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Archive for 2015 News

Commercial airlines resuming service to Dominica’s Douglas-Charles Airport

Roseau, Dominica – (Sept. 21, 2015) – Commercial airlines serving the Caribbean island of Dominica are resuming flights to Douglas-Charles Airport following Tropical Storm Erika in late August. Earlier, the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority gave the go-ahead to resume commercial flights. Since then, airport authorities have been working to restore essential services to the badly damaged terminal building in order for airline partners, LIAT, Seaborne Airlines and Winair, to re-establish schedules to the airport. Partner airlines have made several test landings since receiving the go-ahead.

“We continue to see daily progress in the tourism sector,” said Colin Piper, director of tourism. “Fans of the Nature Island will be pleased to know that most of their favorite locations and activities are operational and ready for their next visit.”

As of Sept. 18, 2015, LIAT has resumed flights to Douglas-Charles Airport from three origination points: Antigua (ANU), Barbados (BGI) and Guadeloupe (PTP).

Seaborne Airlines will resume flights between Dominica’s Douglas-Charles Airport (DOM) and San Juan (SJU) on Sept. 23, 2015.

Winair, which established Twin Otter service after Tropical Storm Erika, will continue that service into Canefield Airport until Oct. 25, 2015. Beginning on Oct. 3, Winair will resume two flights per week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from Guadeloupe and St. Maarten (SXM) to Dominica’s Douglas-Charles Airport. The airline is expected to resume its normal schedule of up to four flights weekly to Douglas-Charles Airport in November 2015.

For details on flights, schedules and availability, please contact a travel professional or visit the individual airline web sites:

Other Dominica access information, includes:

  • Caribbean Helicopters is providing daily fixed-wing service on a 6-seater aircraft between Antigua and Dominica’s Canefield Airport as many as three times daily.
  • Hummingbird Air offers charters to Canefield from St. Maarten, St. Thomas and St. Croix.
  • The L’ Express Des lles ferry service, which brings passengers from the islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Lucia is currently running.
  • All sea ports remain open and functional

Most of the island’s hotels, resorts, tour operators and dive shops are operational. However, visitors are encouraged to check directly with their accommodations regarding the status of their properties and surrounding infrastructure. Some hotels and tour operators are beginning their annual September/October closure.

To view a video update on accessibility, sites and attractions, please click here. For additional updates, please visit our website, www.discoverdominica.com.

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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Puerto Rico: Transformation of Buildings on Ashford Ave Begins

In an effort to regain urban spaces in strategic zones for the development of tourism projects that stimulate the economy, Osvaldo Rivera Cruz, AC Condado LLC Developer, along with the Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), Ingrid I. Rivera Rocafort, announced the beginning of the demolition of buildings 880 and 884 on Ashford Avenue in Condado. This is the beginning phase of an ambitious hotel project, which will offer diverse tourism amenities.

“At PRTC, we are absolutely thrilled about this new project as it will contribute to the revitalization of the tourism industry in Condado in addition to providing a boost to the economy. With an investment of approximately $30 million in various stages of construction, this project will redevelop the space occupied by two buildings that have been damaged and unused for decades and transform them into an area of hospitality. This new structure, which will have 164 new rooms, will create nearly 375 jobs during the construction phase and 150 jobs during the operation, undoubtedly boosting our economy,” said Rivera Rocafort.

“We are extremely excited about this project and how it will contribute to the tourist area in Condado. We are particularly pleased that this collaboration has been achieved through the involvement of a Puerto Rican company that will create jobs in the short-term as well as the long-term, and increase the inventory of hotel rooms on the island expanding the offerings with innovative entertainment areas and restaurants, among other amenities,” said Osvaldo Rivera.

“The rebirth of Condado is real. There have been a number of private investments in tourism projects as part of this redevelopment, including the Regency Hotel renovation, the reconstruction of San Juan Beach, the expansion of the Marriott Hotel and the reopening of Hotel Ambassador. These additions symbolize the growth in several fronts and the contribution to the economic transformation of Puerto Rico,” said the Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Alberto Bacó Bagué.

