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Archive for 2016 News

Message by Belize Minister of Tourism & Culture for Caribbean Tourism Month 2016

Belize offers a unique destination to our visitors as it is located within the Caribbean and Central America regions, allowing convenient multi-destinations travel within one of the most popular tourist basins in the world. Belize features a rich and diverse mix of culture and cheerful citizens. The astounding Barrier Reef is the second largest in the world. We feature safe waters for diving, snorkeling, swimming, boating, fishing, numerous rivers for rafting and kayaking. An abundance of Mayan Temples, caves and islands, pristine rainforests for hiking and bird-watching, all contribute to the attractions which drive our thriving tourism industry.

Belize has progressed significantly in its tourism growth despite the challenges of diseases such as Zika, severe weather events such as Hurricane Earl and the recent “de-risking” banking movement that impacted the Caribbean. 2015 saw a tremendous growth of 6.2% with a significant increase in our overnight arrivals. This trend continues as the January through September 2016 statistics reflect a 16% growth in this key performance indicator. Cruise has also seen a 1.3% growth at September 2016 for the first nine months of the year. The launch of new direct flights to Belize from major travel hubs for both North American and South American markets, and increased connectivity from Europe and within the Central American region, have also contributed to this boost.

We have also seen growth in occupancy as our stakeholders improve and expand on their accommodations and amenities while ensuring that sustainable practices are being adhered to.  Infrastructural development of our roads, improvements at our domestic airports and at border facilities and tourism sites all around the country are also contributing to the enhancement of our tourism brand and equity.

Belize is enthusiastic about the future of tourism both at a national and regional level. Our efforts to penetrate new markets by strategic marketing investments include aggressively embracing digital marketing concepts. We believe that it is vital for stakeholders, statutory bodies and relevant government agencies both at the national and regional level to collaborate to ensure the vibrancy, sustainability and continuous evolvement of our collective Caribbean paradise destinations.

Caribbean Tourism Month provides another ideal opportunity for us as Belizeans to become tourists for a while in our own country and enjoy all of these wonderful attributes that we offer the rest of the world. It also is a good time to reaffirm our commitment to work towards excellence in the quality of our service, the quality of our product, and the tourism sector on a whole.

Happy Caribbean Tourism Month.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Caribbean Tourism Month, Destination News

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UNWTO and CTO team up for regional workshop in Saint Lucia

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 1 Nov, 2016 –  The United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable tourism is partnering with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) to deliver a regional workshop on sustainable destination management and marketing next month.

The 5-9 December workshop, which takes place in Saint Lucia, is being delivered by experts selected by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and will explore issues related to competitiveness, quality assurance and sustainable destination criteria, with a strong emphasis on trends, best practices and success stories aimed at helping destinations compete globally,  according to Bonita Morgan, the CTO’s director of resource mobilization and development.

“We have the advantage of having the UNWTO bring to us expertise with international experiences, models and success stories as we expose the participants to what the possibilities are out there to help them develop a better product, or deliver a better service so their overall strategy for destination management and marketing can be successful,” Mrs. Morgan said.

Among the key areas being explored are innovation in marketing, destination competitiveness, developing sustainable tourism experiences and successful models in destination management and marketing.

The first day is being billed as a forum and will be open to a broad spectrum of stakeholders in Saint Lucia so that they can benefit from the experiences and expertise of the UNWTO facilitators, as well as allowing as many residents as possible to share their views and experiences with a local and region audience.  Topics to be covered will include global and regional tourism performance and trends, consumer trends and effective marketing and pillars of sustainable and competitive destinations.

A number of site visits have been included in the programme, during which participants will use the information they garnered to critique the local destinations and use the experience to help enhance their own products and tourism services.

The executive training workshop organized by the CTO and the UNWTO through its Themis Foundation, is being held in collaboration with the Saint Lucia Tourist Board. It is open to high-level decision makers in the national, regional and local tourism administrations and organizations, as well as senior tourism practitioners from tourism associations and industry groups and travel and tourism practitioners from the Caribbean and the Americas.

