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Archive for 2017

Caribbean Primary School Tourism Writing Competition 2017

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is pleased to announce its  Caribbean Primary School Tourism Writing Competition for 2017, the CTO Year of Adventure in the Caribbean. This competition will open from 1st March – 1st May 2017, for children ages 8 – 12 in every CTO member country and seeks to encourage both creative and formal writing submissions related to strengthening sustainable tourism development in the region.

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St. Kitts reviews UK public relations services

Basseterre, St. Kitts (March 3, 2017) – The St. Kitts Tourism Authority is currently seeking a United Kingdom (UK)-based Public Relations Agency of Record, having today issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for public relations services. The agency would be responsible for providing PR representation for the destination in the UK marketplace, which is a key source market for visitors.

All proposals must be submitted by 4:30pm Atlantic Standard Time on Friday, March 17, 2017.  Proposals should specify exactly how each element of the scope of work will be approached and completed and should cover a 12-month period beginning May 1st 2017.

Below is a summary of the requirements:

  • Demonstrated experience in public relations in the UK.
  • Proven methodology for measurement/ROI of marketing investment – this may include research services such as performing review, analysis and recommendation for various opportunities from media requests for press trips to advertising proposals.
  • Relevant experience and understanding of St. Kitts’ tourism industry.
  • High level of commitment to client service in terms of quality, thoroughness of strategic approach and follow through.
  • Demonstrated existing relationships with general media and key members of the travel industry, across all stakeholder groups, e.g. trade, consumer publications and newspapers; and special interest and lifestyle media which support the destination’s relevant markets, including social media.

Depending on the outcome of written submissions, agencies may be required to make a Skype presentation to the selection committee based on their submissions.  Evaluation of proposals will be completed and submitted by March 24, 2017 with the possibility of presentations, if required, between March 27 and April 5, 2017.

Complete details are provided in the RFP which is available for download in PDF format at https://www.dropbox.com/s/8oslt6n1puzljml/RFP UK Public Relations Consultancy Services- March 3 2017 -.pdf?dl=0.  Any inquiries regarding the RFP should be directed via e-mail to [email protected].

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Antigua and Barbuda’s popular Run In Paradise Half-Marathon set for May 28

February 23, 2017 (St. John’s, Antigua) – A record number of runners on the international, regional and national running scenes are expected to register by February 28 to receive a special rate for the third annual Run in Paradise, hosted in beautiful Antigua and Barbuda.

Run in Paradise, which is set for May 28, 2017, allows runners from around the world the opportunity to explore all that the destination has to offer, with participants treated to a spectacular variety of sights and sounds in Antigua, including the stunning beaches, intimate neighborhoods, rolling hills, and the bustle of energetic St. John’s city.

The event offers a Half Marathon, 5K race and a new 10K distance. For 2017, participants can also expect a revised course, which runs from the V.C. Bird International Airport past the American University of Antigua and the Jabberwock Beach. The course then winds its way through the Paradise View neighbourhood and into the heart of St. John’s before finishing on the beach at historic Fort James.

The race, which has featured professional marathon runners including the 2015 half-marathon winner Mike Korir, of Kenya, and the 2016 winner Elliott Mason, of Antigua, is open to participants of all abilities, including walkers.

Last year’s Run In Paradise attracted participants from ten different countries. Organisers anticipate that with the addition of a 4-days, 3-nights Runcation to Antigua package with airfare and hotel included for US$699, the event will exceed the 2016 numbers.

International participants are personally greeted at the airport by race staff and provided free transportation to the race’s host hotel, the luxurious Antigua Yacht Club Marina and Resort. Participants will also be treated to an optional free tour of the island on Saturday, May 27. Transportation to the start line and back from the finish line is provided for racers staying in the host hotel. After the race, participants and their families will celebrate their accomplishments at the post-race party held on Pigeon Point Beach, with free food and drinks! This is truly a “runcation” in every sense of the word.

