CTO News

Archive for 2011 News

CTO Travel Media Awards Recognise Excellence in Canadian Travel Journalism

Toronto, ON (December 8, 2011) – Canada’s top travel journalists were honoured by the international agency responsible for the development of Caribbean tourism, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) at its fifth annual Caribbean Media Awards event on December 8th, as part of the week-long Caribbean Week in Toronto celebrations.

“The Caribbean continues to be a popular destination with Canadians, known for its friendly locals, sun-kissed beaches and endless activities,” said Sylma Brown Bramble, the CTO’s director of marketing for the Americas.  “The winners today were recognized for their contributions to Caribbean storytelling, as their articles evoked and brought to life highlights of the Caribbean to their readers.”

The full list of CTO’s 2011 Toronto Caribbean Media Awards winners:

* Best Feature Article in a Consumer Newspaper – Mark Stevens
“New England Architecture Meets Caribbean Color” in Toronto Star

* Best Feature Article in a Consumer Magazine – Kailash Maharaj
“Paradise Found” in City Style & Living

* Best Feature Article in a Trade Publication – Gregory B. Gallagher
“A Diver’s Dream” in Ensemble Vacations

* Best Photograph in Conjunction with a Feature Article – Theresa Storm
“Where Mother Nature still reigns supreme” in Calgary Herald

* Best Online Article – Diane Slawych
“Get Close to Nature in St. Kitts” in Canoe.ca

* Best International Feature (Print or Broadcast) – Mark Stevens
“On Antigua Everyone Comes to Party” in Washington Post

* Best of Show – Kailash Maharaj
“Paradise Found” in City Style & Living

The panel of judges of the 2011 Caribbean Media Awards included Dr. Rita Cox, a renowned storyteller and multi-cultural educator; Lillian Allen, writer and Juno award winner, who teaches creative writing; Dr. Camille Hernández-Ramdwar, a sociology professor at Ryerson University who specializes in Caribbean studies; and Johnson JohnRose, communications specialist for the CTO.

Posted in: 2011 News, Blog, Media Awards

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CTO Statement on Reform of the UK Air Passenger Duty

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 6 December, 2011 – The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) is deeply disappointed and surprised by the UK Government’s announcement on 6 December that it will continue to discriminate against the Caribbean in relation to the banding aspect of the Air Passenger Duty (APD) system.

In a 26-page document published today, the British government said that APD rates to Caribbean destinations will continue to be considerably higher than those to some competitor destinations. Furthermore, the fact that Premium Economy passengers will continue to be charged the same APD as First Class passengers is a blow for those customers wanting to upgrade

Over a period of three years, the Caribbean and its community in the UK have consistently sought to raise the issue of APD at all levels of the British government and with the UK parliament.

Minister Ricky Skerritt, Chairman of the CTO said: “Today’s announcement on the APD is a slap in the face for all Caribbean people. It dismisses all of the research and information CTO has provided to the British Government over the past three years, and it contradicts the message sent by the UK Chancellor, George Osborne MP, in March 2011 when he cited the discrepancy between the USA and Caribbean APD rates as one of the reasons for holding a consultation on reform of UK APD. The Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region of the world and the British Government’s decision totally ignores the negative effect that APD is having on our economies and the Caribbean’s business partners in the UK travel industry.”

Caribbean Prime Ministers, Ministers of Tourism, the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the Caribbean Diaspora in the UK, including the High Commissioners, have consistently raised the issue of Air Passenger Duty with the UK Government and UK Parliament our concern about the negative effect that APD is having on the tourism dependent economies of the Caribbean and on the Caribbean community living in the United Kingdom.

The Caribbean understands the challenge faced by the UK in respect of revenue raising,
and has put forward constructive suggestions on how the UK can benefit from an Air Passenger Duty tax in a non discriminatory way. The Caribbean does not believe that APD should be imposed at the expense of the Caribbean economy or its community in the UK.

The Caribbean made a formal response to the Air Passenger Duty consultation in June. In summary this made clear that:

• We require parity in banding with the US.

• A move to a two band system would address the Caribbean’s requirement if this resulted in equal treatment of all long haul destinations.

• No other option set out in the consultation addresses the concerns of the Caribbean.

• APD has become a political issue with the Caribbean Diaspora in the UK.

Posted in: 2011 News, APD, Blog

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Inaugural State of the Industry Conference to Concentrate on Beating Global Recession

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (20 July, 2011) – Policymakers, executives and other practitioners in the tourism industry will explore ways to beat the global recession, when they meet in St. Martin in September for the first ever Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) State of the Industry Conference.

