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Archive for 2017

CTO Helps Strengthen Business Performance, Overall Competitiveness with Hospitality Assured

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (June 12, 2017) – As part of an on-going partnership with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and its Hospitality Assured (HA) certification programme, the European Union under its Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) programme last month hosted an HA Business Advisor Training Workshop at the Curaçao Chamber of Commerce in Punda, Williemstaad, Curaçao. Participants came from the Curaçao Tourist Board, the Curacao Innovation & Technology Institute; and Creating Milestones, a management solutions company.

The main objectives of the workshop were:

  • To provide participants with an overview of the HA standards and processes and awareness of the Business Excellence framework;
  • To enable participants to manage and advise on the HA processes for client organisations which will enable these organisations to progress on their journey to excellence and to obtain HA certification;
  • To provide participants with a knowledge and understanding of the evidence requirements of Hospitality Assured; and
  • To provide participants with an opportunity to develop gender sensitive advisory approaches through the employment of case studies and role-play.

CTO began its journey with HA in 2007, seeking to strengthen the business performance and overall competitiveness of tourism enterprises in the Caribbean. CTO is in the process of building a network of advisors and assessors in member countries which are already involved in the HA programme – including  Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Kitts & Nevis, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines – and is also seeking to extend the scheme to countries which have not yet started to roll out the programme but have indicated an interest in doing so this year. These include Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Curaçao, Guyana, Montserrat, Saint Lucia and The Turks & Caicos Islands.

The HA programme endeavours to promote a culture of quality, service excellence and continuous improvement, through the use of a business improvement tool and framework that is internationally recognized, as a means to support customer service delivery in tourism enterprises.

The first task of the HA Programme for Curaçao was to train Business Advisors and to equip them with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to work effectively with organisations and lead them through the detailed HA self-assessment process towards certification.

A series of introductory presentations delivered by the facilitators, Norma Shorey-Bryan and Sharon Banfield-Bovell, provided participants with a background to the HA programme, perspectives on the issues and challenges faced in the tourism sector in the Caribbean, and detailed information on what was required on the HA Journey to Excellence. Focus was also placed on helping participants to understand issues related to gender and gender sensitive advisory approaches in dealing with the HA clients. These discussions on gender came to the forefront in the case studies discussions and role plays that were part of the learning and feedback sessions.

The interactive approach used throughout the workshop was designed to encourage participants to share their experiences, perspectives and concerns, and to learn from each other. Presentations stimulated lively group discussions, which helped participants consider how to apply the concepts taught when working with client organisations in Curaçao. The workshop sessions included: presentations on fundamental topics like What is Excellence, Vision & Values, Business Planning Processes and Sharing Good Practices; introduction to each of the nine steps of the HA Model; role plays on case studies mirroring the operations in various types of tourism businesses; and other learning exercises linked to each of the nine steps.

By the end of the workshop, the participants had gained a deeper understanding of the structure of the HA framework and were aware of the key themes of Hospitality Assured. The detailed knowledge and understanding will be further taken in as they apply the model to real life situations as they work with small, medium and large sized businesses in Curaçao’s tourism and hospitality sector.

About Hospitality Assured

Hospitality Assured is an internationally recognized certification, owned by the Institute of Hospitality in the U.K., managed and operated by the Hospitality Limited U.K. trading as Hospitality Assured and licensed by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) for use in the Caribbean as “The Standard for Service and Business Excellence in Caribbean Tourism.”

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Hospitality Assured

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Ocean Terrace Inn’s Green Initiatives Recognized at CHTA’S Chief Conference

Basseterre, St. Kitts – (June 6, 2017) – Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI) continues to stand out in the Caribbean as a leader in sustainable tourism with the property receiving runner up for Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Environmental Sustainability Award. Chris Ghita, General Manager of OTI accepted the award on behalf of the property at CHTA’s CHIEF (Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum) Opening Ceremony on June 2, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency in Miami, FL.

Ocean Terrace Inn is extremely proud to receive this top honor, as it reconfirms our positioning to not only be one of the most environmentally sustainable hotels in St. Kitts, but throughout the entire Caribbean,” commented Chris Ghita, General Manager of Ocean Terrace Inn. “OTI is relentless in the pursuit of initiating and promoting eco-friendly and sustainability awareness amongst our guests, the staff and the community. Through a multi-faceted campaign that conserves energy and natural resources; reduces waste to minimize pollution and teaches eco-friendly policies in a local school, OTI uses environmental best practices to positively contribute to tourism’s sustainability and operate the resort in a fiscally responsible and economic manner.”

