CTO News

Archive for 2017

WESTJET begins direct flight to Belize from Calgary, Canada

Belize City, Monday, November 6th, 2017:  A brief inaugural ceremony was held at the Departure Lounge of the Philip Goldson International Airport on Friday, November 3rd to commemorate WestJet’s new non-stop weekly service between Calgary, Canada and Belize. According to WestJet the service is part of the airline’s seasonal schedule for the winter of 2017-18.

The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Belize Hotel Association, senior staff of the Belize Airport Concession Company (BACC), the Canadian Consulate to Belize and the Belize Tourism Board among others. Short addresses were delivered by Mr. Lynn Young, Honorary Consul of Canada to Belize and the Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation.

In his address, Hon. Manuel Heredia said, “The importance of the Canadian market for Belize can certainly not be overstated in terms of the overall economic impact it has on Belize’s Tourism Industry.”

He pointed out that “Canadian arrivals to Belize accounted for 6% of total overnight arrivals in Belize in 2016. That percentage share is expected to rise this year with the increased traffic from the direct flights from Canada to Belize introduced in the latter part of last year and, of course, with the start of this new flight.”

Most Canadians prefer to travel to Belize to enjoy the tropical weather that Belize has to offer.  But they also enjoy the warm hospitality of all Belizeans and the country’s awesome culture and excellent cuisine and attractions.

According to BTB’s Director of Tourism, Karen Bevans, the new flight “will help with the different areas such as Vancouver and the others that were unable to get a direct connection into Toronto so this makes it much more convenient for a large market in Canada and to open up the opportunities for Belize even more.”

“ We expect that the size of the Canadian market will only continue to increase and hopefully we can expect at least 10% of our arrivals with the addition of this flight,” Ms. Bevans said. She added: “As we heard the Honorary Consul mention more and more students are now approaching him about the Canadian market or schools in Canada and that population has grown and we expect that to happen even more because this gives more accessibility, cheaper cost, so it does create more opportunity for our Belizean people.”

WestJet inaugurated its first flight from Toronto, Canada to Belize in 2016. The new WestJet service to Belize from Calgary, therefore, represents a resounding confirmation that Belize continues to be a growing, viable and a must-visit destination in Central America and the Caribbean.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO Announces Finalists For Travel Media Awards Competition For Canada

TORONTO, Canada (7 Nov, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has announced the finalists for its annual travel media awards competition for the Canadian market. Journalists in and around Toronto will be recognized during the Saint Lucia sponsored Caribbean Tourism Industry & Media Awards Luncheon on Monday, 13 November, 2017, from 1 – 3 p.m. at the Double Tree Hilton, Downtown Toronto, while those in and around Montreal will be awarded at a similar event from 12:30 – 2:p.m. on Friday 17 November at the InterContinental Hotel.

The awards luncheon honours industry leaders and top Caribbean stories when accolades are presented in the major media and Caribbean tourism market in show of appreciation for their contribution to the development of the tourism product.

Following are the Caribbean Media Awards finalists for each category:

“Been There, Wrote That” Award 

Best Feature Article in a Canada-based Consumer Magazine

Journalist: Robert Osbourne
Article: From Cayman with Love
Publication: Dive Traveller

Journalist: Josephine Matyas
Article: Fantasy Islands
Publication: Doctor’s Review

Journalist: Jacob Richler
Article: Cayman Cookout- Where America’s Celebrity Chefs Go to Play
Publication: Canada’s 100 Best

I Couldn’t Have Written It Better Myself

Best Feature Article in a Canada-based Consumer Newspaper

Journalist: Michele Petersen
Article: Spotlight on Nevis: The Broadway Musical “Hamilton” Shines Attention on this Luxe Caribbean Hideaway
Publication: The Montrealer

Journalist: Errol Nazareth
Article: Anguilla Not a Typical Touristy Caribbean Island – And, It Doesn’t Want To Be
Publication: Toronto Sun

Journalist: Josephine Matyas
Article: Activities, Seclusion Abound in Dominica
Publication: Toronto Star

Inner Circle King/Queen

Best Feature Article in a Canada-based Trade Publication

Journalist: IIona Kauremszky
Article: From the Bahamas with Love
Publication: Travel Industry Today

