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Archive for 2016 News

New developments to add over 700 rooms on Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia (February 18, 2016) – Saint Lucia tourism officials are preparing to welcome over 700 new hotel rooms to the island’s accommodations in 2016, along with a new marketing campaign and push for new island investment.

Rex resorts has re-opened the 110 room Papillon Hotel after completing extensive renovations as an all-inclusive four-star property in February 2016 with Air Canada Vacations as the exclusive tour operator out of Canada. The Papillon Hotel is located adjacent to the St. Lucian and Royal by rex resorts hotels on Reduit Beach near Rodney Bay.

Also set to open this year, the Harbor Club on the Rodney Bay Marina will feature 115 four-star accommodations with a number of amenities that include two restaurants, lounges, a full-service spa, gym, pool recreational concept and 4,000 square feet of meeting and conference space. Adjacent to the Harbor Club is the recently completed Dive Saint Lucia, one of the premier scuba diving centers in the Eastern Caribbean featuring state of the art facilities at the complex just south of the Rodney Bay Marina.

In late 2016, Royalton Luxury Resorts will add to its rapidly expanding portfolio of vacation experiences with the upscale Royalton Saint Lucia near Cap Estate. The elegant resort features 361 luxurious rooms, eight restaurants and six bars, world class spa, onsite splash park, conference space and an exclusive 94-suite, adults-only hotel within a resort called Hideaway.

“This overdue hotel boom adds much-needed inventory to meet the demands of our key source markets” said Louis Lewis, Director Tourism. “Tourism growth is a priority, and Invest Saint Lucia and the newly opened Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Office will continue to seek new investment and development for the island.”

Lewis reported that the U.S., the island’s leading market with more than 44 percent of arrivals in 2015, realized a seven percent growth in visitors compared to 2014. Saint Lucia saw six record-breaking months in 2015 – January, February, March, April, June and October – for a total of nearly 345,000 visitors for the year and an overall increase in stay-over arrivals of two percent, following a six percent rise in arrivals in 2014.

“Partnership is key to the continued success of Saint Lucia’s marketing efforts,” said Lewis. “We work closely with our hotel and product partners, travel agent partners, tour operators and airlines, to harness ideas and resources for the benefit of the overall destination.” He added that the Saint Lucia Tourist Board will unveil a new marketing campaign in the second half of 2016 with plans to refresh the brand with new collateral and photography.

Saint Lucia was recognized as “Best Honeymoon Island in the World,” one of the “Top 20 Islands in the World,” and one of the “Most Romantic Islands in the World” by the Condé Nast Traveler 2015 Readers’ Choice Awards. Six of the island’s resorts were also distinguished as “Top 40 Resorts in the Caribbean” by Condé Nast Traveler readers. The growing reputation of the diverse hotels, and the island of Saint Lucia as a sought-after destination was further strengthened by the more than 50 awards and accolades received by resorts across the island, including recognition from Travel & Leisure’s World’s Best List and Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List to the coveted “Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination” by World Travel Awards.

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

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Caribbean tourism sets new performance records

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (16 Feb. 2016) – For the first time ever since the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) began keeping records, the Caribbean outperformed every major tourism region in the world in setting new arrival and spend records in 2015 while exceeding expectations.

International tourist trips to the region grew by seven per cent to 28.7 million visits, much higher than the projected four to five per cent growth. Visitors spent an estimated $30 billion, a 4.2 per cent rise over the $28.8 billion spent in 2014.

“So 2015 was the second year in a row that the region has done better than the rest of the world, and the sixth consecutive year of growth for the Caribbean,” the CTO’s secretary general Hugh Riley revealed today in announcing  the record performance at a news conference at CTO headquarters, streamed live to a global audience that spanned the Caribbean, the Americas, Europe and as far as Asia.

Mr. Riley attributed the growth to improved global economic conditions in the marketplace; a boost in consumer confidence, particularly in the United States; falling oil prices; rising seat capacity and persistent marketing by CTO member countries and their partners.

The CTO reported growth in all the major markets – the United States, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and South America – with the intra-regional market performing better than it has ever done before.