The CTO – which organizes the conference in collaboration with the St. Martin Tourist Office – has announced that discussion on this issue will revolve around a theme that demonstrates the Caribbean’s determination to overcome the current challenges and to develop solutions to some of the most urgent issues facing the tourism industry in the Caribbean. The CTO has chosen as the conference theme: How to Win in a Competitive Environment.

For two full days – 16 & 17 September – tourism officials from the public and private sectors, led by a variety of experts, will tackle a number of critical issues including overcoming the hurdles to intra-regional travel, how to use limited resources to the greatest advantage, how to influence the affluent traveller, and being truly competitive.  The new CEO of British Airways will also present a world view of the state of the industry.

“The state of the industry is not only about challenge, it’s also about opportunity,” said Hugh Riley, secretary general of the CTO, the region’s tourism development agency representing over 30 Caribbean countries. “Therefore, we want to come out of this conference with some answers as to what’s next, how to spot the opportunities to move forward, how to beat this recession. The tourism business is fiercely competitive and the Caribbean has to win.”

The inaugural State of the Industry Conference is the CTO’s industry convocation of Caribbean tourism practitioners and strategic partners. It builds on the success of the Leadership Strategy Conference held in Barbados last year, and satisfies a need felt among the membership, including travel agent partners, for such a gathering, annually.

The general conference sessions will be preceded by a series of meetings on 14 & 15 September involving ministers, commissioners and directors of tourism, as well as private sector tourism partners. The conference headquarters hotel is Le Domaine on French St. Martin.

St. Martin

The tiny French-Dutch island of Saint-Martin, covering about 88 square kilometers (33.98 square miles) is nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. It is the smallest island in the world ever to have been partitioned between two different nations; St. Martin (French) and St. Maarten (Dutch) which have been in a spirit of neighborly cooperation and mutual friendship for almost 350 years.

Much more than a beach-lovers paradise, the island of Saint Martin is teeming with natural, cultural and human riches. Thanks to its climate and untouched natural heritage, the island offers unparalleled year-round watersports and outdoor activities. The capital of duty-free shopping, St Martin is also renowned for its friendly welcome, culinary delights and lively nightlife. Saint Martin has its own unique identity, making it the perfect sunshine getaway.
Come and discover Saint Martin, “The Friendly Island”.

Posted in: 2011 News, Blog, SOTIC

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All-Star Roster of Caribbean Musicians to be featured on CD Compilation

Atlanta, GA & New York, NY – May 3, 2011 – Through a mutually beneficial strategic partnership, the Caribbean Tourism Organization Foundation (CTO) and Ryff Music have teamed up to create the ‘Love the Music’ Compilation CD project. The project features vibrant music that represents the best of the Caribbean culture presented by artist from CTO member countries. The compilation project promotes aspects of Caribbean culture through music & spoken word. The CD will be made available in stores and on-line in June during Caribbean Heritage Month. A series of promotional activities to help promote the CD will take place during Caribbean Week in NY, June 7th –12th. Portions of the proceeds from the CD sales will go to support the CTO Foundation.

The CD includes a respected roster of the Caribbean’s best artist including: Dollarman (Grenada) who is the featured artist on the songs ‘Rock this Party’ and ‘Soundz of Freedom’ both reached # 1 on the Billboard Dance Chart; Singing Melody (Jamaica) whose single ‘Want You Back’, reached 3 and 1 respectively on the New York Reggae Top 30 and the Star Top 40; Kamau Georges (British Virgin Islands) one of the BVI’s most talented artist and producers; KB (Bahamas) one of the Bahamas most popular artist; Dudley (Bermuda) whose song ‘Bermudian Gal’ was a big radio hit and still enjoys radio play on Bermuda’s Hot 107.5’s; Aloe Blacc (Panamanian) whose song ‘I Need a Dollar’ is the theme song for the HBO hit show ‘How to Make it in America’; Lazo (Dominica) won a Juno Award in 2000 for Best Reggae Recording for ‘Heart and Soul’; Fae Simon (Carriacou and Jamaica) the UK’s upcoming artist and several other artist top out the roster of the Caribbean’s best; Giles (Bermuda) whose song ‘Bermudian Gal’ was a big radio hit and still enjoys radio play on Bermuda’s Hot 107.5’s; Adrian Dutchin (Guyana) the number one Soca artist from Guyana. Adrian won the soca monarch three times and the road march twice. He has worked with people such as Jumo Primo of Bryon Lee & The Dragonaires, Peter Ram, Terry Gajraj and the Hit Man. He is one of the lead singers of well known Bajan band Krosfyah and is a member of X2(times two) from Guyana.; Jovi Rockwell (Jamaica) is a singer, songwriter from Kingston, Jamaica. has Collaborated with Bruno Mars, Flo Rida, Mims, Akon and Ne-Yo. She also released a number of singles in Jamaica and the US, singles which includes the Caribbean and European hits “Party On,” “Dance Floor,” featuring dancehall artist Zumjay “All About Love,” “Hey,” with Courtney ‘Yogie’ John and “Need Me” featuring Mr. Vegas.

