CTO News

Archive for November, 2016

CTO welcomes more than 250 travel agents at trade show and seminar in the North Eastern USA

NEW YORK, NY (8 Nov, 2016) – The Caribbean remains a top seller for Travel Impressions, one of the largest leisure tour operators in the United States.

“Of our 200 destinations, 23 of the countries we sell most frequently are found in the Caribbean. The islands and resorts in the region have been integral partners throughout our 42-year history, and it’s important to celebrate and support tourism to one of the most gorgeous and popular vacation regions in the world,” said Tim Statz, Travel Impression’s business development manager.

Travel Impressions was one of 22 Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) members and partners who joined the recent Caribbean Goes Road Shows & Seminars to the east coast of the United States, with stops in New Haven, CT, Collingswood, NJ and Boston, Massachusetts.

More than 250 top-producing travel agents were brought up to date on “Caribbean Romance and More” through presentations, tradeshows, seminars and networking meetings.

“There is a renewed level of interest in the Caribbean among travel professionals, and as a region we should embrace this opportunity. The CTO road shows provided a platform for destinations and members of the private sector to showcase their products under one umbrella,” said Christine Noel-Horsford, the Grenada Tourism Authority’s  director of sales and marketing in the US, and a co-chair of the east coast series of the CTO’s Caribbean Goes road show.

“The north east is our number one source market, and we look forward to seeing a spike in business from those areas,” she added.

Along with Noel-Horsford, Lorine St. Jules, the director of marketing in the US for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board co-chaired the east coast road shows. She, too, spoke of the importance of this event to her country.

“Saint Lucia was pleased to participate in the CTO road shows as it provided unique opportunities to highlight our island’s romantic attributes to a leading market of travel agents,” St. Jules said. “Romance and adventure have been two compelling niches for Saint Lucia and this lineage allowed us to stand out as a destination.”

With romance being a leading feature during the road shows, the presence of the region’s top expert on the subject added even greater value for the travel agents and to the event.

Jacqueline Johnson, the president and chief executive officer of Global Bridal Group, which includes MarryCaribbean.com, described the events as “excellent”, and was highly complementary of the participating destinations.

“The Caribbean Goes Road Shows were excellent. Every detail was thought of and implemented, there were lots of agents at each stop and most important, the destinations participating were all on their game. I am proud and honoured to be involved with this prestigious organization,” she said.

The main objectives of these road shows are to raise awareness of the Caribbean as America’s premier warm-weather holiday destination and to keep top-producing travel agents up-to-date with the latest developments and the variety of experiences that the Caribbean offers to help them drive business to the region.

The road show locations were selected based on a combination of elements, including travel agents with a propensity to book Caribbean travel, demographics of travellers, proximity of airports, as well as current and new airlift to the Caribbean.

“Our Caribbean Goes Road Shows provide our members with the opportunity to meet travel agents in key feeder markets where the Caribbean is sold,” Sylma Brown, director of CTO USA said.

“The shows will help agents capitalize on new offerings such as Caribbean-bound Delta Air Line flights from Boston and new service on JetBlue from Newark International Airport.”

Participating destination and partners of the 2016 east coast shows included: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Caribbean Airlines, Celebrity Cruises, Central Holidays, Club Med, Delta Air Lines, Dominica, GoGo Vacations, Grenada, MarryCaribbean.com; Martinique, Radisson Grenada Beach Resort, Saint Lucia, Tobago, Travel Impressions, Turks and Caicos Collection, Sandals & Beaches Resorts and Vacation Express.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO’s travel agents training programme receives top award

(LONDON, UK) – 7 Nov, 2016 – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s training programme for travel agents in the UK has been voted the best training programme in the 2016 Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards.

Caribbean Travel Guru was today awarded in the coveted Travel Uni Training Programme category at World Travel Market.

“We are truly honoured to have received such a prestigious award. We would like to thank all of the UK travel retailers for voting for Caribbean Travel Guru,” said Carol Hay, the CTO’s director of marketing for the UK and Europe.