“Despite concerns about the cost of travel within the region, the intra-Caribbean travel recorded its best performance since we started keeping records. In 2015, traffic from the Caribbean market accounted for six per cent of total arrivals into the region, with 1.7 million visits among the various states, an increase of 11.4 per cent over the previous year,” the CTO secretary general said.

The US, which remains the Caribbean’s primary market, accounting for about 50 per cent of arrivals, grew an impressive 6.3 per cent to 14.3 million visits.

The Canadian market grew by 4.5 per cent to 3.4 million; Europe accounted for 5.2 million visits, a 4.2 per cent jump over the previous year and South America continued its rapid growth, generating 2.1 million visitors, an 18.3 per cent jump over 2014.

Of the 5.2 million European visited, 1.1 million came from the United Kingdom, which recorded a 10.4 per cent rise.

“The European market made significant gains in 2015, with its best performance in seven years. For the first time since 2008, total arrivals from Europe reached the five million mark, a rise of 4.2 per cent compared to 2014. The UK was one of the dominant performers, growing by a healthy 10.4 per cent to 1.1 million visitors. Arrivals from Germany recorded an even better 11.5 per cent rise, while France was relatively flat, increasing by 0.8 per cent.

“Needless to say, we are very pleased with the Caribbean’s performance of stayover arrivals in 2015.  In each Quarter the region recorded at least six per cent growth over the corresponding quarter for 2014; and each month in 2015 was better than the same month the previous year.

“Still, the Caribbean cannot be complacent.  We must continue to grow our traditional markets, strengthen emerging ones and penetrate new sources as we target the 30 million arrivals mark we set some years ago.  Our efforts to improve our product quality, enhance our marketing, grow our rate base, increase our profitability, and constantly offer excellent value for money, must continue,” Mr. Riley advised.

The CTO secretary general also announced growth in the cruise sector, although at a slower rate of 1.3 per cent, with 24.4 million cruises in Caribbean waters.

He said the outlook for 2016 was positive with tourist arrivals expected to increase by 4.5 to 5.5 per cent, while cruise is estimated to record one to two per cent growth, as summer redeployment of ships continues.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Destination rebranding services for Dominica

Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) is pleased to invite Expressions of Interest (EoI) from consulting, marketing and creative agencies to undertake activities towards a destination rebranding.  The services required include research and creative services to help better define and communicate the brand personality, brand identity, brand essence and brand promise of destination Dominica.

Expressions of Interest, which should be no more than 3 pages, should describe the company’s set up, capabilities and experience in providing the necessary research and creative services and reasons why it should be included in the shortlist of companies to be invited to tender by Discover Dominica Authority.

The shortlisted firms will receive an invitation and Request for Proposal from Discover Dominica Authority to take part in a Competitive Selection Process for the contract to provide the Destination Rebranding Services.

Expressions of Interest should be submitted to Mr. Colin Piper, CEO/Director of Tourism, Discover Dominica Authority at [email protected] and copy Monique Jacob at [email protected] no later than 23rd February, 2016.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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FAQs on ZIKA & Travel to the Caribbean

The spread of the Zika virus in the Americas, with Brazil as the epicentre, and the possible though not yet proven accompanying link to microcephaly has, understandably, caused concern. The Level 2 alert issued by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created doubt among some potential travellers to the Caribbean as to whether or not their health is at risk and whether or not they should continue with their travel plans.

Conflicting information about the virus, coupled with the yet unconfirmed link to microcephaly, has led to uncertainty and confusion, which in turn leads to panic.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) are aware that you have a number of questions about your travel plans. We have therefore compiled a series of Frequently Asked Questions in relation to Zika and travel to the Caribbean. We hope you will find these details helpful.  We implore you not to panic.

 

How is the Zika Virus impacting Caribbean Tourism?

It’s too early to tell but all indications are that there are very few cancellations as a result of Zika.   The Caribbean set a record for visitors arrivals in 2015 and all indications point to continued growth and its popularity as one of the world’s most desirable warm weather destinations.

Should I cancel my Caribbean holiday?

No. However, as always we advise you to travel sensibly and to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself against insect bites, including mosquito bites, in very much the same way you would on any holiday in any tropical country.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and other health agencies, including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said that Zika symptoms for the vast majority of people are mild and last two to seven days. In fact, according to the WHO and the CDC, four in five people who contract the virus never know they got it, and if you get it once you develop immunity for life.

