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Archive for February, 2018

2018 Off to a Record-Breaking Start for Arrivals into the Cayman Islands

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands (13 February 2018) Following 2017’s record-breaking year for air and cruise arrivals into the Cayman Islands, arrivals for 2018 are off to a record-breaking start. A total of 39,185 stayover visitors were recorded for the month of January, an increase of 23.87 percent over 2017. This represents the best January in recorded arrivals history and is the eighth consecutive month (June 2017 through January 2018) that the Cayman Islands has had record-breaking growth. The 23.87 percent growth is the highest percent growth increase for a January in 12 years and is 13.9 percent higher than January 2015, the previous highest January in recorded history.

January figures can be attributed to growth predominantly in key markets such as the United States, which saw increases in all regions. Of significant note, the West Coast saw the highest growth recording  63 percent increase over 2017. The Southwest recorded 1,270 additional stayover visitors, or 46.98 percent increase over 2017; while the Midwest region recorded 1,770 additional stayover visitors, or 27.40 percent increase over 2017. Canada also recorded growth of 13.47 percent growth over January 2017. This represents the best January in recorded history for Canada with a total of 3,353 stayover visitors. Efforts to tap into the Latin American market continue to be fruitful as both South America and Central America increased by 25 and 35 percent respectively. A total of 218,430 cruise passengers visited the Cayman Islands in January, an increase of 20 percent over January 2017.

Sustained growth is expected in the coming months as residents and guests alike prepare to celebrate the island’s colourful and spirited national carnival Batabano, as well as CayMas and Braccanal. The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism has launched its Summer Only in Cayman promotion, which this year seeks to leverage Cayman’s position as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean. The promotion invites families to savour the endless array of cuisines available on-island by an impressive roster of local chefs and includes curated epicurean experiences for even the youngest of authentic culinary seekers. With accommodation partners offering a fourth-night free, the Department of Tourism is poised to support this robust promotion through strategic, multi-media marketing across the United States.

“Continued increases in visitation are evidence that the state of our tourism industry is strong,” commented Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism, The Honourable Moses Kirkconnell. “I am optimistic that if we continue this path, 2018 will be another record-breaking year for arrivals and that the Cayman Islands will benefit from economic growth that all can be proud of. I applaud the Department of Tourism and all tourism partners for their continued contributions to this vibrant industry.”

To learn more about our Summer Only in Cayman offers, please visit www.caymanislands.ky/onlyincayman.

For more information and detailed arrival statistics, please visit the website www.caymanislands.ky/statistics.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Saint Lucia Tourism Authority Selects New Trade Sales Manager

(TORONTO, ON) – The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Rod Hanna as Trade Sales Manager.

Hanna will work closely with the trade as part of a leading, national strategy to increase travel agent engagement, to reach Canadians seeking unique and exotic island experiences.

Hanna has over ten years experience in the industry, most recently working with the Sunwing Travel Group where he held the position of Marketing Coordinator, before being promoted to Business Development Manager. Prior to that, Hanna held positions at Sell Off Vacations and Loyalty One, working closely with clients to book all their travel needs.

Hanna brings a wealth of knowledge to the position with a firm understanding of the Canadian travel industry, including hands-on experience in custom trip planning and maintaining excellent relations with tour operators and travel agents.

Hanna will be based in Toronto working out of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority Canadian office.  Hanna can be reached by email at [email protected] or by telephone at (416) 801-6184.

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

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Anguilla Tourist Board Announces The Appointment Of New Marketing Personnel

The Valley, Anguilla, February 8, 2018……The Anguilla Tourist Board (ATB) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Colwayne Pickering to the position of Marketing Officer, and Mr. Jameel Rochester to the position of Assistant Manager, Destination Experience. Both appintments are effective February 1st, 2018, and the positions are based at the head office.

Mr. Pickering will assist in leading the development of an Island-headquartered marketing department. This includes designing and executing new and digitally-focused marketing strategies and plans, supporting international marketing efforts, and developing partnerships to enhance and increase tourism arrivals.

Colwayne Pickering, Marketing Officer (left)Jameel Rochester, Assistant Manager, Destination Experience (right)

He is tasked with assisting in the creation and execution of strategic marketing plans to promote awareness for the island, and will oversee and direct the marketing efforts of the international representatives in North America, the U.K., Latin America, Germany, and Italy. He will also assist in expanding Anguilla’s destination presence through consumer and travel trade programmes, including digital, social, and public relations.