Producers that contributed to the project include Albert ‘Dvo’ Desilva (Guyana), Herbert Alexander (USVI), Kamau George (BVI), Max Tannone (USA) and several other talented Caribbean musicians.

The project is distributed through Redeye distribution, the leading independent distributor for both physical and digital music around the world. Their retailers in the U.S. include chains such as Best Buy, Borders, f.y.e. and independent stores throughout the country. Redeye also exports records to Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia, and provides a digital distribution service that delivers content to iTunes, eMusic, Rhapsody and many other digital music stores. Redeye currently distributes such labels as Daptone Records, Alive Records, Bella Union Records, Revelation Records and artist such as Widespread Panic, The Donnas, Sun Public Enemy and Au Revoir Simone, to name a few.


The CTO Foundation is a Not-for-Profit Corporation, formed to provide scholarships and study grants to students and industry personnel who are Caribbean nationals, from CTO-member countries, who wish to pursue studies in the areas of tourism/hospitality and language training.  The Foundation supports individuals who demonstrate high levels of academic achievement and leadership potential and who express a strong interest in making a contribution to Caribbean tourism.

Posted in: 2011 News, Blog, Caribbean Week, Scholarship Foundation

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CTO, NTA Ink Partnership Pact

NEW YORK, N.Y.—June 10, 2011 – The National Tourism Association and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) have created a partnership to promote opportunities to tourism businesses in the over 30 member countries of the CTO and give NTA tour operators easier access to Caribbean destinations. The CTO Chairman Senator Ricky Skerritt and Lisa Simon, president of NTA, signed the agreement at a news conference today at the Marriott Marquis in New York City, home of the annual CTO event which celebrates Caribbean tourism and the rich heritage and culture of the region.

“This match creates an important commercial opportunity for CTO members”, said Skerritt. “NTA is an international association focused on travel to, from and within North America, which fits perfectly with the product offerings of CTO members,” he said. “I expect that this partnership agreement will create more North American tourism arrivals for the Caribbean”.

Through their new agreement, NTA and CTO will promote each other’s organization, encourage their members to belong to both organizations and provide educational leadership at each other’s signature conferences. These include CTO’s annual conference and NTA’s two major North American events, Contact and Convention.

Simon also welcomes the agreement between the two groups. “NTA tour operators are familiar with the fantastic Caribbean destinations, and the CTO recognizes the huge potential this represents for their members. This collaboration simply makes it easier for both NTA and the CTO to bring new business opportunities to our members,” she said. “It’s wonderful to join forces officially, bring value to the industry overall and discover ways to connect our members.”

About CTO:

The Caribbean Tourism Organization, with headquarters in Barbados and marketing operations in New York and Toronto, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency and comprises membership of more than 30 governments and a myriad of private sector entities. The CTO’s mission is to provide to and through its members, the services and information needed for the development of sustainable tourism for the economic and social benefit of the Caribbean people. The organization provides specialized support and technical assistance to member countries in the areas of marketing, human resource development, research and information technology, and sustainable development. Visit www.onecaribbean.org for more information.

About NTA:

Now celebrating its 60th year, NTA is the leading association for professionals serving travelers to, from and within North America. Formerly the National Tour Association, the association became NTA when its global membership (more than 40 countries) and focus exceeded its name. Today NTA helps its diverse membership expand market reach with innovative business tools, strategic relationships and collaboration within the industry. For more information, visit www.NTAonline.com.

Posted in: 2011 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Tourism’s Rising Stars Debate Sustainability

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados(June 5, 2011) – The Caribbean’s tourism stars of tomorrow get an opportunity to shine today at one of the most compelling events for Caribbean Week in New York. And one of America’s most powerful motivational speakers will provide the spark.

Caribbean students from several universities in the United States and the Caribbean square off in a Student Colloquium at which they challenge each other on tourism sustainability issues in a free-style presentation format.

Dubbed “A Forum for Rising Stars in Caribbean Tourism,” the colloquium is a contest among the students who will challenge their colleagues to present well-researched sustainable tourism projects that are practical and have the potential to provide a sustainable source of income.