“Tourism is one of the growing industries and a cornerstone for economic development of the country. The BDE financially supports tourism projects endorsed by the tourism company, as presented here. Currently 10% of our loan portfolio is composed of tourism projects. Over the last five years, the BDE has awarded a total of 44 loans targeted to the tourism sector, for a total of $47.4 million, resulting in 718 direct jobs and 2,791 indirect jobs. This has been a direct outcome from investments such as hotel developments like El Blok on the island municipality of Vieques, our $9 million investment in Seaborne Airlines, and the latest expansion project of Toro Verde in Orocovis. After a financial investment of $3.2 million from the BDE, we are here to make way for a new tourism development which promises to be a great attraction for the Condado area and a strategic commitment to tangible economic development,” said Joey Cancel Planas, President of the Economic Development Bank.

“It is comforting to know that in Puerto Rico we have Puerto Rican entrepreneurs like Osvaldo Rivera Cruz, who believe in this industry and are willing to invest in developing new tourism products in our country, which will contribute to the growth of this industry and economic development,” concluded Rivera Rocafort.

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO UK Media Event Raises Funds for Dominica

(LONDON, UK) 16 Sept 2015 The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) hosted its Meet the Media members’ event  on Tuesday 15 September in Central London.  This event was attended by over 30 travel media professionals and about 25 CTO UK Chapter members.

The evening allowed members to discuss and update the media on their products and the latest developments within their destinations.  Attendees included a wide range of high-calibre media, ranging from national newspaper travel and feature correspondents and editors, glossy magazine writers, newspaper supplements and online editors to key freelancers and influential travel and lifestyle bloggers. Also in attendance were representatives from the Morant Bay Distillery, who kindly supplied a sample of their rum and chocolates to the attendees.

The Morant Bay Rum is made from Jamaican molasses sourced from an estate in Jamaica. The rum is produced using temperature-controlled conditions at a site in the United Kingdom, replicating the climate of Jamaica for rum production, distilling, and ageing with the bottling process, according to the company.

During last evening’s event, a business card prize draw was held, with prizes supplied by the CTO’s members.  In addition, a special charity raffle was conducted to raise relief funds for Dominica which suffered over EC$600m in damage from Tropical Storm Erika.  Attending media had the opportunity to enter the by donating a minimum of £10 each  to win a selection of prizes.

Peter Ellegard, a freelance writer, was the lucky winner of a pair of British Airways World Traveller Plus tickets to Tobago; four nights all-inclusive stay for two people at Le Grand Courlan Spa Resort & three-nights at The Grafton Beach Resort Tobago, courtesy of British Airways and Sunrise Marketing.

Majorie Yeu of the Sunday Mirror was also rewarded but with a five nights stay for two courtesy of PSA Marketing and the Trinidad and Tobago Tourist Office. The raffle raised over £400 and all proceeds will be donated directly to Dominica.

Carol Hay, the CTO’s director of marketing for the UK and Europe stated: “We are always keen to support our member countries, in any way we can and we are very appreciative of the support offered by our media and trade partners at our ‘Meet the Media’ event”.

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New Tourism Minister Appointed in Trinidad and Tobago

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad: The Honourable Shamfa Cudjoe was appointed Trinidad and Tobago’s new Minister of Tourism on Friday 11th September 2015.

Minister Cudjoe first entered the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago as an Opposition Senator at the start of the 10th Republican Parliament in June 2010. One of Tobago’s leading professionals in the field of International Affairs and Foreign Trade Policy, she has also served as a Trade Analyst in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and represented the island at various consultations and negotiations on regional integration and international trade matters. Her professional experience also includes working as an international trade consultant with the Organisation of the American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington D.C., USA. Prior to her appointment to the Cabinet, Minister Cudjoe was employed as the Assistant Director of the Youth Energised for Success Programme, an initiative of the Division of Finance and Enterprise Development at the THA.

Minister Cudjoe  is a graduate of Bethune-Cookman College in Florida, USA, where she earned a B.A. in International Affairs (Hons.). She later obtained an MSc. International in Trade Policy (With Distinction) from the University of the West Indies and is also certified in Economic Development and Export Diversification, as well as International Food and Agriculture Trade by the World Bank Institute.