Prior to joining the Anguilla Tourist Board, Mr. Pickering served as General Manager (Cable and Broadband) Operations of Wireless Ventures (Digicel) Anguilla Ltd., where he managed million dollar budgets and targets and supervised a team in excess of 50 staff members. He successfully developed both sales and operational growth strategies, with a focus on driving significant increases to both customer numbers and revenue, while keeping the operational expenses in check.

“I have a strong background and experience in excess of 10 years directly relating to marketing and promotions, coupled with operational and people management. I am confident that I will be an excellent asset to the organisation, with a full appreciation for time management and the ability to work autonomously and under pressure in achieving required objectives,” said Mr. Pickering.

A Jazz Aficionado and avid traveller, Mr. Pickering holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management Studies from the University of the West Indies.

Mr. Rochester will be responsible for assisting in the development, promotion, and management of the on-island experience, which includes engaging with stakeholders in relation to all elements of Anguilla’s Tourism Product.

The key duties of his post include, but are not limited to, participating in the development and implementation of Anguilla’s destination development strategy; assisting in managing Public and Private Sector Relations; organising and promoting internal and external training in the elements of hospitality; and assisting in coordinating and facilitating community outreach programmes to highlight the role of communities in creating the visitor experience.

Prior to joining the Anguilla Tourist Board’s team, Mr. Rochester held the position of Resort Assistant Manager at the Four Seasons Resort & Residences Anguilla, where he performed a variety of service-related functions. He previously held the position of Executive Assistant at Zemi Beach House Hotel & Spa, where he assisted the General Manager.  Mr. Rochester has also held many leadership positions in the Hospitality and Finance Industry.

“With my practical experience combined with my educational studies, I am confident that I can and will become an invaluable asset to the Anguilla Tourist Board,” said Mr. Rochester. “My long-term career goal is to continue to learn and develop my skills and abilities within the hospitality industry, whilst utilising my experience, knowledge, and skills to the benefit of the organisation.”

Mr. Rochester holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in General Management Studies from the University of the West Indies and is currently pursuing a  Master of Science Degree in General Management Studies from the University of the West Indies. He also holds certificates in Lodging and Hospitality Management, Hospitality and Tourism Management in the Caribbean and Social Media Marketing.

For more information on Anguilla please visit the official website of the Anguilla Tourist Board: www.IvisitAnguilla.com; follow us on Facebook: Facebook.com/AnguillaOfficial; Instagram: @Anguilla_Tourism; Twitter: @Anguilla_Trsm, Hashtag: #MyAnguilla.

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12 Fun-Filled Events In Sunny Antigua And Barbuda For 2018

(St. John’s, Antigua) – Known for its 365-beaches Antigua and Barbuda is a favorite Caribbean destination for year-round events and festivals. There are a variety of gatherings for all ages and interests in 2018 as the destination will host an exciting lineup of sporting events, festivals and cultural gatherings all under the postcard-worthy Antigua sunshine.

“Antigua is truly ready for discovery as our island is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, fascinating cricket action, the Caribbean’s most dedicated sailing community and the list goes on and on,” shares Colin C. James, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority. “In 2018, I look forward to visitors celebrating and taking part in our many events and festivals that showcase Antigua and all we have to offer each guests’ interests.”

Below is an overview of events in Antigua for 2018:

Super50 Cricket Festival – January 30 – February 24, 2018
The premier 50 overs cricket tournament in the Caribbean features a party atmosphere, local cuisine and some of the hottest cricket action in the West Indies. This vibrant celebration of the most popular sport in Antigua will showcase some the most exciting aspect of West Indian culture and entertainment.

Superyacht Challenge Antigua at Falmouth Harbor – January 31- February 4, 2018
Yachts in excess of 80 feet are invited to participate in this exciting, friendly challenge held at the end of January. The beautiful setting of Nelson’s Dockyard is the perfect place to center social activities and moor up all the yachts together and it provides the perfect environment for enjoying the Caribbean hospitality and the famous Superyacht Challenge parties. http://sycav1.blogspot.com/

The Rohrman Triathlon – February 17, 2018
The Rohrman Triathlon is a modern-day race dedicated to the original spirit of the sport where competitors of all levels come together in a close-knit friendly atmosphere to participate in the inspirational challenge. This year, past Olympians will join the competition which has become one of the top triathlons in the Caribbean.  https://rohrmanantigua.com/

Antigua and Barbuda International Kite Festival – April 2, 2018
This festival will see the skies filled with colorful and home-made kites, as the young and the young at heart participate in this Easter Monday tradition. Held at the peak of the windy season, hundreds of kite-flyers converge at the Devil’s Bridge national park for this great family-friendly festival.

