean brand. Its impact on the economies of the countries in which it operates, and the other benefits it brings, such as immense global exposure which we otherwise could not afford, cannot be missed,” Mr. Sealy said at a news conference at the CTO headquarters.

Described as “a maverick on a mission, an energetic change agent, and an innovator who is not constrained by convention”, Mr. Stewart is expected to share his views on the opportunities that lie ahead for Caribbean tourism and what must be done to cash in on these opportunities.

His presentation will focus on the conference theme, Honouring Our Legacy, Defining Our Future, and is expected to draw on the Sandal CEO’s experiences in leading the growth and expansion of the global brand since he took over as its chief executive officer at the age of 25.

“As chief executive officer of a brand born in the Caribbean, it is my sincere pleasure to join my colleagues and my friends this September in Barbados to discuss not only the state of our industry but the myriad of opportunities that lie ahead. We are on the precipice of interesting days and I am excited to consider how, together, we will continue to make a visit to the Caribbean absolutely compelling,” Mr. Stewart, who has overseen the expansion of the resorts and the introduction of industry-changing innovation and developments, said ahead of the news conference.

The keynote address will launch the first full day of the conference on Thursday 15 September at the Hilton Barbados Resort.

Another leading presenter announced at today’s news conference is Craig Landry, the president of Air Canada Leisure Group, who will be the featured speaker on Friday morning, 16 September.

Mr. Landry oversees the Air Canada Vacations tour operator business and the leisure airline Air Canada Rouge, both of which are important partners and stakeholders in Caribbean tourism. Canada is itself a longstanding and critically important tourism partner for the region.

“The combination of a keynoter who is the chief executive officer of the Caribbean’s foremost hotel brand – Adam Stewart of Sandals – and a featured speaker who is from Air Canada, signals the importance we attach to our vision for the Caribbean,” stated Hugh Riley, the CTO’s secretary general.

Craig Landry has a complete understanding of Air Canada’s pivotal role in the current environment, Canada’s importance to the Caribbean, its economic challenges and opportunities, and its unique relationship with our region.”

A number of other presenters are being confirmed for SOTIC, which will explore subjects ranging from how to transition the product and multicultural and emerging markets to creating a luxury experience and the sharing economy.

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. It is preceded by CTO business meetings, including meetings of the board of directors and the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism.

This year’s conference is organized in collaboration with Barbados’ Ministry of Tourism and International Transport and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

For more information on SOTIC, including how you can register, participate and benefit, visit www.onecaribbean.org.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, SOTIC

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Martinique Opens All-New French Coco Boutique Hotel

NEW YORK, NY (July 5, 2016) – The new home of luxury travel in Martinique, French Coco, opened July 1, 2016, beginning a new era of upscale hospitality in The Isle of Flowers. Expressly designed to blend elegance and comfort with nature and the colorful Creole spirit of Tartane, the small fishing village where the hotel is located, French Coco debuts with a four-star rating and membership in the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels Of The World (www.slh.com).

“It’s always wonderful to welcome a new hotel, but for us in Martinique French Coco is extra special,” said Muriel Wiltord, Director Americas for the Martinique Promotion Bureau. “French Coco promises to connect guests directly with our local culture and daily life in Tartane, delivering experiential travel with a luxury twist and French-Creole savoir faire.”

Set directly within the village of Tartane, on the border of the Caravelle Peninsula Natural Reserve, French Coco is comprised of 17 suites (16 with their own private pools) encompassing four distinct categories:

  • Ti Suite – 430 sq feet, ground floor with private terrace.
  • Suite Créole – 430 sq feet, ground floor with a small private pool.
  • Suite Caraïbe – 538 sq feet, ground floor with private pool and garden.
  • Suite Presqu’île – 645 sq feet, private pool, terrace or balcony.

French Coco provides refined comfort, inspiring designs, elegance and intimacy, with sleek, modern styling and entertainment options combining with traditional Caribbean accents and wooden furnishings to create a soothing, peaceful atmosphere.

Not to be outdone by the suites, the restaurant at French Coco further promises to elevate Martinique’s hospitality sector to new heights of excellence. The restaurant is helmed by celebrated Martinican chef, Nathanaël Ducteil, a former apprentice of acclaimed French celebrity chef Alain Ducasse. Sourcing most of his products from local fishermen and French Coco’s on-site herbs and vegetables garden, Chef Nathanaël offers a contemporary Caribbean cuisine, blending tradition and modernity.

Specially priced grand opening room rates start at 300 euros (approximately US$330) per-night based on double occupancy, available from July 1, 2016 to November 30, 2016. Rates include breakfast, taxes, and service fees. (Additional 1 euro per-day local tax due upon departure).

For reservations and more information on French Coco, please visit www.hotelfrenchcoco.com.

For more information on travel to Martinique, please visit www.us.martinique.org.

About Martinique (www.martiniquepresskit.org)

The Caribbean Island with French Flair, The Isle of Flowers, The Rum Capital of the World, The Isle of the Famed Poet (Aimé Césaire) – Martinique ranks among the most alluring and enchanting destinations in the world. As an overseas region of France, Martinique boasts modern and reliable infrastructure – roads, water and power utilities, hospitals, and telecommunications services all on par with any other part of the European Union. At the same time, Martinique’s beautifully unspoiled beaches, volcanic peaks, rainforests, 80+ miles of hiking trails, waterfalls, streams, and other natural wonders are the equal of neighboring Dominica to the north and St. Lucia to the south, so visitors here truly get the best of both worlds. The currency is the Euro, the flag is Le Tricolour, and the official language is French, but Martinique’s character, cuisine, musical heritage, art, culture, common language, and identity are of a distinctly Afro-Caribbean inclination known as Creole. It is this special combination of modern world conveniences, pristine nature, and rich heritage that has earned for Martinique several notable distinctions in recent years, including being ranked in the Top 16 Places to go in 2016 by Condé Nast Traveler, named as a “Must-Visit” destination for 2015 by Caribbean Journal, “Best Caribbean Destination” by About.com, and “Top Caribbean Island for Delectable Dining” by Caribbean Travel + Life. The Bay of Fort-de-France, which fronts Martinique’s charming capital city, was also inducted into The Club of The Most Beautiful Bays in the World. Martinique’s storied history further stirs travel passions. Napoleon’s bride, Empress Josephine, was born and raised in Martinique, while the majestic Mt. Pelée volcano and St. Pierre, The Pompeii of the Caribbean, are found here.

A special place, to be sure, with so much to offer – Martinique c’est magnifique!

Géraldine Rome | Communications Coordinator | Martinique Promotion Bureau- CMT USA | 825 Third Avenue, 29th Floor New York, NY 10022 |T: 212 838 68 87 | DL: 212 745 0941 [email protected]  www.us.martinique.org

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