For details on runcation packages and to register for the Run In Paradise visit  www.runinparadise.com or contact organisers  in the USA on 1 (786) 269-3432  or  in Antigua and Barbuda on 1 (268) 774 5555. Participants can also follow Run In Paradise on www.facebook.com/runinparadise and on Instagram and Twitter @WeRunAntigua.

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New direct flight: London Heathrow – Barbados by Virgin Atlantic

Commencing Winter 2017, travellers will be able to fly directly between London Heathrow Airport and Grantley Adams International Airport, thanks to a new service from Virgin Atlantic. The new, twice weekly service will launch on December 12, 2017, and flights go on sale from Saturday, February 25.

Currently, flights between Barbados and London are only available to Gatwick Airport. CEO of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), William Griffith, noted that the addition of the new Virgin service will open doors for Barbados. “London Heathrow is the largest airport in the U.K., handling over 70 million passengers annually. These new flights will make Barbados more accessible to passengers travelling on many major airlines that only fly into London Heathrow. We expect that this new route will make Barbados a more competitive and attractive destination to visitors choosing holidays.”

The flights will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays as part of the Winter 2017 schedule using an Airbus A330. This new service means that Virgin Atlantic will now offer up to 11 Barbados flights per week from three U.K. Airports – Gatwick, Manchester and Heathrow.

Shai Weiss, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, welcomed the new service, commenting that “The Caribbean has always been a core market for Virgin Atlantic and so we’re excited to announce we’re offering more choice to our customers with the option of flying from Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester direct to Barbados.”

This news comes on the heels of remarks from the Minister of Tourism and International Transport, the Honourable Richard Sealy, that in 2016 Barbados recorded an all-time high of 6.7% growth in air visitor arrivals. During that year, the U.K. was the primary source market, contributing 35% of stay-over arrivals to the island.

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CTO and CHTA Statement on CARICOM’s Decision to Advance the Regional Tourism Agenda

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (21 February, 2017)The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism development agency, and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the umbrella private sector organization, applaud Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government for taking the lead in recognising the critical contribution of tourism to the economies of member countries and for their commitment to advancing a regional tourism agenda.

Following a presentation, prepared in collaboration with the CHTA, and delivered by CTO secretary general Hugh Riley to the Caribbean leaders at their 28th intersessional in Guyana last week, the Heads of Government supported the advancement of a series of steps addressing transportation and the facilitation of travel, human resource development, building the creative industries, and the marketing of the Caribbean brand.  They also invited CTO and CHTA to come forth with additional information to address the region’s competitiveness and financing for the sustainability of tourism.

They called for an urgent meeting of the Council for Trade and Development (COTED)-Transportation to address air transport issues in particular, including those related to the tourism sector; and supported the establishment of an interim tourism working group to coordinate with regional public and private sector stakeholder groups, the development of specific solutions which can be advanced in priority areas.

The group will comprise representation from the CARICOM Secretariat, the CTO and the CHTA and its mandate includes the preparation of a pilot region-wide public relations and marketing initiative for 2017/2018 for presentation to the Heads at their 38th regular meeting in July.

The CARICOM leaders also agreed that public-private sector partnerships, guiding the development and marketing of tourism for the Caribbean, needed to be more effective and requested that the marketing of tourism encompass, in particular, the eco-tourism product of mainland member states of Belize, Guyana and Suriname.

The CHTA and the CTO firmly believe that tourism is a key driver of socio-economic progress, helping destinations and countries to quickly create jobs and businesses, generate tax revenues and support infrastructure improvements to the benefit of residents and visitor. It is a proven tool to lower unemployment, stimulate indigenous entrepreneurial activity, increase foreign exchange earnings, and grow tax revenues for our treasuries.

However, it is a fiercely competitive business, and we are facing the stark reality that we must find ways of maximizing the collective strength of the Caribbean, if any and all of us are to truly succeed.

The support of the leaders is a progressive and positive move and a welcomed commitment towards furthering the development of our people, so that they can take full advantage of the employment, career and entrepreneurial opportunities available through the region’s largest industry.