Setting the stage for the contest is motivational speaker Dennis Rahiim Watson, the president and CEO of the Center for Black Student Achievement – an outreach programme designed to offer strategies to black students on how to be successful in life. Mr. Watson, a fiery speaker, was kicked out of high school 37 times. Today he is one of the US’s most successful motivational speakers – he is being compared to well-known figures like Jesse Jackson and Bill Cosby – and has received over 250 awards, including five White House citations, for his work with black youth.

“This awesome event will have attendees pumped up and inspired as they share ideas, insights and strategies on sustainable development that will enhance the lifestyles of Caribbean people,” said Mr. Watson in discussing his excitement at being the motivational speaker at the event.

The Colloquium is the creation of CTO interns who were enrolled at Universities in the Caribbean and the United States as their contribution to the programme of activities for Caribbean Week in New York.  It takes place from 3:00 to 5:00 PM on Tuesday 7 June at Pace University, One Pace Plaza, New York City and is sponsored by Barbados Tourism Authority, St. Kitts Tourism Authority, Citi Tech Solutions, Ocean Terrace Resort St. Kitts, Pace University and Sunbay Hotel.

Caribbean Week in New York is supported by Afar Magazine, American Express, Association of Travel Marketing Executives, BRIDES, Caribbean Tales, Carib Vision, Churches United to Save and Heal, Citi Tech Solutions, CTO Foundation, Demetrious, Diamond Noir Collective, Dreamy Weddings, Dwayne Bishop Photography, Empire State Building, Hermies Salon, Hard Beat Communications, Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce, Jamaica, MarryCaribbean, opusseven, Pace University, Performance Media Group, St. George’s Episcopal Church, St. Kitts & Nevis, Travelocity and the Wall Street Journal . For more information on the Student Colloquium and for the full Caribbean Week in New York programme, visit www.caribbeanweekny.com.

Posted in: 2011 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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CTO & FCCA Discuss Future of Caribbean Summer Cruising

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (30 May 2011) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) have begun talking about a matter which the region’s tourism development agency says affects the Caribbean in significant ways.

Representatives from both organizations met recently in Miami to discuss how they can work together to tackle the issue of the mass repositioning of cruise ships from the southern Caribbean in the summer months and to improve the overall competitiveness of the Caribbean for summer cruising.

A delegation of Eastern Caribbean Ministers of Tourism, led by CTO Chairman Ricky Skerritt, met with FCCA officials last week at the offices of Carnival Cruise Lines to listen to each other’s concerns and to explore ways to confront the situation in a manner that is mutually beneficial. Both sides agreed to a broad frame-work which includes conducting and sharing “a substantial amount of information- gathering and research”. They have also designated representatives from both teams to follow-up on ideas related to marketing and product development, and to report on progress made when the group meets again at a proposed meeting in June.

The CTO has expressed concern over the continued massive loss of cruise business, particularly from the southern/eastern Caribbean, due to the seasonal repositioning of vessels from the Caribbean to other ports each summer. The region’s tourism development agency says this practice results in significant economic loss to local businesses and economies during this prolonged period of economic slowdown.

“We ask that together we begin a new examination of the issues related to this concern so that the Caribbean, especially those islands farther to the east and south, can become more competitive in the summer cruise business without compromising the financial performance of the cruise lines,” Senator Skerritt said, adding that he hoped for a viable solution that would result in a win-win situation for the cruise lines and the Caribbean.

The cruise industry is a significant component of the region’s tourism mix and the Caribbean remains a highly desirable winter cruising destination.  In 2010 the region’s cruise passenger arrivals grew by six per cent, continuing the phenomenal growth experienced over the past four decades with the numbers climbing from just over one million cruise visits in 1970 to over 20 million last year.  CTO leaders want this strong consumer demand for the region in the cruise industry to be developed year round, with more summer business resulting.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization is the region’s tourism development agency committed to working with its thirty-three member countries and industry partners to grow travel to the region and maintain the Caribbean’s position as the world’s leading warm weather tourism destination.

In addition to Senator Skerritt, the CTO delegation to the talks included Hon. John Maginley, Minister of Tourism for Antigua & Barbuda; Hon. Richard Sealy, Minister of Tourism for Barbados; Hon. Ian Douglas, Minister of Tourism for Dominica; Hon. Hon. Clyde Van Putten, Commissioner of Tourism for St. Eustatius;  Hon. Allen Chastanet, Minister of Tourism for Saint Lucia; Hon. Beverly Nicholson-Doty, Commissioner of Tourism for the United States Virgin Islands; and Hugh Riley, Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

Posted in: 2011 News, Blog, Corporate News

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