For further information, including how to register and participate, visit www.onecaribbean.org or email [email protected] For further insights regarding the forum and workshop please view a video interview with Mrs. Morgan at: http://bit.ly/2eQHM2W.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog

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Caribbean Tourism Month 2016 Message by CTO Secretary General, Mr. Hugh Riley

THEME: ONE SEA, ONE VOICE, ONE CARIBBEAN

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 1 Nov 2016.  During 2015 our region has set arrival and visitor expenditure records that have surpassed expectations. Caribbean tourism grew by an estimated seven per cent to 28.7 million visits, much higher than the projected four to five per cent. This performance was above the global rate of growth, which the UN agency, the World Tourism Organization quotes at 4.4 per cent.

In that period, visitors spent over a billion dollars more than they did in 2014, contributing approximately US$30 billion to Caribbean economies.  For 2016 the latest visitor arrival data indicate that tourist trips grew by 5.2% in the first six months when compared to the same period of 2015. While this is encouraging, we must not settle. We certainly cannot relax until we become the world’s most desirable year round, warm weather destination and until every citizen of the Caribbean benefits from tourism.

The first priority is to embrace our mantra of sustainable tourism development. We must keep the right balance between maximizing the benefits of our tourism assets for the wellbeing of our current populations, and do so responsibly, so that we can preserve those resources for generations to come.  To maximize the benefit and preserve resources, we need to create systems that ensure that guests and hosts can equally enjoy the experience.

The economic benefits of the tourism industry are enormous. In the Caribbean, where we have a clear understanding of tourism’s contribution to financial prosperity, we are seeing more of our citizens becoming involved in ‘the sharing economy’. We are opening our homes and apartments to visitors from around the world. Ordinary citizens have become hosts. But while I have often described the essence of hospitality as “sharing space and breaking bread” our populations must also pay attention to “guestpitality”, a laser-like focus on the guest’s point of view. Indeed if hospitality is about customer service, then guestpitality must surely be about customer experience.

During Caribbean Tourism Month, which we observe every November, we will have the opportunity to place even greater emphasis on the kinds of experiences we offer to guests, which make up our exciting and diversified tourism product.

It’s also a great time to introduce new ideas, methods and products, to propose innovative and revolutionary thinking and to generate fresh energy into the sector. Throughout November, the CTO will undertake several social media activities during which member countries will be profiled on the organization’s social media platforms. These include:

  • 30 Day Social Media Photo/Video Challenge featuring the people, fashion, heritage and natural attributes of the Caribbean
  • Help Me Pick a Caribbean Holiday/Vacation Spot Social Media Poll
  • Online Caribbean Fashion Show via Periscope & Facebook Live Marathon/Tweet-Chat
  • Romantic Facts about CTO member countries

This is an excellent opportunity to be featured globally and to demonstrate to the world that the spirit of togetherness we talk so passionately about remains alive and vibrant in the Caribbean. It also helps to give meaning to the Caribbean Tourism Month theme, One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.

We wish to encourage every CTO member country, every tourism entity and everyone engaged either directly or indirectly in tourism to join us by participating in these initiatives and by organizing at least one activity during the month that will help focus attention on the industry. Be creative, be daring, be brave, be innovative.

We’ll take this opportunity to thank the sponsors, supporters and everyone who helps us celebrate Caribbean Tourism Month.

Together, let’s keep the right focus on this important industry and reaffirm the value of One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Caribbean Tourism Month

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Wanted: Project Proposals for the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) for 2017

The US Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS has issued a call for project proposals for the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) for 2017. Proposals must be submitted by February 2, 2017, for projects to preserve cultural heritage in Antigua and Barbuda; Barbados; Dominica; Grenada; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Through the AFCP program, the US Department of State supports projects to preserve cultural heritage in the following three areas:

1. Cultural sites: Such as, but not limited to, historic buildings and archaeological sites.

2. Cultural objects and collections: From a museum, site, or similar institution, including but not limited to, archaeological and ethnographic objects, paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, and general museum conservation needs.

3. Forms of traditional cultural expression: Such as traditional music, indigenous languages, and crafts.

Applicants must meet the following requirements to be eligible:

1. Must be non-commercial entities, such as non-governmental organizations, museums, ministries of culture, or similar institutions and organizations.