Produced by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF) is the premier educational forum for Caribbean hospitality and tourism professionals. CHIEF is where the hospitality industry assembles to connect, learn best practices, share ideas, brainstorm creative solutions to current challenges and build relationships. With three educational tracks covering a multitude of relevant topics, from the sharing economy to sustainability, and interactive roundtable and speed networking sessions, this event addresses issues affecting all businesses. The forum attracts hoteliers, vendors, government officials and industry experts focused on a stronger, profitable and more sustainable industry.

OTI, the intimate 4-star boutique hotel, where the ‘little things’ make all of the difference, was totally renovated in 2015. Ocean Terrace Inn offers state-of-the-art amenities, chic public areas, 34 perfectly appointed air conditioned guestrooms and suites with complimentary Wi-Fi, mouth-watering cuisine curated by International Chefs, and a level of personalized service that sets a new standard to the island.

For more information on Ocean Terrace Inn visit www.oceanterraceinn.com, email [email protected], call 1-800-524-0512 and follow Ocean Terrace Inn on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Government Of Grenada Signs MOU With AIRBNB

St. George’s, Grenada W.I. – June 8, 2017 – It’s official. The Government of Grenada, today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), to formalize and implement a cohesive partnership with the global home-sharing company, Airbnb. Grenada’s Minister of Tourism, Honorable Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen signed on behalf of the Government of Grenada, in a conference held during the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s annual Caribbean Week.

The signing of the MOU is part of ongoing efforts by the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) to maximize exposure of the tri-island destination of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, and will act as a streamlined framework for the collaboration between the GTA and Airbnb, designed to further enhance and position the Spice Island of the Caribbean as top-of-mind with target consumers.

“Solidifying a strategic alliance with a global entity like Airbnb demonstrates our commitment to strengthening Grenada’s tourism sector by tapping into new segments of the industry and providing Grenadians with opportunities that stimulate our island’s economic growth,” commented Dr. Modeste-Curwen. “Grenada is known and loved for the warm and friendly hospitality of its people, world-class beaches, cuisine, culture and we recognize that in order for the destination to remain competitive we must grow and evolve with the ever-changing travel landscape.”

Airbnb plays an increasingly important role in Grenada’s tourism sector with more than 400 active listings across the island and typical host annual earnings of $2200 USD. With the establishment of today’s strategic partnership, new opportunities will be open to Grenadians and island-wide advocacy to develop and support unique Pure Grenada experiences that will further strengthen the continued growth of the destination’s economy.

In recent months, Airbnb has reached a series of innovative and very promising partnerships with countries in the Caribbean, especially the recent signing of an agreement with the Caribbean Tourism Organization, which sets a great environment for boosting tourism in the region.

“We are proud to partner with Grenada and help create genuine experiences for travelers and new economic opportunities for Grenadians while highlighting local culture and heritage,” said Shawn Sullivan, Airbnb’s Public Policy lead for Central America and the Caribbean.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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CTO Signs MOU With The Travel Foundation During Caribbean Week NY

NEW YORK, NY (June 8, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Travel Foundation (TF) to formally establish a framework of cooperation and facilitate collaboration between the organizations in areas of common interest to contribute to sustainable tourism development in the Caribbean Region. The MOU was signed by CTO secretary general Hugh Riley and Salli Felton, TF chief executive officer on Thursday, June 8, during a CTO press conference held during Caribbean Week New York.

TF, the international charity that works with destinations and leading organizations to improve the impacts of tourism on people and the environment, and CTO will facilitate the joint implementation of projects and publications, the organization of workshops, seminars, meetings, conferences, and other initiatives on matters of common interest. The two organizations will support and participate in each other’s relevant projects and activities.

“The Caribbean Tourism Organization is pleased to align our sustainability and environmental advocacy efforts with the Travel Foundation and come together during Caribbean Week New York to formally announced our new vested partnership,” Mr. Riley said

“To further our ongoing work in the Caribbean, we are pleased to partner with CTO to facilitate future tourism development which promotes thriving communities and a healthy environment,” added Ms. Felton.

This agreement follows the recent announcement of CTO and TF’s launch of a free online sustainable tourism course for ministries, government departments, tourism authorities and tourist boards engaged in destination management in CTO member countries. The course is designed to help increase knowledge of how to review and plan for the sustainable development of Caribbean tourist destinations.