We wish to thank the leaders for placing tourism on their agenda. We are particularly appreciative to Prime Minister Perry Christie of the Bahamas, who has responsibility for tourism in the CARICOM quasi-Cabinet, Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe and Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell for advancing the proposed initiative at the meeting.

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Visitors are spending more money on island

In addition to overall growth in arrivals, tourists are on average spending more money during their visits to Barbados. According to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Quarterly Exit Survey, stayover visitors to Barbados spent a daily average of US $167.41 compared to US $164.40 for the corresponding period in 2015.

2016 also saw a 6.7% increase in actual arrivals, which when coupled with an increased average daily spend, realized a 9.2% growth in overall visitor expenditure on the island. Total expenditure in 2016 was US $984,342 million, compared to US $901,294 million in 2015.

CEO of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), William ‘Billy’ Griffith, asserted that “these favourable conditions are ripe with opportunities for Barbadians. More tourists are coming to our shores and they are spending more. In response, we need to ensure we encourage this upward trend in visitor spend by focusing our efforts on consistently offering exciting, quality experiences.”

U.K. visitors spend most on average

There was an increase in average daily expenditure during 2016 at an estimated US $167.41 compared to US $164.40 for the corresponding period of 2015 – an increase of 1.8% or US$3.01. When the markets were examined, visitors from the United Kingdom spent the most on average, US $184.72, which represented an increase of 4.1% or US $7.22.

Visitors from the Caribbean and Canada territories also spent more in 2016, recording increases of 3.5% and 1.9% respectively.

Overall top performers

Total visitor expenditure increases during 2016 were spread across several markets. The United States recorded an increase of 18.5% in total visitor spend, while the United Kingdom, Canada and the Caribbean region registered growths of 12.6%, 7.4% and 1.3% respectively.

Although the remaining markets saw declines in spend, they contributed generously to the overall total expenditure. Visitors from Europe spent US $61 million during 2016 on island, followed by visitors from “Other” countries which included Latin America, Asia, and Africa which spent US $27 million.

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Air visitor arrivals at all time high

In 2016, Barbados attracted an increase of 6.7%, or 39,641 more visitors than 2015, signaling opportunities for expansion within the industry. Minister of Tourism and International Transport, the Honorable Richard Sealy, said that “this growth stands to have a positive impact on every Barbadian. An increase in stay-over visitors, and an increase in average visitor spend, translate to new and growing opportunities for individuals in the Barbados labour force, as well as the overall economy.”

According to the Barbados Statistical Service, for the period January to December 2016, Barbados recorded 631,513 stay-over visitors. All of the months of the year 2016, with the exception of April, recorded increases in arrivals with December (67,643), November (62,802), January (62,338) and February (60,969) emerging as the peak months. Of these, the highest growth was recorded during the month of November when arrivals grew by 18.5% to a total of 62,802. Even September, a generally slow period, enjoyed a growth of 10.5% when compared with September 2015.

U.K., U.S. retain lion’s share

As in previous years, the United Kingdom remained the primary source market.  This market contributed 35% of stay-over arrivals to the island, or 218,638, an increase of 2.1% from 2015.

The United States followed in second position, capturing 27% of the market share with 168,945 arrivals; registering an increase of 14.1% compared to January to December 2015.

The Caribbean continued to hold its own, contributing 15% of business during the reporting period. Some 99,679 arrivals were recorded (Trinidad & Tobago, 34,000 arrivals and Other Caribbean, 65,679 arrivals). Increases of 14.6% and 12.6% were recorded for Trinidad and Tobago and the other Caribbean territories respectively, when compared with 2015.

Generating 12% of business to Barbados, arrivals from Canada grew from 74,494 during 2015 to 78,903 during 2016, resulting in an increase of 5.9%.

Europe maintained its 6% share of overall business, with Germany as its top performer.

According to in-house figures from the BTMI, there was also a small contribution from Central and South America, particularly Colombia, whose arrivals grew from 776 during 2015 to 2,350 during 2016.

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