Antigua Sailing Week – April 28 – May 4, 2018
The ‘Sailing Capital of the Caribbean’, Antigua hosts one of the most prestigious sailing regattas in the world.  Attracting over 100 yachts yearly, Antigua Sailing Week consists of five days of competitive racing off the rugged south coast of Antigua plus an optional day of racing around the island. This flagship event with a history of over 50 years takes place in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Nelson’s Dockyard and surrounding areas. https://www.sailingweek.com/enter-2018/

Antigua and Barbuda Sport Fishing Tournament – May 19 – 20, 2018
Sports-fishing enthusiasts and seafood lovers will enjoy the exciting tournament, departing from historic Nelson’s Dockyard, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The atmosphere makes this event a perfect day out for family and friends. www.antiguabarbudasportsfishing.com

Run in Paradise – May 27, 2018
Runners from around the world will descend on the third annual Run in Paradise, offering one of the most scenic courses in the world. Distances of a Half Marathon, 10k and 5k Run/Walk offer something for all skill levels and family fans are encouraged to cheer on competitors and stay for the fun as the race concludes at the historic Fort James beach.  http://runinparadise.com/

Antigua and Barbuda Mango Culinary Competition – June 29, 2018 – July 1, 2018
Professional chefs are tested as they are asked to create savory dishes and desserts using a variety of mangoes from Christian Valley and the famous ‘Antigua Black’ Pineapples from Cades Bay.  The competition is open to the public, and visitors to the Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute, are able to watch the chefs as they create their culinary showpieces live, on screens set-up in a nearby room.

Antigua Mango Festival – July 8 – 9, 2018
Held at the Botanical Gardens, the main aim of the Mango Festival is to promote the utilization of mangoes and other fruits as well as to support the rejuvenation of the station.  https://www.facebook.com/events/734862810011490/

Antigua Carnival – July 27 – August 7, 2018
For a cultural explosion, called by many the Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival, Antigua’s Carnival provides a colorful insight into the culture of the country. This energetic festival intensifies as Carnival Monday and Tuesday approach with party lovers embracing the lively music and costumed parades throughout the day and night. www.antiguacarnival.com

Antigua and Barbuda Independence Food Fair – November 1, 2018
The largest food fair in Antigua and Barbuda, takes place during the country’s Annual Independence Celebrations on November 1.  Food vendors from around Antigua and Barbuda, set-up colorful stalls decked with national flags on the outer grounds of the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, and ready themselves to greet persons attending the Independence Ceremonial Parade in the stadium.  Food-lovers spend their entire day at the event, as vendors serve up local delicacies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Popular selections include the country’s national dishes – a savoury tomato-based salt-fish and sweet ‘ducana’ (a blend of sweet potato and coconut) or fungee (cornmeal based) and pepperpot, (with spinach, eggplant and okra) a plethora of seafood from sister-island Barbuda and treats such as coconut sugar cakes, tamarind stews, fudges and old-fashioned ice-cream.

Antigua and Barbuda Independence Day – November 1, 2018
Visitors are invited to don the national colors and join Antiguans and Barbudans for amazing displays of national pride and heritage during the Independence Celebrations. For the 37th anniversary of Antiguan independence, visitors and locals alike will enjoy a week of festivities which include performances by choirs, theatrical presentations, fashion shows, steel pan competitions, and ceremonial parades.

Antigua and Barbuda’s 2018 Destination Events Calendar is available for viewing here: http://www.visitantiguabarbuda.com/calendar/

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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BVI Tourist Board Launches Promotion to Encourage Overnight Stays on Anegada

February 8, 2018 — Nearly six months after mighty Hurricane Irma tore through the British Virgin Islands, the idyllic destination has made significant progress in restoring its celebrated tourism product. And of course, the best way for travelers to boost recovery efforts is to simply book a trip.

The BVI Tourist Board is excited to launch a special promotion encouraging overnight stays on the beautiful island of Anegada. This tiny paradise was largely spared by the storm, providing visitors a chance to experience its untouched natural beauty and allure.

Now through Feb. 28, guests can book a four-night stay at select properties for the price of three. The offer is valid for stays between Feb. 15 and April 15, 2018 – perfect for spring getaways – by using promo code ANGW18. Visit www.bvitourism.com/i-love-anegada for more information.

There are three properties currently participating with additional partners being added to the promotion in the coming days.