2. Must be able to demonstrate that you have the requisite experience and capacity to manage projects to preserve cultural heritage.

All eligible applicants must submit their proposals via email to [email protected] no later than February 2, 2017. Any proposals submitted after this time will not be accepted.

The Department of State established the AFCP at the request of the US Congress in 2001 to demonstrate the United States’ commitment to preservation and protection of cultural heritage around the world. Since 2001, the fund has awarded $55 million in support of more than 870 projects in more 125 countries. For more information on the program and creating a valid proposal, click here.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, RFPs

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Bahamas Hurricane Relief Information

Hurricane Relief Donor Information: Family Island Administrator For Affected Islands-NEMA (Bahamas Red Cross) Representatives

The Islands Of The Bahamas are appreciative of all the inquiries and support received thus far in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. There have been numerous communications asking about how persons can help individuals who were affected by the storm. This page has been established as a resource to help aid those in need. We will continue to update this page with the most relevant information needed so we can continue to provide the necessary assistance to persons who are willing to lend a helping hand.

Please go to this site to find out how you can help:

http://www.bahamas.com/hurricane-relief

NEMA (Red Cross) – Grand Bahama Instructions

Information with regards to relief supplies into GBI:

The letter should be addressed to:

NEMA (Bahamas Red Cross)

Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas

Hurricane Matthew Relief Supplies

Attention: Stephanie Barr

Telephone: 242-557-6932

email: [email protected]

The letter must itemize supplies with value of each item.

 

New Providence Instructions

Information with regards to relief supplies into New Providence

Letter should be addressed to:

National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) (Bahamas Red Cross)

Nassau Bahamas

Hurricane Matthew Relief Supplies

Attention: Capt. Stephen Russell

Tel. 242-322-6081/5

Cell:242-376-6362

Email: [email protected]

Copied to: [email protected]    (Eleanor Davis)

[email protected]   (Lindsay Thompson)

[email protected]    (Chrystal Glinton)

Donors should email this information ahead of time so that NEMA (Bahamas Red Cross ) may have on hand  to process.

Bahamas Red Cross Wire Information

USD Funds –   Destination:

CHASUS33
(IBK) JP Morgan Chase Bank,
New York

ABA021000021

Pay to Bank:    /001 1 188448

(BBK) ROYCBSNS RBC Royal Bank Bahamas Limited

Beneficiary Name -The Bahamas Red Cross Society, Account Number & Branch/ Transit / Account number 05165/ 289 423 6 John F. Kennedy Drive Branch

 

 Hurricane Matthew Immediate relief Supplies

  1. Blankets
  1. Hygiene Kits
  1. Kitchen Set
  1. Plastic Sheeting Rolls/Tarpaulin (various sizes)
  1. Water Containers
  1. Chain Saw Kits
  1. Generator Kits
  1. Mattress (single & double/full)
  1. Pillows
  1. Sheet sets
  1. Household Cleaning Kits

 

For further information on relief supplies, please contact NEMA’s representative below:

NEMA Representative 

Ms. Gayle Outten–Moncur

Senior Assistant Secretary 

Ph.: (242) 376-2381

Email: GAYLE OUTTEN MONCUR/CABI/[email protected]

 

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Grand Bahama tourism industry begins rebuilding after Hurricane Matthew

NASSAU, Bahamas – October 12, 2016 — Although Grand Bahama was among those islands hardest hit during the passage of Hurricane Matthew last week, the tourism industry on the island is moving quickly to rebuild itself in an effort to offer something better than ever.

Tourism officials began this effort with a sound assessment of the island’s hotel properties, beaches and other tourist attractions. Bahamas Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe is in Grand Bahama where the assessment is still ongoing.

“We have to be honest about Grand Bahama because that’s the only way we can move forward. Tourism on the island has come to a grinding halt. Hotels, restaurants and tour operators have all been affected by Hurricane Matthew, but there is hope and Grand Bahamians are resilient. Everywhere you go on this island people are working. People are working on their homes; people are working at the hotels to fix those properties. Grand Bahama will rise again, better and stronger,” Wilchcombe said.