Benchmarked with good practice case studies, the course will sharpen participants’ ability to plan the development of their local tourism industry in a way that meets the needs of both visitors and host communities, creates a more resilient economy, protects tourism assets and secures the future tourism potential of Caribbean destinations. To register for the free online course, please click on the following link: travelfoundationtraining.com/caribbean.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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CTO Honors Excellence in Travel Journalism at Media Awards Ceremony at Caribbean Week NY

NEW YORK, NY (June 8, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has crowned the winners in its annual Caribbean Media Awards competition and recognized journalists at the Caribbean Tourism Industry Awards Luncheon on Thursday, June 8, 2017, at the Wyndham New Yorker.

During the awards luncheon, sponsored by Jamaica, CTO’s secretary general Hugh Riley presented the awards to a packed audience of Tourism Ministers and other dignitaries from the Caribbean, industry executives and other well regarded journalists. The new CTO chairman Dionisio D’Aguilar presented the best of the best award to Kim Connaghan, publisher of National Geographic Traveler, who accepted on behalf of Eric Felton. Local NBC news personality Dave Price hosted the Luncheon.

The 2017 Caribbean Media Awards winners for each category are:

“VIRTUAL VISITOR AWARD”

Best Online Feature – USA

Author Name:           Eric Felten, NationalGeographic.com
Article Title:               Hear the Song of Trinidad

“ME TOO!…I REDISCOVERED HOME”

Best Feature by a Diaspora Journalist in US or Caribbean Media

Author Name:           Melissa Noel, NBC News
Article Title:               Guyana Jubilee: Celebrating 50 Years of Independence

“I COULDN’T HAVE WRITTEN IT BETTER MYSELF”

Best Feature Article in a Consumer Newspaper – USA

Author Name:           Moira McCarty, The Boston Herald
Article Title:               Martinique Getaway Made Easier By Direct Flights

“BEEN THERE, WROTE THAT”

Best Feature Article in a US-based Consumer Magazine

Author Name:   Delano Lavigne, Outpost Travel Guise
Article Title:       DOMINICA Oh, Waitukubuli

 “NO ANANSI STORY!”

Best Feature by a Caribbean Journalist

Author Name:           Tosheena Robinson-Blair, Bahamas Handbook
Article Title:              The Life and Times of a Master Hotelier (Bahamas hotelier)

 “OH SNAP!”

Best Photograph in Conjunction with a Feature Article – USA

Photographer:           Reinhard Dirscherl, Sport Diver
Article Title:               Treasure Island: Scuba Diving in Dominica

“NOT LOST IN TRANSLATION”

Best Feature by a US Journalist that appeared in Foreign Media

Author Name:    Julie Masis, Times of Israel
Article Title:       In Jamaica, a Once-In-A-Lifetime Reunion for Jews Who Weathered WWII in an Island Camp

“INNER CIRCLE KING/QUEEN”

Best Feature Article in a Trade Publication – USA

Author Name:           Ed Wetschler, Recommend
Article Title:               Trending Now in the Caribbean

“GOLDEN MIC”

Best Feature Broadcast – USA

Author Name:             Tonya Fitzpatrick, World Footprints Media
Broadcast Name:       Magical Martinique: The Island of Flowers

“FROM INFINITY…AND ABROAD!”

Best Feature by a foreign Journalist that appeared in US Media

Author Name:           Eric Vohr, Dallas News
Article Title:               Discover the Magical Rainforests of this Caribbean Island

“OH MY WORD, I BLOGGED!”

Best Caribbean Travel Blog Posting

Author Name:           Gabrielle Agostini, The Trini Traveller
Article Title:               Trinidad & Tobago Carnival Guide

In addition to Best Online Feature – USA, Eric Felton was presented the Best of the Best award for his NationalGeographic.com feature Hear the Song of Trinidad.