Journalist: Ann Ruppenstein
Article: You’ll Never Be Blue in Colorful CURAÇAO
Publication: Travel Courier

Not Lost in Translation

Best Feature by a Canada-based Journalist in Foreign Media

Journalist: Mark Stevens
Article: Seven Great Reasons to Visit Antigua & Barbuda
Publication: Caribbean Business and Travel

Journalist: Melanie Reffes
Article: Secrets in Paradise: The Best Caribbean Beaches You’ve Never Heard Of
Publication: USA Today

Journalist: Michele Peterson
Article: The Best Places to Eat on the Caribbean Island of Nevis
Publication: A Taste for Travel

Oh Snap!

Best Photograph in Conjunction with a Feature Article

Photographer: Sarah Staples
Article: Havana: Then, Now & Its American Future
Publication: Just Luxe

Photographer: Sharon Matthews-Stevens
Article: Islands at the Edge
Publication: All at Sea

Photographer: Robert Osbourne
Article: From Cayman with Love
Publication: Dive Traveller

Virtual Visitor Award  

Best Online feature

Writer: Jason Ruta
Article: Five Fabulous things about Curacao
Publication: Out TV

Writer: Doreen Pengracs
Article: Visiting the Grenada Chocolate Festival
Publication: Chocolator.net

Writer: Josephine Matyas
Article: Dominica Lets Visits Stay Active or Chill Out
Publication: thestar.com

In addition, an award will be presented for the best blog posting in 2016, the winner having been decided by public vote.

The Caribbean Week in Canada media awards are judged by a team of public relations and journalism experts.

Organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Caribbean Week Canada 2017 will combine business sessions and consumer-oriented events with Caribbean-inspired food, lively entertainment and networking opportunities. The week will kick-off in Toronto on 10 November, 2017 with CTO’s Caribbean Ball, which is being held in support of CTO’s charities. All proceeds will be donated to the CTO Relief Fund, which assists CTO member countries in the wake of disasters, as well as the CTO Foundation, which provides tourism scholarships.

The Caribbean Week Canada 2017 agenda includes:

Toronto, Canada

  • Caribbean Ball: Friday, 10 November, 2017, 6 – midnight., Mandarin Ballroom, Doubletree Hilton, Downtown Toronto
  • Cooking Demonstrations/Themed Areas (Consumer Event): Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 November, 2017, 11 – 6 p.m., Improve Canada
  •  CTO Press Conference: Monday, 13 November, 2017, 9 – 10 a.m., Mandarin B, Doubletree Hilton, Downtown Toronto
  • Media Marketplace: Monday, 13 November, 2017, 10:30 – 12:30 p.m., Victoria Ballroom, Doubletree Hilton, Downtown Toronto
  •  Caribbean Tourism Industry & Media Awards Luncheon: Monday, 13 November, 2017, 1 – 3 p.m., Mandarin A, Doubletree Hilton, Downtown Toronto
  •  Trade Show and Educational Forum for Travel Agents: Tuesday, 14 November, 2017, 8 – noon., Improve Canada
  • Tourism Industry Panel Discussion: Tuesday, 14 November, 2017, 12:30 – 3:30 p.m., Improve Canada

 Montreal, Canada

  •  Trade Show and Educational Forum for Travel Agents: Thursday 16 November, 2017, 5:30 – 9 p.m.  InterContinental Hotel
  •  Media Marketplace: Friday, 17 November, 2017, 10:30 – 12:30 p.m., InterContinental Hotel
  • Media Awards Luncheon with National Tourist Offices: Friday 17 November, 2017, 12:30 – 2 p.m., InterContinental Hotel

 For more information on any of the Caribbean Week Canada events contact the Caribbean Tourism Organization at 905-857-1986 or visit canada.caribbeanweek.com.

 

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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POST HURRICANES CARIBBEAN UPDATE – 6 NOVEMBER, 2017

LONDON,UK (6 Nov., 2017) – As member countries of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) affected by the recent hurricanes Irma and Maria reopen for business, the CTO presents this update, which includes data provided by our partner, OAG, the leading air travel data provider based in the UK, the state of readiness in the member countries and planned events in the coming months, as provided by the member destinations.