Speaking with the media following her appointment, the new tourism minister said she was pleased with her portfolio. Indicating there is “a plethora of issues” facing Trinidad and Tobago’s tourism industry, Minister Cudjoe said among her first actions would be to examine the industry and consult with stakeholders before implementing policy decisions. Other areas of priority for the Minister as she assumes office include improving transportation links between Trinidad and Tobago and initiatives to improve the local tourism product.

The People’s National Movement, led by Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley, defeated the People’s Partnership Government, led by former Prime Minister the Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar, at the general election polls on Monday 7th September 2015, winning 23 seats to the incumbent’s 18. On Wednesday 9th September, Dr Rowley was sworn in as the seventh Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago. Prime Minister Rowley’s newly minted cabinet will have their first meeting on Monday 14th September 2015.


About Trinidad & Tobago

Home to the largest Carnival celebration in the Caribbean, Trinidad & Tobago is the southernmost Caribbean nation located seven miles east off the Venezuelan coast. Ranked the happiest nation in the Caribbean by the United Nations’ World Happiness Report, in 2013 and 2015, the destination’s distinct and harmonious blend of cultures, eclectic cuisine and environmental treasures continue to attract travelers of all ages to its shores. Birthplace of the limbo and the world famous steelpan, the only acoustic instrument invented in the 20th century, as well as a diverse mix of monthly festivals and events, it’s little wonder that Trinidad is known as the ‘cultural capital of the Caribbean.’ Sister island Tobago offers a quintessential Caribbean vibe with secluded beaches, quaint villages, private villas and award-winning eco attractions. Tobago is home to the largest brain coral in the Western Hemisphere and the oldest protected reserve in the Western hemisphere, The Main Ridge Rainforest. Come and explore Trinidad and Tobago-the true Caribbean!

For more information on Trinidad & Tobago, visit www.goTrinidadandTobago.com  or www.visittobago.gov.tt.

Follow Trinidad and Tobago on Facebook www.facebook.com/islandsoftrinidadandtobago


Media Contact:

Corporate Communications

Tourism Development Company Limited

Phone: 868.675.7034

E-mail: [email protected]

Web: www.tdc.co.tt


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CTO Announces Relief Fund to Assist Dominica Following Disastrous Flood

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (Sept 9, 2015) –The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is seeking donations for its CTO Relief Fund to provide monetary assistance to the people of Dominica following the passage of Tropical Storm Erika, which dumped 12 inches of rain on the island on Thursday August 27, causing extensive flooding which killed over 30 people and caused over US$200 million in damage.

Dominica is a member of the CTO whose Relief Fund provides support for member countries impacted by natural disasters. The CTO is enlisting the help of governments and individuals across the Region along with supporters from around the world, to mobilize and encourage assistance for the Government and People of Dominica.  The CTO is using all of its offices to facilitate the process.

“The time to help Dominica is now. In other times of need, the Caribbean as a Region has generously come together to provide assistance to those devastated by natural disasters, and we are confident that this spirit of generosity will be evident  once again,” said Hugh Riley, Secretary General of the CTO. Cheques payable to Caribbean Tourism Organization Relief can be mailed to the London office at 22 The Quadrant, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1BP, UK, or to the Barbados office at Ground Floor, Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael, Barbados, BB22026, payable to Caribbean Tourism Organization. In the US, cheques payable to the CTO Relief Fund may be mailed to 80 Broad Street, 33rd Floor, New York, NY 10004. Contributions to the CTO Relief Fund in the US are not tax deductible.

Persons wishing to make electronic transfers can please contact the Barbados,  UK or US offices to acquire banking details.

The CTO is also working with a civic group in the US, the Association of Dominicans in the Northeast, (www.adne-us.org) a registered charity based in New Jersey, to mobilize Dominicans, collect relief items and raise funds for the effort.  The group is hosting a number of events, the entire proceeds of which will go to the relief effort.

