CTO News

Archive for 2016

Targeting more business from affluent visitors

When affluent visitors choose the Caribbean for vacation purposes, what do most of them do during their stay? How do they go about choosing the Caribbean over competing destinations? How long do they stay on average and into what age group do they mostly fall?

The answers to these and other questions, presenting a definitive profile of the affluent visitor, are provided in a newly-released report by TCI Research, a Brussels-based, UNWTO-awarded global independent research agency specializing in international tourism competitive intelligence, destination and travel segment analysis.

“If you are looking to get more bang for your buck out of your marketing and promotion budget, it is this kind of market intelligence which makes a real difference,” says TCI Research’s Caribbean representative, Barbados-based regional tourism consultant May Hinds.

“Such information is critical for national tourism organizations, hotels and other tourism establishments looking to make the right marketing decisions to more effectively target these big spenders and boost their business revenue,” adds Miss Hinds, CEO of May Hinds Consulting Inc.

Under a strategic partnership between May Hinds Consulting Inc. and TCI Research, the two companies are collaborating on a marketing support intervention themed “How to increase tourism receipts” based on the said affluent visitors study. It is designed for national tourism organizations, hotels and other tourism establishments in the region.

According to the TCI Research study, most affluent visitors to the Caribbean are couples and families in the 35 – 50+ age group. They choose the region mostly on the recommendation of friends and relatives, stay on average 7.7 nights, and the purpose of their visit is to relax, mostly by engaging in beach activities. Nightlife, bars and clubs are also popular with affluent visitors.

A summary of the report is available to national tourism organizations, hotels and tourism establishments. To request a copy or to enquire about marketing support from TCI Research in the design of a strategy to boost business from high-spending visitors, simply contact May Hinds Consulting Inc. via email at [email protected]

Posted in: 2016 News, Allied News, Blog

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Barbados voted best destination by Expedia

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados. Feb. 19, 2016 – Barbados is on a winning streak having been voted Caribbean Best Destination 2016 in recognition of outstanding performance and partnership by Expedia, the largest retailer of travel products in the entire Caribbean.
The award, which was presented before an audience of regional and international industry executives during the recently concluded Caribbean Travel Marketplace in The Bahamas, marked the seventh international award Barbados has received in the past 12 months.

The island was also dubbed Best Destination by Caribbean Journal and third among the islands of the Caribbean by Trip Advisor in 2015.  Telegraph readers also voted Barbados the best destination in the Caribbean for family holidays, best Caribbean beach holiday destination, best destination for activity and adventure holidays, and best destination for wedding and honeymoons.  In addition, the island has been shortlisted in the destination category for the Routes Americas 2016 Marketing Awards.

On receiving the latest award from Expedia, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) CEO, William Griffith, said it was testament to the collaborative efforts local industry partners have been making on behalf of the island. He also stated that it was a clear manifestation of the significant work being done by the entire BTMI leadership team in the major markets of the UK, USA and Canada.

“Each award we have received over the past 12 months has been confirmation for us that we are moving in the right direction with our destination marketing and product development, which continues to be a team effort across the public and private sector.  It is also great momentum as we draw closer to our 50th anniversary of Independence and we have already begun to share the excitement with all of our partners.”

Tourism decision-makers on the island continue to work assiduously toward ensuring the sectors continued recovery, with 2015 being dubbed a record year for air arrivals.  Several hotels underwent renovations in 2015 with new properties such as Sandals and Sugar Bay providing contemporary all-inclusive accommodation.  Efforts are also underway to enhance to variety and quality of product offerings available to cruise and long-stay visitors through the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA).  With the winter season in full swing and select hotels partnering with the BTMI to offer 50 percent off through the annual Brilliant Barbados 50 travel sale there certainly is no time like the present to visit the island.

Expedia Inc., which featuress some of he world’s leading online travel brands, including travelocity, Hotels.com, trivago and orbitz, registered $55 billion in bookings and 188.2 million room nights in the first three quarters of 2015.  Demetrius Canton, Director for the Caribbean at Expedia, commended the island’s tourism partners on their well-deserved win. “It’s an honour to confer this award on Barbados.  The island continues to be a leader in providing unforgettable, value-for-money travel experiences and we’ve seen the demand for holidays to Barbados continue to grow.  It is truly well-deserved.”