“We currently have over 2,500 agents registered on the programme and we aim to grow this number and continually update the agents, to push Caribbean sales from the UK and Irish markets. We also aim to grow the number of suppliers participating in the programme to ensure that the agents are in constant supply of Caribbean news and information from all sectors of the industry. Working with My Booking Rewards to reward our agents has also added value and kept our programme vibrant,’ she added.

The Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards have been described as the only travel trade awards nominated and voted for by UK travel retailers – the readers of Selling Travel – plus the users of leading online training provider, Travel Uni.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, ITB & WTM

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Message by Belize Minister of Tourism & Culture for Caribbean Tourism Month 2016

Belize offers a unique destination to our visitors as it is located within the Caribbean and Central America regions, allowing convenient multi-destinations travel within one of the most popular tourist basins in the world. Belize features a rich and diverse mix of culture and cheerful citizens. The astounding Barrier Reef is the second largest in the world. We feature safe waters for diving, snorkeling, swimming, boating, fishing, numerous rivers for rafting and kayaking. An abundance of Mayan Temples, caves and islands, pristine rainforests for hiking and bird-watching, all contribute to the attractions which drive our thriving tourism industry.

Belize has progressed significantly in its tourism growth despite the challenges of diseases such as Zika, severe weather events such as Hurricane Earl and the recent “de-risking” banking movement that impacted the Caribbean. 2015 saw a tremendous growth of 6.2% with a significant increase in our overnight arrivals. This trend continues as the January through September 2016 statistics reflect a 16% growth in this key performance indicator. Cruise has also seen a 1.3% growth at September 2016 for the first nine months of the year. The launch of new direct flights to Belize from major travel hubs for both North American and South American markets, and increased connectivity from Europe and within the Central American region, have also contributed to this boost.

We have also seen growth in occupancy as our stakeholders improve and expand on their accommodations and amenities while ensuring that sustainable practices are being adhered to.  Infrastructural development of our roads, improvements at our domestic airports and at border facilities and tourism sites all around the country are also contributing to the enhancement of our tourism brand and equity.

Belize is enthusiastic about the future of tourism both at a national and regional level. Our efforts to penetrate new markets by strategic marketing investments include aggressively embracing digital marketing concepts. We believe that it is vital for stakeholders, statutory bodies and relevant government agencies both at the national and regional level to collaborate to ensure the vibrancy, sustainability and continuous evolvement of our collective Caribbean paradise destinations.

Caribbean Tourism Month provides another ideal opportunity for us as Belizeans to become tourists for a while in our own country and enjoy all of these wonderful attributes that we offer the rest of the world. It also is a good time to reaffirm our commitment to work towards excellence in the quality of our service, the quality of our product, and the tourism sector on a whole.

Happy Caribbean Tourism Month.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Caribbean Tourism Month, Destination News

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UNWTO and CTO team up for regional workshop in Saint Lucia

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 1 Nov, 2016 –  The United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable tourism is partnering with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) to deliver a regional workshop on sustainable destination management and marketing next month.

The 5-9 December workshop, which takes place in Saint Lucia, is being delivered by experts selected by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and will explore issues related to competitiveness, quality assurance and sustainable destination criteria, with a strong emphasis on trends, best practices and success stories aimed at helping destinations compete globally,  according to Bonita Morgan, the CTO’s director of resource mobilization and development.

“We have the advantage of having the UNWTO bring to us expertise with international experiences, models and success stories as we expose the participants to what the possibilities are out there to help them develop a better product, or deliver a better service so their overall strategy for destination management and marketing can be successful,” Mrs. Morgan said.

Among the key areas being explored are innovation in marketing, destination competitiveness, developing sustainable tourism experiences and successful models in destination management and marketing.

The first day is being billed as a forum and will be open to a broad spectrum of stakeholders in Saint Lucia so that they can benefit from the experiences and expertise of the UNWTO facilitators, as well as allowing as many residents as possible to share their views and experiences with a local and region audience.  Topics to be covered will include global and regional tourism performance and trends, consumer trends and effective marketing and pillars of sustainable and competitive destinations.