Travelers can book stays at:

  • Anegada Beach Club
    • As of Feb. 1, Anegada Beach Club is back in business! Rates at this famed glamping destination start at $340 for a surfside luxury beach tent, or as low as $225 for a standard king or twin room. Plus, enjoy kitesurfing or paddleboard rentals/lessons with Tommy Gaunt Kitesurfing.
  • Four Diamonds Park Villas
    • With modern, renovated villas that can accommodate up to five guests each, Four Diamonds offers a luxury experience (including access to Anegada’s gorgeous flamingo pond!) starting at $429 per villa per night.
  • Anegada Reef Hotel
    • The 17 charming units at Anegada Reef Hotel are available for as low as $150 per night for a garden view room, or $190 for oceanview.

Additionally, Air America is offering discounted rates on charter flights from Puerto Rico to Anegada. As one of the leading charter companies licensed to fly direct to Anegada, the airline will honor its promotional rates through the remainder of 2018. For one-way flights, a 5-passenger plane is available starting at $1,260 while the 9-passenger plane costs $1,665. Click here to make a reservation.

For those who arrive in Tortola or Virgin Gorda, the Tourist Board will provide a $50 credit per guest on roundtrip transfers to Anegada by ferry or air. This offer is valid for visitors who book a stay using the promo code at any participating property.

Once on Anegada, visitors can spend their days lounging at Loblolly Beach, snorkeling above the spectacular reefs, or watching the island’s beloved pink flamingos. Restaurants like Cow Wreck and Big Bamboo are open for business as well.

About the British Virgin Islands

A treasured destination rich in undiscovered experiences, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is an alluring archipelago comprising 60 islands and cays located 80 kilometers (60 miles) east of Puerto Rico, in the northwestern region of the Caribbean Sea. The main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke have attracted global travelers with their cultural Caribbean authenticity. Road Town, located on Tortola, is the BVI’s capital.

Ranked #1 Best Place to Visit in the Caribbean for 2017-2018 by U.S. News, the BVI is where nature’s best secrets are kept with an abundance of pristine beaches, azure seas, towering sage mountains and burnt-orange sunsets. The sailing capital of the Caribbean, the BVI is also home to the some of the world’s most renowned diving and snorkeling sites. The destination’s vast topography provides unique opportunities for hiking, outdoor adventure and sustainable tourism.

Whether you choose to explore by ferry or chartered yacht, must-see BVI attractions include The Baths on Virgin Gorda, the Wreck of the Rhone off the coast of Salt Island, The Caves off the coast of Norman Island, the flamingos on Anegada, White Bay Beach on Jost Van Dyke, and Sage Mountain on Tortola.

Despite its status as a United Kingdom territory, the BVI uses the U.S. dollar as its official currency. The BVI Tourist Board invites everyone to experience the country’s tropical mystique and enriching offerings. For more information, visit www.bvitourism.com.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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Celebrating the Flavors of Barbados in Year of Culinary Experiences

Fresh fish grilled under the open night sky, perfectly paired with the world’s oldest rum are just two of the authentic Bajan experiences that will be touted around the world as the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) brands 2018 the Year of Culinary Experiences. Keeping with tourism trends and targeting the ever-growing movement of foodie travellers, the company’s marketing efforts will be focused on tantalizing the taste buds with the diverse assortment of unique Bajan flavours.

Innovative marketing

CEO of the BTMI, William ‘Billy’ Griffith, shared the rationale behind the strategic move. “On the surface, naming 2018 the Year of Culinary Experiences sounds light and fun – tasty even, but it’s also a very intentional marketing tactic we’ve conceptualized to really hone in on the differentiating factors of brand Barbados. Everyone understands the competitive nature of the current business environment and in response to that, Barbados’ unique selling propositions are what continue to drive the BTMI’s marketing efforts year after year.”

“We successfully grew interest in destination Barbados with the Year of Sports in 2017; we saw several journalists and visitors eager to travel here to experience this phenomenon we’d generated by simply packaging those elements of Barbados we already have, and do well, in a fun and exciting way,” Griffith added. “So, when we looked to 2018, we once again thought about those unique experiences our island has to offer, experiences that boast both quality and longevity. We were all in agreement on this and I’m happy to say that the revered culinary landscape of Barbados will be heavily integrated into our marketing and PR efforts in all of our source markets this year.”

The calendar for the Year of Culinary Experiences aptly reflects the breadth of gastronomic fare available in Barbados. It comprises opportunities to partake of everything from the most famous ham cutters to the best seafood on island, but even beyond the food are festivals and other cultural events that one simply cannot separate from the true Bajan experience.

Kick off with the Barbados Sugar and Rum Season

Officially launched last year, the Barbados Sugar and Rum Season was conceptualized by the BTMI’s sister company, the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA), and was inspired by the time-honoured tradition of the King and Queen of the crop. From January through March, this season will provide a memorable tribute to Barbados’ world-renowned indigenous spirit and its rich history built on centuries of sugar production, through a series of events steeped in Bajan history. Tours of well-known distilleries and Great Houses, mixology road shows, dinners and educational lectures, are only some of the many events to look forward to in this homage to Barbados’ yesteryears.