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Governor highlights island’s benefits to attract tourism investment

Governor Alejandro García Padilla announced the conclusion of Routes Americas in Puerto Rico. Routes Americas unites industry professionals in the aviation, cruise line and tourism sectors, focused on developing new air routes to the Island. This event allows Puerto Rico to showcase new airline opportunities, such as the newly opened MRO Lufthansa Technik, to continue to position the country as the Caribbean’s air hub with the largest airport.

“In Puerto Rico we fully identify with one of the main objectives of this organization, to join efforts for the common good. This great opportunity unites various sectors of the industry to increase air and maritime traffic throughout the Caribbean region,” said García Padilla.

As efforts have continued to increase on-and-off the Island, the tourism sector has achieved a number of accomplishments. “In the last fiscal year we added approximately 500 hotels rooms to our offerings, which resulted in a 73% hotel occupancy rate, a 2% increase throughout the year. In the past three years, 829 rooms were added, representing a 54% increase compared to 2012. With the arrival of new airlines, including Air Europa, Condor and Norwegian Air, we now offer direct flights to major European cities such as Madrid, Frankfurt and Oslo,” explained the governor.

Puerto Rico has established itself as one of the most competitive markets in the region, with significant investment on the island in specialized industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, electronics and information technology, among others. “Countless companies have realized that Puerto Rico is much more than tax incentives and good conditions for business development. All of them know that those who invest capital and create jobs on the Island, will gain a government partner willing to work with them hand-in-hand for the success of the company and for the betterment of Puerto Rico. It’s a question of uniting efforts,” concluded García Padilla.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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New developments to add over 700 rooms on Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia (February 18, 2016) – Saint Lucia tourism officials are preparing to welcome over 700 new hotel rooms to the island’s accommodations in 2016, along with a new marketing campaign and push for new island investment.

Rex resorts has re-opened the 110 room Papillon Hotel after completing extensive renovations as an all-inclusive four-star property in February 2016 with Air Canada Vacations as the exclusive tour operator out of Canada. The Papillon Hotel is located adjacent to the St. Lucian and Royal by rex resorts hotels on Reduit Beach near Rodney Bay.

Also set to open this year, the Harbor Club on the Rodney Bay Marina will feature 115 four-star accommodations with a number of amenities that include two restaurants, lounges, a full-service spa, gym, pool recreational concept and 4,000 square feet of meeting and conference space. Adjacent to the Harbor Club is the recently completed Dive Saint Lucia, one of the premier scuba diving centers in the Eastern Caribbean featuring state of the art facilities at the complex just south of the Rodney Bay Marina.

In late 2016, Royalton Luxury Resorts will add to its rapidly expanding portfolio of vacation experiences with the upscale Royalton Saint Lucia near Cap Estate. The elegant resort features 361 luxurious rooms, eight restaurants and six bars, world class spa, onsite splash park, conference space and an exclusive 94-suite, adults-only hotel within a resort called Hideaway.

“This overdue hotel boom adds much-needed inventory to meet the demands of our key source markets” said Louis Lewis, Director Tourism. “Tourism growth is a priority, and Invest Saint Lucia and the newly opened Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Office will continue to seek new investment and development for the island.”

Lewis reported that the U.S., the island’s leading market with more than 44 percent of arrivals in 2015, realized a seven percent growth in visitors compared to 2014. Saint Lucia saw six record-breaking months in 2015 – January, February, March, April, June and October – for a total of nearly 345,000 visitors for the year and an overall increase in stay-over arrivals of two percent, following a six percent rise in arrivals in 2014.

“Partnership is key to the continued success of Saint Lucia’s marketing efforts,” said Lewis. “We work closely with our hotel and product partners, travel agent partners, tour operators and airlines, to harness ideas and resources for the benefit of the overall destination.” He added that the Saint Lucia Tourist Board will unveil a new marketing campaign in the second half of 2016 with plans to refresh the brand with new collateral and photography.

Saint Lucia was recognized as “Best Honeymoon Island in the World,” one of the “Top 20 Islands in the World,” and one of the “Most Romantic Islands in the World” by the Condé Nast Traveler 2015 Readers’ Choice Awards. Six of the island’s resorts were also distinguished as “Top 40 Resorts in the Caribbean” by Condé Nast Traveler readers. The growing reputation of the diverse hotels, and the island of Saint Lucia as a sought-after destination was further strengthened by the more than 50 awards and accolades received by resorts across the island, including recognition from Travel & Leisure’s World’s Best List and Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List to the coveted “Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination” by World Travel Awards.