The CTO Relief Fund has been utilized to assist member countries on several occasions in the past, including Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and Grenada following Hurricane Ivan in 2004.


About the Caribbean Tourism Organization

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with headquarters in Barbados and offices in New York and London, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising membership of the region’s finest countries and territories including Dutch, English, French and Spanish, as well as a myriad of private sector allied members. The CTO’s vision is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year round, warm weather destination, and its purpose is Leading Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.

Among the benefits to its members the organization provides specialized support and technical assistance in sustainable tourism development, marketing, communications, advocacy, human resource development, event planning & execution and research & information technology.

In addition the CTO, in partnership with the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, jointly and equally owns the Caribbean Tourism Development Company, a marketing and business development entity dedicated to promoting the Caribbean brand worldwide.

The CTO’s Headquarters is located at Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael, Barbados BB 22026; Tel: (246) 427-5242; Fax: (246) 429-3065; E-mail: [email protected]

The CTO’s New York office is located at 80 Broad St., Suite 3302, New York, NY 10004, USA: Tel: (212) 635-9530; Fax: (212) 635-9511; E-mail: [email protected];

The CTO’s London office is located at The Quadrant, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1BP, England. Tel: 011 44 208 948 0057; Fax: 011 44 208 948 0067; E-mail: [email protected];

For more information on the Caribbean Tourism Organization please visit www.OneCaribbean.org. Get the latest CTO updates on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ctotourism. Connect with CTO on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CaribbeanTourismOrganization.

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Chef Ed Harris Jr. takes home the title “International Iron Chef Competition Champion 2015”


SAINT LUCIA (September 9, 2015) – The Saint Lucia Tourist Board and renowned Saint Lucian Chef Ed Harris recently participated in the Harbourfront Centre’s International Iron Chef Competition in Toronto Canada on September 6th & 7th 2015. This year, the focus of the competition was on keeping it hot, spicy and sustainable and the Chefs were challenged to use local, sustainable ingredients from their homeland.

As a main theme of the Hot & Spicy Food Festival, the Culinary experiences shape all aspects of global culture and food continues to thrive as a central method of cultural expression. The competition explored global cuisine, as innovations in food production and preparation move toward a highly specialized art form.

Chef Ed’s participation at the Hot and Spicy festival was coordinated by the Saint Lucia Tourist Board’s Canadian team and provided an opportunity to bring together the Saint Lucian community to showcase the flavors of the island. Within the Saint Lucia Tourist Board’s booth, Saint Lucia’s own Ti Kaye La sauces showcased their line of Saint Lucia sauces which are on sale in Toronto and were used in Chef Ed’s winning recipe.

“This collaboration was a very successful one as Canadians came out in strong numbers both families, tourists and food lovers alike, and were very interested in learning about Saint Lucia and tasting the local flavors. The interest in Saint Lucia was elevated during the Iron Chef Competition as Chef Ed and Canada battled to the bitter end. So we couldn’t be more thrilled for Ed and his success in his first Canadian Competition”, said Alison Theodore, Marketing Manager for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board. “His incorporation of local ingredients from Saint Lucia played an important role in keeping his dishes aligned with the culinary tastes of the island and winning the title.”

Ed Harris was born in Cedars St. Lucia, but currently resides in Atlanta Georgia, USA.  Chef Ed Harris’ unending passion for cuisine began in the kitchen. Over the past decade, Ed has been heavily involved in the food business in many aspects. His experience ranges from high end private events, off site events and various celebrity gatherings to consulting on menu items and restaurant concepts.

Throughout his career Ed has worked as a Tournant, Junior Sous Chef, Banquet Chef, Executive Sous Chef, Dim Sum Chef, Expeditor and Saucier and now that he is a Consultant Chef, he uses all those areas of expertise to further his career. A popular and talented chef, Harris appeared as a chef on 24-hour Restaurant Battle and was the winner of the Food Network’s CHOPPED “Turbot Powered” Season Four. Ed’s company “Chef Life Consulting” partners with various charities especially ones for children, something he holds very close to his heart. His experience in the different positions has given him the opportunity to play an active role in the planning, supervision, and creative aspects of the food industry. When it comes to sharing his love of food with others, Ed Harris’ work is not just limited to assisting in the process of providing customers with avant garde meals. He has dedicated much of his leisure time to informing younger children about food and the business of food. Ed has also participated in events to help raise funds for several charities.