The Caribbean Week New York Media Awards are judged by a team of public relations and journalism experts.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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Links to photos of Caribbean Week 2017

Caribbean Week New York 2017 photographs:

Celebrity Chef Demonstration at Bloomingdales: https://goo.gl/photos/xUDPPsbv4tnYGaqG6

Church Service at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church : https://goo.gl/photos/qxTZcUuw7ZGLUzNN9

Disaspora Forum: https://goo.gl/photos/VcUJUD9GrohVbWv36

Tourism Industry Workshop: https://goo.gl/photos/LeMMVLMm6CZZKoih7

Think Tank: CTO 5 Year Strategic Planning Session: https://goo.gl/photos/QdjjtNxp3kkJwfLh6

Executive Committee Meeting & Travel Agents Trade Show: https://goo.gl/photos/MtN6RWy2ckPYC7kn6

Cocktail Reception for Government Officials & Empire State Building Lighting: https://goo.gl/photos/gEoUnBc11orw5eif8

Board of Directors Meeting: https://goo.gl/photos/c9CJSy8s9uj75caD7

Students Colloquium: https://goo.gl/photos/SGE2Z6VjkBbUZKkF8

Caribbean Tourism Marketing Conference: https://goo.gl/photos/tUw4Q3nZPM8yHchb9

Caribbean Tourism Awards Industry Luncheon: https://goo.gl/photos/rRviH8fWAk2qKHHj9

Press Conference: https://goo.gl/photos/TjxbKxVjNDY3wjfF9

Media Marketplace & Interviews: https://goo.gl/photos/myHpYCBYYpb42eHP9

Rum Rumble Final Mixologist Competition: https://goo.gl/photos/gcMfWN1qtabD9SAs9

Rum & Rhythm:  https://goo.gl/photos/TWZcd44pu7ymsemK8

 

 

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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Remarks by Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar Chairman, CTO- Caribbean Week News Conference

This has been thus far a fantastic Caribbean Week, with renewed energy and purpose  among our ministers, directors, tourism officials and everyone involved.

For the first time ever we presented Caribbean culture and heritage in a very practical manner at our Diaspora Forum, which itself returned to Brooklyn after many years.

Truly dynamic performances by La Troupe Zetwal of Haiti and Danza Fiesta of Puerto Rico were a demonstration of our truly rich and diverse culture.

As always, the Students Colloquium was a highlight of the Week. Our congratulations to Monroe College for emerging winners among a group of very impressive students.

We were delighted to host former Congressman, Charles Rangel on Tuesday night, during which he was presented with an award by the Caribbean Community Caucus of Ambassadors in appreciation of his longstanding work in advancing US-Caribbean relations during his 46 years in Congress.

Yesterday, I chaired my first CTO Council of Ministers and Commissioners meeting in what was truly an enriching experience. The passion for CTO and the Caribbean that was so evident at the meeting was extremely encouraging and bodes well for the organization and regional tourism.

The Council of Ministers and Commissioners endorsed a joint CTO/CHTA collaboration to put together for the consideration of Caribbean Community heads of government, a framework for the development of a Caribbean public-private sector tourism marketing and development initiative.

The ministers also strongly supported the development of a five-year strategic plan for the organization, a process that has already begun.

We agreed to continue a process to determine whether or not to expand the CTO membership to countries outside the traditional Caribbean region, but washed by the Caribbean Sea, and which seek membership in the organization.

The ministers also strongly endorsed Jamaica’s hosting of the UNWTO, Government of Jamaica and World Bank Group Conference on Jobs & Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, November 27-29, 2017.

Now, a brief word on the region’s performance so far this year.

In the first quarter of 2017, destinations around the region received 8.7 million international tourist arrivals. This is 150 thousand more than in the same period of 2016, a 1.8 per cent increase.

The grouping which we refer to as other Caribbean destinations – Cancun, Cozumel, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Suriname -led growth across the sub-regions, with international tourist arrivals up 6.3 per cent as of the end of March.

Of the remaining sub-regions, the French Caribbean was the only other to record an increase in international trips. Within the other groupings, visitor arrivals fell by 1.3 per cent.

After an uncharacteristically weak performance in 2016, the Canadian market has rebounded in 2017 to post the highest growth rate of 4.8 per cent in the first quarter.

Europe was up 2.9 per cent and the United States 1.3 per cent.

However, data compiled by STR Global Ltd (STR) for the first quarter indicated that the hotel industry continued to struggle. While the number of available rooms increased by 1.1 per cent, room revenue, average daily rates and revenue per available rooms all fell.

In the first three months, cruise passenger arrivals increased by an estimated 4.5 per cent compared to the same period of last year. This performance translated to approximately 10 million cruise passengers arriving in Caribbean destinations.

Let me also take the opportunity to congratulate those of you in the media who won awards today. Thanks to all of you for all you do to promote the Caribbean.

Congratulations also to our Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Patrick Baucelin of Martinique. A true Caribbean soldier.

I also wish to thank the CTO staff for working so hard to make Caribbean Week a success.

Thanks

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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