For more information about the island of Saint Lucia, call 1-800-456-3984, or 1-888 4STLUCIA or visit http://stlucianow.com/.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Caribbean tourism sets new performance records

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (16 Feb. 2016) – For the first time ever since the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) began keeping records, the Caribbean outperformed every major tourism region in the world in setting new arrival and spend records in 2015 while exceeding expectations.

International tourist trips to the region grew by seven per cent to 28.7 million visits, much higher than the projected four to five per cent growth. Visitors spent an estimated $30 billion, a 4.2 per cent rise over the $28.8 billion spent in 2014.

“So 2015 was the second year in a row that the region has done better than the rest of the world, and the sixth consecutive year of growth for the Caribbean,” the CTO’s secretary general Hugh Riley revealed today in announcing  the record performance at a news conference at CTO headquarters, streamed live to a global audience that spanned the Caribbean, the Americas, Europe and as far as Asia.

Mr. Riley attributed the growth to improved global economic conditions in the marketplace; a boost in consumer confidence, particularly in the United States; falling oil prices; rising seat capacity and persistent marketing by CTO member countries and their partners.

The CTO reported growth in all the major markets – the United States, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and South America – with the intra-regional market performing better than it has ever done before.

“Despite concerns about the cost of travel within the region, the intra-Caribbean travel recorded its best performance since we started keeping records. In 2015, traffic from the Caribbean market accounted for six per cent of total arrivals into the region, with 1.7 million visits among the various states, an increase of 11.4 per cent over the previous year,” the CTO secretary general said.

The US, which remains the Caribbean’s primary market, accounting for about 50 per cent of arrivals, grew an impressive 6.3 per cent to 14.3 million visits.

The Canadian market grew by 4.5 per cent to 3.4 million; Europe accounted for 5.2 million visits, a 4.2 per cent jump over the previous year and South America continued its rapid growth, generating 2.1 million visitors, an 18.3 per cent jump over 2014.

Of the 5.2 million European visited, 1.1 million came from the United Kingdom, which recorded a 10.4 per cent rise.

“The European market made significant gains in 2015, with its best performance in seven years. For the first time since 2008, total arrivals from Europe reached the five million mark, a rise of 4.2 per cent compared to 2014. The UK was one of the dominant performers, growing by a healthy 10.4 per cent to 1.1 million visitors. Arrivals from Germany recorded an even better 11.5 per cent rise, while France was relatively flat, increasing by 0.8 per cent.

“Needless to say, we are very pleased with the Caribbean’s performance of stayover arrivals in 2015.  In each Quarter the region recorded at least six per cent growth over the corresponding quarter for 2014; and each month in 2015 was better than the same month the previous year.

“Still, the Caribbean cannot be complacent.  We must continue to grow our traditional markets, strengthen emerging ones and penetrate new sources as we target the 30 million arrivals mark we set some years ago.  Our efforts to improve our product quality, enhance our marketing, grow our rate base, increase our profitability, and constantly offer excellent value for money, must continue,” Mr. Riley advised.

The CTO secretary general also announced growth in the cruise sector, although at a slower rate of 1.3 per cent, with 24.4 million cruises in Caribbean waters.

He said the outlook for 2016 was positive with tourist arrivals expected to increase by 4.5 to 5.5 per cent, while cruise is estimated to record one to two per cent growth, as summer redeployment of ships continues.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Destination rebranding services for Dominica

Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) is pleased to invite Expressions of Interest (EoI) from consulting, marketing and creative agencies to undertake activities towards a destination rebranding.  The services required include research and creative services to help better define and communicate the brand personality, brand identity, brand essence and brand promise of destination Dominica.

Expressions of Interest, which should be no more than 3 pages, should describe the company’s set up, capabilities and experience in providing the necessary research and creative services and reasons why it should be included in the shortlist of companies to be invited to tender by Discover Dominica Authority.

The shortlisted firms will receive an invitation and Request for Proposal from Discover Dominica Authority to take part in a Competitive Selection Process for the contract to provide the Destination Rebranding Services.

Expressions of Interest should be submitted to Mr. Colin Piper, CEO/Director of Tourism, Discover Dominica Authority at [email protected] and copy Monique Jacob at [email protected] no later than 23rd February, 2016.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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FAQs on ZIKA & Travel to the Caribbean

The spread of the Zika virus in the Americas, with Brazil as the epicentre, and the possible though not yet proven accompanying link to microcephaly has, understandably, caused concern. The Level 2 alert issued by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created doubt among some potential travellers to the Caribbean as to whether or not their health is at risk and whether or not they should continue with their travel plans.