The Saint Lucia Tourist Board, SLHTA and Ministry of Tourism and the entire tourism fraternity extends heartfelt Congratulations and best wishes to Chef Ed Harris on adding yet another jewel in his crown!

For more information about the island of Saint Lucia call 1-800 456-3984, or 1-888 4STLUCIA or visit www.saintlucianow.com.

About Saint Lucia

One of the Windward Islands of the West Indies’ Lesser Antilles, Saint Lucia (pronounced Saint LOO-sha) is nestled halfway down the eastern Caribbean archipelago. The “Helen of the West Indies,” Saint Lucia is known for its natural beauty and diverse attractions, including the signature Piton Mountains – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – a tropical rainforest and one of the world’s few drive-in volcanoes. Culturally rich offerings include the bustling marketplace in the capital of Castries, quaint fishing villages along the coastline, and the annual Saint Lucia Jazz festival. Saint Lucia’s wide range of accommodations includes world-class five-star resorts, all-inclusive resorts, intimate inns and value-oriented properties.

For more information, visit www.saintlucianow.com

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PRTC Celebrates International Tourism Month

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) began the celebration of International Tourism Month with the presentation of its Quality Service Program, a key aspect of Executive Director Ingrid I. Rivera Rocafort’s strategic plan for the agency. Quality of service encompasses several elements that make a difference in the reputation of a destination, such as cleanliness, how guests are treated, ability to satisfy guests’ needs and solving unexpected situations.

“From day one as Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, I told myself that one of the main pillars of my work here would be enhancing the quality of our service through a program that would include all of our citizens in order to make a real difference in the experience lived by our guests, and today I can say with great pleasure that this program is ready for implementation,” said Rivera Rocafort. The Executive Director added, “Puerto Rico has great attributes: spectacular natural landscapes, impressive historical monuments and a rich cultural heritage, but there is no doubt that our best attribute is our people, who are widely known for their warmth and hospitality. Nonetheless, it is necessary to translate this attribute in a more effective manner and with our Quality Service Program we aim to provide our people better tools in order to take hospitality to the next level and encourage the arrival of more visitors.”

To develop the program, the PRTC team embarked on a comprehensive research process to help determine the areas in which to be implemented, as well as the strategies to be followed to achieve success in this important project. Based on the data collected through interviews, focus groups and research, PRTC’s Quality Service Program focuses on three main aspects: awareness, training, and recognition.

The awareness phase is aimed at strengthening service capabilities at both the internal and external levels. The first step will be to strengthen the capabilities of the agency’s team to enhance the quality of the services they provide to clients, partners and guests and at the same time, to serve as spokespeople of the program amongst citizens. Also, PRTC is working in a partnership with the Department of Education to provide a series of workshops during the 2015-2016 school year, in addition to a summer camp which educates students interested in working in the tourism industry about the importance of quality service.

To move the community and the industry toward the goal of enhancing local tourism’s quality service, PRTC developed a media campaign that includes press advertisements on radio, TV and social media which will highlight examples of how to be ambassadors of quality service to visitors.

The training phase includes initiatives to promote excellence in service and will begin with a series of workshops for employees and management teams of government agencies. It will continue with training opportunities for restaurant staff, hotel owners and operators to provide them the tools needed to reach a quality excellence level that will encourage new visits in the near future.

The third phase enhances the importance of recognition and will include the relaunching of PRTC’s Quality Awards with a new logo, new categories and regional awards. PRTC’s personnel will also be recognized in this phase. All these strategies will run under the “It’s Our Time to Shine!” slogan. “When we say It’s Our Time to Shine, we want all our people to get involved in the process of welcoming and providing great attention with the special warmth that characterizes the Puerto Rican people and our Island as a five-star destination in the Caribbean and the rest of the world,” concluded Rivera Rocafort.


Lindsey Barber

[email protected]


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