The CTO Relief Fund (a 501 c3) helps families and countries rebuild after hurricanes, with monies raised being sent directly to CTO-member destinations affected by the hurricanes. To make a donation, visit www.gofundme.com/hurricane-relief-fund-cto.

Donations through CHTA’s Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund can be made via http://www.tourismcares.org/caribbean.

Download Full Post Hurricanes Caribbean Update Nov. 6, 2017

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery

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Remarks by CTO Chair, Dionisio D’Aguilar Chairman, at WTM News Conference, November 2017

The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens has been quoted so much over the years that it has become somewhat of a cliché. However, in the present context, it is a most appropriate cliché for our circumstances as the Caribbean has witnessed the proverbial tale of two cities during the past ten months or so. We had the best of times, with record performances in the first half of 2017, and for some of our member countries, and by extension the region, the worst of times with the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria.

We began the year growing at a healthy pace of 5.2 per cent between January and June, when compared to the same period last year. This was ahead of the growth rate of 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent which had been our forecast and was a reflection of economic stability in the market, expansion and inauguration of flights by major carriers and new marketing and product development initiatives.

During this period the region recorded 16.6 million international tourist arrivals, some 800 thousand more than in the first six months of 2016. Growth was recorded in all major source markets except South America, which contracted by 14.3 per cent.  Up to June, the European market had grown by 7.9 per cent, Canada by 6.4 per cent, and despite the weak sterling, the UK grew by 4.8 per cent.

In the hotel industry, the half-year outcomes reported by STR Global showed that average occupancy increased marginally by 0.2 percentage points to 70.8 per cent, while the average daily room rate rose slightly by 0.2 per cent, moving from US$220.84 in 2016 to US$221.38 in 2017.

Growth in the cruise sector also remained positive and stronger than the expected performance in the first half of the year. At the end of the first six months of 2017, cruise passenger arrivals to the Caribbean region had reached an estimated 15.3 million, up four per cent over the corresponding period of 2016. This performance represented the largest number of cruise passengers in the region at this time of year.

Then came the hurricanes – first, Irma, then Maria – that inflicted such damage on some of our member countries, causing such despair!

There has been widespread coverage of the damage caused to these countries and territories, the most serious   among them being Anguilla, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Puerto Rico, both Dutch and French Saint Martin and the US Virgin Islands. Understandably, this triggered a slowdown, with travel to many of these destinations having been severely impacted. Consequently, we have revised our forecast for 2017 to between one and two per cent, with a similar growth rate projected for next year.

This is expected to have a significant economic impact, based on predictions by the Caribbean Development Bank; according to the CDB  every one per cent reduction in tourist arrivals could cost US$137 million in lost revenue. Our revised forecast is based on a number of factors, including figures provided by CTO’s partner, OAG, the air travel data provider based here in the UK. Data based on schedules that were provided to OAG by the airlines showed that in October the number of flights to the region fell by 6.7 per cent, while seat capacity contracted by 4.1 per cent.

Among the worst hit destinations, the frequency of flights to Puerto Rico decreased by 25.1 per cent, Dominica by 13.7 per cent, St. Maarten by 12 per cent, the British Virgin Islands by 11.2 per cent, Anguilla by 6.3 per cent and the  US Virgin Islands  by 5.6 per cent.  Seat capacity to all of these destinations was consequently adversely affected with St. Maarten experiencing a near 50 per cent falloff.

Some of these reductions were influenced by Hurricane Harvey, which hit the US mainland, but most were a direct result of Irma and Maria.

It must be noted, however, that Cuba’s capacity grew by 10 per cent despite changes to the schedule. The new services from the US are a major influence on this performance. The largest of the carriers based in the region, Caribbean Airlines and LIAT, both registered declines in capacity, with LIAT falling by 21.3 per cent and Caribbean Airlines by 9.5 per cent. However, overall, air capacity in the region grew by five per cent for the first nine months of 2017 when compared to the same period last year.

As for post-hurricane tourist arrivals, it is still too early to tell, since the October numbers are not yet in. However, with several of the key cruise destinations, including Puerto Rico, St. Maarten and the US Virgin Islands recovering from the impact of the hurricanes, cruise lines made changes to their itineraries  to include alternative regional ports which remained open.