A number of site visits have been included in the programme, during which participants will use the information they garnered to critique the local destinations and use the experience to help enhance their own products and tourism services.

The executive training workshop organized by the CTO and the UNWTO through its Themis Foundation, is being held in collaboration with the Saint Lucia Tourist Board. It is open to high-level decision makers in the national, regional and local tourism administrations and organizations, as well as senior tourism practitioners from tourism associations and industry groups and travel and tourism practitioners from the Caribbean and the Americas.

For further information, including how to register and participate, visit www.onecaribbean.org or email [email protected] For further insights regarding the forum and workshop please view a video interview with Mrs. Morgan at: http://bit.ly/2eQHM2W.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog

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Caribbean Tourism Month 2016 Message by CTO Secretary General, Mr. Hugh Riley

THEME: ONE SEA, ONE VOICE, ONE CARIBBEAN

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 1 Nov 2016.  During 2015 our region has set arrival and visitor expenditure records that have surpassed expectations. Caribbean tourism grew by an estimated seven per cent to 28.7 million visits, much higher than the projected four to five per cent. This performance was above the global rate of growth, which the UN agency, the World Tourism Organization quotes at 4.4 per cent.

In that period, visitors spent over a billion dollars more than they did in 2014, contributing approximately US$30 billion to Caribbean economies.  For 2016 the latest visitor arrival data indicate that tourist trips grew by 5.2% in the first six months when compared to the same period of 2015. While this is encouraging, we must not settle. We certainly cannot relax until we become the world’s most desirable year round, warm weather destination and until every citizen of the Caribbean benefits from tourism.

The first priority is to embrace our mantra of sustainable tourism development. We must keep the right balance between maximizing the benefits of our tourism assets for the wellbeing of our current populations, and do so responsibly, so that we can preserve those resources for generations to come.  To maximize the benefit and preserve resources, we need to create systems that ensure that guests and hosts can equally enjoy the experience.

The economic benefits of the tourism industry are enormous. In the Caribbean, where we have a clear understanding of tourism’s contribution to financial prosperity, we are seeing more of our citizens becoming involved in ‘the sharing economy’. We are opening our homes and apartments to visitors from around the world. Ordinary citizens have become hosts. But while I have often described the essence of hospitality as “sharing space and breaking bread” our populations must also pay attention to “guestpitality”, a laser-like focus on the guest’s point of view. Indeed if hospitality is about customer service, then guestpitality must surely be about customer experience.

During Caribbean Tourism Month, which we observe every November, we will have the opportunity to place even greater emphasis on the kinds of experiences we offer to guests, which make up our exciting and diversified tourism product.

It’s also a great time to introduce new ideas, methods and products, to propose innovative and revolutionary thinking and to generate fresh energy into the sector. Throughout November, the CTO will undertake several social media activities during which member countries will be profiled on the organization’s social media platforms. These include:

  • 30 Day Social Media Photo/Video Challenge featuring the people, fashion, heritage and natural attributes of the Caribbean
  • Help Me Pick a Caribbean Holiday/Vacation Spot Social Media Poll
  • Online Caribbean Fashion Show via Periscope & Facebook Live Marathon/Tweet-Chat
  • Romantic Facts about CTO member countries

This is an excellent opportunity to be featured globally and to demonstrate to the world that the spirit of togetherness we talk so passionately about remains alive and vibrant in the Caribbean. It also helps to give meaning to the Caribbean Tourism Month theme, One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.

We wish to encourage every CTO member country, every tourism entity and everyone engaged either directly or indirectly in tourism to join us by participating in these initiatives and by organizing at least one activity during the month that will help focus attention on the industry. Be creative, be daring, be brave, be innovative.

We’ll take this opportunity to thank the sponsors, supporters and everyone who helps us celebrate Caribbean Tourism Month.

Together, let’s keep the right focus on this important industry and reaffirm the value of One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Caribbean Tourism Month

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