What are some of the concerns?

Concerns have been raised about a condition known as microcephaly and its effects on the unborn children of pregnant women. However, the WHO itself has stated several times that it has no proof of a link between Zika and microcephaly. In fact, there is other research that suggests there is no link and that there are other causes of the suspected rise in cases in Brazil. There are also no reported cases of microcephaly linked to Zika outbreaks in other countries or regions. Also, according to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), microcephaly is extremely rare in the Caribbean and there are no cases linked to Zika.

How worried is the Caribbean that Zika and the extensive news coverage will impact tourism this year?

We take the health and safety of our guests very seriously. Based on the evidence, we firmly believe that the Zika virus does not pose an extraordinary threat to visitors to the Caribbean. We will continue to closely monitor developments and if fresh evidence emerges that suggests otherwise we will advise accordingly.

In the meantime, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) remain in close contact with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to monitor and research the Zika cases in the Caribbean and to communicate prevention and control measures to residents and visitors, while the health authorities in our member countries are taking the necessary steps to limit the number of new cases.

Local populations and visitors alike are assured that the Caribbean remains open for business and safe for travel. The CTO and CHTA will continue to work closely with CARPHA to assess the situation, but we encourage visitors to continue with their travel plans to the Caribbean and follow the advice and precautions issued by the World Health Organization, similar to those which are provided to travelers to most tropical destinations.

Note also that the World Health Organization has not issued any travel restrictions to affected countries.

Which Caribbean countries are most at risk? 

The Zika outbreak has been concentrated in Brazil and South America, with approximately 1.5 million suspected cases in Brazil. By contrast, there have been around 200 suspected cases in the Caribbean, spread across about a dozen of the region’s 30-plus countries. Most individuals  who contracted the virus have already recovered.

What special measures are Caribbean tourism industry and health authorities taking to calm guest’s nerves or head off their concerns?

Caribbean countries and hotels continue their proactive measures similar to those used to combat other mosquito-borne viruses.  Staff and guests are being provided with the necessary information so they become familiar with how it can be prevented, how it can be transmitted, its signs and symptoms.  Insect repellent containing DEET is being placed in hotel rooms, or made easily available for purchase.

Many of our member countries undertake national clean-up campaigns to try to eradicate breeding grounds, while an increasing number of hotels install mosquito screens on windows and/or supply guests with bed nets in areas where the sleeping quarters are exposed to the outdoors.

Which airlines have you confirmed have taken this measure regarding travel, specifically to the Caribbean?

We are aware that a number of airlines, cruise lines and tour operators have announced cancellation or change policies. These policies vary from carrier to carrier and we encourage travellers to check with their travel agents or carrier if they are uncertain of the policy. We also recommend that you check with your hotel to inquire about its policy on cancellations and/or change of dates of guests.

How can visitors to the Caribbean protect themselves from contracting Zika?

We continue to encourage visitors to protect themselves from mosquito bites by using long lasting repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 on exposed skin.  Many of our guests come to the region to enjoy the sunshine, therefore, we advise those using both sunscreen and insect repellent, to apply the sunscreen first, then the repellent.

What is the Caribbean’s call to action?

Firstly, there is no reason to panic, but ensure precautions are taken to protect yourself from insect bites and stay informed about the Zika virus. The number of cases in the Caribbean is small and we anticipate that proliferation will be limited. However, we continue to encourage all communities to approach this matter seriously and aggressively, recognizing that the most effective way to control Zika is to eliminate mosquitoes.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, ZIKA

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Barbados announces 2015 best year on record for tourism

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS. February 1, 2016.  Barbados’ tourism industry is on a strong growth path with 2015 being a record year.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, in an update on the state of the industry, noted that 2015 was a “turnaround year” with many of the vital signs showing steady improvement.