Conflicting information about the virus, coupled with the yet unconfirmed link to microcephaly, has led to uncertainty and confusion, which in turn leads to panic.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) are aware that you have a number of questions about your travel plans. We have therefore compiled a series of Frequently Asked Questions in relation to Zika and travel to the Caribbean. We hope you will find these details helpful.  We implore you not to panic.

 

How is the Zika Virus impacting Caribbean Tourism?

It’s too early to tell but all indications are that there are very few cancellations as a result of Zika.   The Caribbean set a record for visitors arrivals in 2015 and all indications point to continued growth and its popularity as one of the world’s most desirable warm weather destinations.

Should I cancel my Caribbean holiday?

No. However, as always we advise you to travel sensibly and to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself against insect bites, including mosquito bites, in very much the same way you would on any holiday in any tropical country.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and other health agencies, including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said that Zika symptoms for the vast majority of people are mild and last two to seven days. In fact, according to the WHO and the CDC, four in five people who contract the virus never know they got it, and if you get it once you develop immunity for life.

What are some of the concerns?

Concerns have been raised about a condition known as microcephaly and its effects on the unborn children of pregnant women. However, the WHO itself has stated several times that it has no proof of a link between Zika and microcephaly. In fact, there is other research that suggests there is no link and that there are other causes of the suspected rise in cases in Brazil. There are also no reported cases of microcephaly linked to Zika outbreaks in other countries or regions. Also, according to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), microcephaly is extremely rare in the Caribbean and there are no cases linked to Zika.

How worried is the Caribbean that Zika and the extensive news coverage will impact tourism this year?

We take the health and safety of our guests very seriously. Based on the evidence, we firmly believe that the Zika virus does not pose an extraordinary threat to visitors to the Caribbean. We will continue to closely monitor developments and if fresh evidence emerges that suggests otherwise we will advise accordingly.

In the meantime, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) remain in close contact with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to monitor and research the Zika cases in the Caribbean and to communicate prevention and control measures to residents and visitors, while the health authorities in our member countries are taking the necessary steps to limit the number of new cases.

Local populations and visitors alike are assured that the Caribbean remains open for business and safe for travel. The CTO and CHTA will continue to work closely with CARPHA to assess the situation, but we encourage visitors to continue with their travel plans to the Caribbean and follow the advice and precautions issued by the World Health Organization, similar to those which are provided to travelers to most tropical destinations.

Note also that the World Health Organization has not issued any travel restrictions to affected countries.

Which Caribbean countries are most at risk? 

The Zika outbreak has been concentrated in Brazil and South America, with approximately 1.5 million suspected cases in Brazil. By contrast, there have been around 200 suspected cases in the Caribbean, spread across about a dozen of the region’s 30-plus countries. Most individuals  who contracted the virus have already recovered.

What special measures are Caribbean tourism industry and health authorities taking to calm guest’s nerves or head off their concerns?

Caribbean countries and hotels continue their proactive measures similar to those used to combat other mosquito-borne viruses.  Staff and guests are being provided with the necessary information so they become familiar with how it can be prevented, how it can be transmitted, its signs and symptoms.  Insect repellent containing DEET is being placed in hotel rooms, or made easily available for purchase.

Many of our member countries undertake national clean-up campaigns to try to eradicate breeding grounds, while an increasing number of hotels install mosquito screens on windows and/or supply guests with bed nets in areas where the sleeping quarters are exposed to the outdoors.

Which airlines have you confirmed have taken this measure regarding travel, specifically to the Caribbean?

We are aware that a number of airlines, cruise lines and tour operators have announced cancellation or change policies. These policies vary from carrier to carrier and we encourage travellers to check with their travel agents or carrier if they are uncertain of the policy. We also recommend that you check with your hotel to inquire about its policy on cancellations and/or change of dates of guests.

How can visitors to the Caribbean protect themselves from contracting Zika?

We continue to encourage visitors to protect themselves from mosquito bites by using long lasting repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 on exposed skin.  Many of our guests come to the region to enjoy the sunshine, therefore, we advise those using both sunscreen and insect repellent, to apply the sunscreen first, then the repellent.

What is the Caribbean’s call to action?

Firstly, there is no reason to panic, but ensure precautions are taken to protect yourself from insect bites and stay informed about the Zika virus. The number of cases in the Caribbean is small and we anticipate that proliferation will be limited. However, we continue to encourage all communities to approach this matter seriously and aggressively, recognizing that the most effective way to control Zika is to eliminate mosquitoes.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, ZIKA

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