These redeployments have benefited countries such as Curacao, which registered a 138.3 per cent rise in cruise passenger arrivals in September, Jamaica (54.1 per cent), the Cayman Islands and Grenada.

You would have noticed that we predict growth in tourist arrivals this year, albeit slower than expected, which could still mean new record performance for the Caribbean despite the storms. This is mainly due to the fact that some 75 per cent of the Caribbean was unscathed by the hurricanes and continued to welcome visitors.

And, if we are to return to Dickens, there is prodigious strength in sorrow and despair, as a brilliant people rise from this destruction and devastation, with the fighting spirit of the people of the Caribbean, ready to rebuild stronger and more sustainably than before.

Already, virtually all of the affected countries are reporting that they are open again for business, although not at full capacity, with every one of them planning some sort of event either later this year or early next year.

A separate document will be presented to you outlining the state of readiness of these countries.

Thank you all for coming and for helping spread the word that the Caribbean is open for business, and for reminding everyone that the best way to help the Caribbean is to travel to the Caribbean.

 

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery

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Barbados Wins Bid To Host 2018 Society of American Travel Writers Convention

November 1, 2017 (Portland, Ore.) – Today, the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) has selected the island of Barbados as the host destination for its 2018 annual convention. This is the first time that any Caribbean nation has been selected as the convention host destination. The announcement was made at the 2017 SATW Annual Convention held in Portland, Oregon, U.S.

SATW is a professional association comprised of 1,100 writers, photographers, editors, broadcast/video/film producers, bloggers, website owners, public relations experts and hospitality industry representatives from the United States and Canada. Founded in 1955, the society’s members represent some of the most influential content producers in the travel industry with work that can be seen throughout all print, digital and broadcast platforms.

“Barbados is a world class destination that is uniquely suited to host the conference in 2018. Despite the intense competition to host our organization, Barbados’ reputation as a bastion of story ideas for travel editors – both those in the U.S. and Canada – propelled its bid to the winning position. From its hotels to its unique attributes, we knew it was a place that would be interesting to our members,” said incoming SATW President, Barbara Orr.

“Hosting this convention in October 2018 will allow us to stimulate immediate social media coverage of Barbados prior to the kick-off of the winter travel season,” noted Petra Roach, Director, U.S., Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI). “These delegates influence thousands of our target consumers via their social media platforms every day, and we are designing our conference to maximize social media conversations.”

Furthermore, each journalist will be taken on thematic tours of the island, so that they can pursue story ideas for their print, broadcast and online media outlets, which will result in editorial coverage that tells the Barbados story to consumers for years to come.

Not only will BTMI leverage this platform to tell Barbados’ story, but BTMI is inviting Caribbean nations harmed during the 2017 hurricane season, who will be on the road to recovery by October 2018, to host pre/post trips as part of the official conference program.

“Barbados was fortunate to not endure the brunt of the recent hurricanes and has remained ‘open for business’,” noted Roach. “However we know that damage has been done to consumers’ perception of the Caribbean, and we see this as an opportunity to change the conversation to one about why consumers should consider travel to this region of the world,” she concluded.

Barbados has one of the strongest dollars in the Caribbean, a great education system, relatively low unemployment and is one of the safest Caribbean islands for visitors. These characteristics underscore a travel experience where visitors can enjoy rich authentic experiences. Barbados is replete with luxury hotels, unique attractions and beautiful beaches and hosts festivals throughout the year with everything from polo events in the winter and spring to its renowned Food & Rum Festival in the fall.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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St. Kitts Welcomes the Caribbean’s First Park Hyatt Hotel

Basseterre, St. Kitts (November 1, 2017) – St. Kitts is pleased to welcome the Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour, the Caribbean’s first Park Hyatt featuring the first Miraval Life in Balance Spa in the Caribbean, which officially opens today on the island’s southeast peninsula and brings a new level of luxury to the expanding tourism product.

“The debut today of Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour is a historical occasion for the island,” said Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce the Hon. Mr. Lindsay F.P. Grant. “This elegant and sophisticated property brings the unparalleled Park Hyatt experience to St. Kitts as the brand’s first hotel in the Caribbean, which is a welcome addition to our existing accommodations product and to our overall island community.”

Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, added, “We are very pleased that the Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour opens today, as it increases the island’s appeal among those discerning destination travelers seeking experiential getaways who represent a key segment of our visitor market.”

Spanning the secluded beach of Banana Bay at the foot of the island’s lush rolling hills, the 126-room resort will enable guests to discover St. Kitts through sophisticated design, art, culinary experiences and immersive excursions. Home to three signature restaurants, two pools, a destination resort spa and wellness sanctuary, and indoor and outdoor event spaces, the resort introduces the Park Hyatt experience to the Caribbean. From the living walls of the distinctive entryway and throughout, all features of the resort have been thoughtfully and sustainably designed by Range Developments with local materials and unique water features to create an oasis in harmony with the surrounding environment.

All 78 rooms and 48 suites overlook the golden sandy beach and exceptional vistas greet guests at every turn. Each room showcases views of the Caribbean Sea and islands beyond with luxurious touches such as private balconies and terraces, local artwork, rain-showers and deep soaking tubs. Premium suites feature private rooftop swimming pools and sundecks. For the ultimate indulgence for discerning guests, the three-bedroom Presidential Villa is equipped with a private infinity pool, wellness area, personal butler and private chef.

The Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour has been developed as an integral part of the Christophe Harbour resort community. For more information about Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour or to make reservations, visit https://stkitts.park.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html, or visit www.ChristopheHarbour.com for more information about Christophe Harbour.

About St. Kitts:

Intoxicating natural beauty, sunny skies, warm waters, and sandy beaches combine to make St. Kitts one of the most seductive spots in the Caribbean. Located in the northern Leeward Islands, it offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history.  The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking or ziplining through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the island’s former sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, and touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the more traditional vacation pastimes available are water sports, golf, shopping, tennis, dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino or simply relaxing on the beach.

For more information about St. Kitts, visit www.stkittstourism.kn.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO to Host Destination Showcase on Ubersoca Cruise 2017

Hamilton, Bermuda (31 October, 2017) – Ubersoca Cruise (USC), the largest Soca festival at sea, has partnered with the region’s tourism development agency, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) for its 2017 cruise, which sails from Miami to Cozumel, Mexico, November 16 – 20. CTO will host a Destination Showcase onboard Ubersoca 2017, which will give passengers an insight into the diversity of the region and the attributes that make the Caribbean islands such a popular tourism destination.

The foundation for this partnership was laid when USC participated as a sponsor of CTO’s Caribbean Week New York in June of this year, and the onboard workshop is part of the collaboration arrangement.

The CTO workshop, which will be facilitated by Amanda Charles and Kennedy Pemberton of the CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Product Development Division, will feature highlights of ongoing CTO initiatives, information on Caribbean destinations as well as a Caribbean Trivia competition with exciting prizes to be won. The event will culminate with an open forum dealing with issues and opportunities in Caribbean Tourism, Music, Culture and Carnivals.

“The CTO is pleased to partner with Ubersoca Cruise as part of its continuing efforts to promote Caribbean Tourism, and initiatives such as the CTO Scholarship Foundation and Hurricane Relief fund. We salute the young entrepreneurs that have transformed a traditional tourism product into an authentic Caribbean cultural experience, and look forward to exploring this new frontier with the Ubersoca Team in adding value to the regional cruise tourism experience”. Amanda Charles, Sustainable Tourism Specialist, Caribbean Tourism Organization.

If you are interested in booking your cabin aboard Ubersoca Cruise 2017 please visit www.ubersocacruise.com.

About Ubersoca Cruise

Ubersoca Cruise is the first and only full cruise ship charter dedicated exclusively to soca music. The cruise sails from Miami Florida to Cozumel Mexico from November 16th – 20th 2017 and features over 60 of the best soca artists and DJs in the world. It all starts with the pre-cruise party in South Beach Miami Florida on November 15th 2017. In addition to multiple live concerts and themed events/parties, Ubersoca Cruise, offers a number of other activities and surprises which make it an ‘experience beyond the music’.

 

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Corporate News

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