Long stay arrivals grew by 13.7 percent to reach 591,892, the highest on record.  The UK remained Barbados’ no. 1 source market contributing 37 percent of business with a year on year increase of 14.1 percent.  The USA market, which represented 25 percent of international visitor arrivals, grew by 25 percent. The Caribbean & Latin America and Canadian markets, which equated to 15.9 percent and 12.6 percent of total long stay arrivals, grew by 13.1 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

Barbados’ growth strategy focused heavily on the diversification of their source markets, including establishing new gateways out of Boston via JetBlue; Bogota, Columbia through Avianca; and a new Thomas Cook service out of Glasgow.  The island’s tourism industry also benefitted in 2015 from the introduction of a twice weekly Delta service out of Atlanta and New York, and the switch by Air Canada to a B777 aircraft.

In addition, Barbados shone in the region as the first international destination to receive JetBlue’s new Mint Service, which has since been extended to a once weekly year-round service.  The island also copped best destination awards from Expedia, Caribbean Journal and the Telegraph.

The minister also revealed that the new all-inclusive Sandals Barbados, as well as the new Sugar Bay all-inclusive resort, contributed approximately 380 more rooms to the island’s room inventory during the year and contributed in a great way to the increase in new long stay arrivals.  The Sandals property is set to construct an additional 220 rooms in 2016, while the new Beaches resort will commence construction at the site of the Almond Beach Resort later this year.

Posted in: 2016 News, Destination News

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Isla Verde tourism to strengthen as ESJ Towers completes renovation

Isla Verde, an iconic high-density tourist area in Puerto Rico, is projected to see a boost in tourism as the transformation of ESJ Towers is finalized. The renovation of ESJ Towers to ESJ Azul, is one of the pillars proposed to revitalize Isla Verde beach. An $8 million investment made toward remodeling the property will provide a total of 450 rooms for visitors.

“The opening of ESJ Azul, as well as new tourism projects, represent an awakening in this area which is fundamental in strengthening the tourism industry in Puerto Rico,” said Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) Ingrid I. Rivera Rocafort. “These projects will create a new edge on innovation, entertainment and life to this iconic neighborhood in Isla Verde.”

New projects on the island include the remodeling of ESJ Tower, El Noir and El Verde, which have been great investments in the tourism industry and have created nearly 1,000 jobs, resulting in a boost to the economy of Puerto Rico.

This new initiative, known as the rebirth of Isla Verde, is led by Keith St. Clair, a veteran of the tourism and travel industry. With the opening of ESJ Azul, the initial project of the new vision for Isla Verde, St. Clair compliments the functions of a first-class hotel with excellent attractions, services and housing, positioning Puerto Rico as a destination.

“Since I came to Puerto Rico, I have enjoyed the advantages of investing and living on the island, and I am convinced that tourism is one of the key factors to economic recovery and growth. This multi-billion dollar investment made on ESJ marks the beginning of a new stage in Isla Verde, and allows new facilities to continue to promote the tourism sector,” said St. Clair.

“This rehabilitation will provide more variety and attractive offers to visitors, resulting in a great opportunity to give the tourism industry a diverse and dynamic leadership role in the country,” said Rivera Rocafort.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO and CHTA Statement on the ZIKA Virus

Public health authorities in the Caribbean are working diligently to mitigate the effects of the Zika virus. Zika, also known as ZIKV, is spread primarily by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

The public-sector-led Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and its private sector counterpart, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) are in close contact with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to monitor and research the Zika cases that have now surfaced in some Caribbean destinations, and to communicate prevention and control measures to residents and visitors.

The CTO and CHTA are in communication with their respective stakeholders and are observing national, regional and international health protocols in dealing with mosquito-borne viral diseases which can be found in tropical countries.

With more than 700 islands in 30 territories in the Caribbean, conditions will vary from one nation to another.

CTO and CHTA will continue to monitor all developments related to mosquito-borne viral diseases and to support appropriate communication, education and prevention initiatives.

ZIKA GUIDELINES FOR TRAVELLERS: http://carpha.org/Portals/0/docs/ZIKA/ZIKA-GUIDELINES-FOR-TRAVELLERS.pdf

ZIKA GUIDELINES FOR HOTELS AND GUESTHOUSES: http://carpha.org/Portals/0/docs/ZIKA/ZIKA-GUIDELINES-FOR-HOTELS.pdf

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, ZIKA Virus

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