Oistins Fish Festival

Over the years, Oistins has become a culinary and cultural fusion of flavours enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. The annual fish festival, held over Easter weekend, will be one of the highlights of Barbados’ culinary calendar. Fresh fish and other delicacies, grilled and drizzled with the unique tastes of Barbados are a must for any food-lover. Plus, this year’s new and improved festival promises to bring even more zest to the open-air spectacle.

The Barbados Food and Rum Festival

It’s the Year of Culinary Experiences and the BTMI’s signature event, the Barbados Food and Rum Festival, is the perfect anchor. Once again, they will bring together some of the best local, regional and international chef and mixology talent for a unique festival of flavour. Local foods and the island’s famous spirit – rum, will be the highlight of this period of festivities, coupled with beach parties and other exciting cultural experiences that mark the annual festival.

Authentic eats

At the heart of the Year of Culinary Experiences is highlighting the delectable gems found in this gastronomical wonderland. Traditional dishes such as flying fish and cou cou, roasted breadfruit bowls and Saturday morning pudding and souse will all be on display. Internationally acclaimed local eateries such as Cuz’s Fish Shack on Pebbles Beach are the authentic Bajan experiences everyone comes to enjoy that inspired the Year of Culinary Experiences. 

Dine around

In addition to the matchless authentic eats found across the island, what makes Barbados’ culinary landscape so special is the diversity of gastronomic fare found in its 166 square miles. From the West Coast to the South Coast, from Italian to American, there is something for every palate. To help diners manoeuvre the vast terrain, the BTMI will also be promoting the re-DISCOVER programme, which offers attractive specials at participating restaurants throughout the year.

New dining experiences

What does an island with numerous savoury dining experiences love? More. New additions to the culinary landscape are widely celebrated, and of note are two new restaurants, both located in the quaint historic village of Speightstown. Hugo’s Barbados opened its doors in late 2017. The contemporary turquoise-themed, beach inspired restaurant offers spectacular views and international cuisine. Not far away, The Top Deck by acclaimed local chef Jason Howard, is scheduled to open on Valentine’s night. Overlooking the calm West Coast waters, The Top Deck promises fresh, authentic Caribbean cuisine, featuring the best in local produce.

Eat of the best

It goes without saying that an island abundant in illustrious watering holes would be brimming with talented culinary artists. Barbadian chefs and mixologists such as Dameain Williams, Jamaal Bowen, Willis Griffith and Damian Leach have travelled around the world, amassing awards and accolades for their flair and finesse in the kitchen or behind the bar. Several of these artisans will be featured at the Barbados Food and Rum Festival, and the Art of Cuisine, but can also be found plying their trade at establishments across the island.

Beach and Wellness Festival

Under the umbrella of the foodie movement, the BTMI will also cater to those health food enthusiasts with the second installation of the Barbados Beach and Wellness Festival. After a successful inaugural festival in 2017, this year’s event will be even bigger and more diverse. The food stalls will feature a variety of authentic and interesting delicacies perfect for those discerning foodies.

The calendar will continue to be updated on a rolling basis, so for more on the Year of Culinary Experiences visit www.visitbarbados.org.

About Barbados

The island of Barbados offers the most authentic Caribbean experience with its exceptionally rich culture and history rooted in remarkable landscapes.  Rated as one of the world’s sexiest beaches in 2008 by Concierge.com; Barbados’ Crane Beach in St. Philip stands as a premier destination for travelers.  Barbados is also the first Zagat-rated Caribbean island and is known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean. Barbados has hosted several world class events including: The annual Barbados Food & Rum Festival; the 2006 PGA World Golf Championships-Barbados World Cup, the ICC Cricket World Cup Finals in 2007, the Sentebale Charity Polo match with Prince Harry of Wales in 2010, and the ICC Twenty20 Cricket Finals for 2010, and the Rihanna LOUD concert in 2012. Accommodations range from picturesque plantation houses and villas, to quaint bed and breakfasts and award-winning, five-star resorts. Grantley Adams International Airport offers even more non-stop and direct service from a growing number of U.S. cities, making Barbados the true gateway to the Eastern Caribbean.  Barbados was voted eighth in the World by Trip Advisor’s “2008 Travelers’ Choice Destination Awards” in its Top 100 Destinations category.  For more information on travel to Barbados, visit www.visitbarbados.org, follow on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/VisitBarbados, via Twitter @Barbados.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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