“We are still assessing the full extent of the damage and will know better later this week or early next week when Grand Bahama will be fully open for business. We have an incredible team here in Grand Bahama. The tourism team is already back to work and focusing on rebuilding the industry despite dealing with their own personal tragedies.

Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (BMOT) Director for Grand Bahama Betty Bethel said there is a feeling of “optimism” on the island among tourism stakeholders who are hoping to open their resorts and businesses during the “winter season”.

“We are looking at the positives here. This is indeed an opportunity for Grand Bahama to freshen up its tourism product and to create some new product. The relaunch will reflect, I think, a different attitude, a different perspective in terms of tourism on Grand Bahama. We are now focusing on reinventing ourselves.”

“After speaking with several of our partners they are very optimistic that with the restoration of power and water we actually can have a product within two months,” Bethel said.

Many of the resorts on the island have communicated to tourism stakeholders that they expect to open either in November or December.

Based on initial damage assessments, Viva Wyndham Fortuna said it expects to open on November 14.

Castaways, which had roof damage resulting in 32 rooms being out of order, remains open. The hotel has water, wifi and limited electricity.

Pelican Bay had minor roof damage to its conference center, which is currently being repaired. The property is taking corporate business and restoration teams only and is not open to leisure guests. Its restaurant, Sabor, is also open.

Work on Memories Resort is expected to begin soon and the company said in a statement released on Tuesday it is expected to open on December 10. Until then the 500 staff members will undergo extensive customer service retraining ahead of its proposed opening date.

The Grand Lucayan, which includes the Lighthouse Pointe and Breakers Cay, had water damage and roof damage. Lighthouse Pointe is expected to open November 7.

Flamingo Bay Resort had minor damage and is awaiting the restoration of power before opening.

Taino Beach Resort received extensive damage and officials there gave no timeframe for opening.

Old Bahama Bay Resort sustained minimal damage and will open once power and water have been restored.

A team of workers are currently assessing the damage to the Ocean Reef Resort and no opening date has been given at this point.

Travelers are encouraged to reach out to hotels for regular updates on proposed opening dates.

Treasure Bay Casino reported minor damage to its interior, although it suffered major roof damage. The property is proposing to open on October 31.

Clean up of Port Lucaya Marketplace is underway. Businesses in the island’s tourism hub are hoping to reopen soon.

UNEXSO, the local scuba diving and dolphin tour company, sustained no damage and is open for business.

Garden of the Groves had extensive damage to the landscape but restoration efforts are underway. Grand Bahama Nature Tours reported that they were able to secure all of its equipment and will be able to run Jeep, bike, ATV and kayak tours as soon as all routes are assessed and cleared for safety. Tours are expected to recommence on October 31, the company said.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line is still carrying passengers to Freeport, and the company is looking to aggressively promote 2-night Bahamas cruises in hopes of encouraging travel to the island.

Regarding the major cruise lines, Carnival Cruise Lines said they were reviewing upcoming itineraries to make adjustments. Norwegian Cruise Lines said, “Our destination services team is in close contact with officials and operators in Freeport. Assessments are ongoing and we will be communicating with our guests soon if there are any impacts or itinerary changes.”

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Latest accolades for Rhums of Martinique cement island’s status as ‘The Rum Capital of the Caribbean’

NEW YORK, NY (October 12, 2016) – The Rhums of Martinique are on a roll, earning accolades and innovating exclusive new products further cementing the island’s status as The Rum Capital of the Caribbean.

Rhum JM – World’s Finest Spirit

Rhum JM, among Martinique’s most celebrated heritage brands, received the top overall award at the recently concluded Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. The event widely lauded as the “World Championship for Wine and Spirits,” attracted more than 10,000 wine and spirit entries from around the world. Rhum JM topped them all, taking home the Spirit Selection Best Trophy awarded annually to the world’s best overall spirit. Rhum JM also took home two gold medals in the agricultural rum category for the JM Armagnac Cask Finish and the JM 1999 Vintage (15 years). Concours Mondial de Bruxelles awards were determined by 75 professional tasters representing 24 individual countries.

Rhum Clement – World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Rum

Raising the bar on exclusive connoisseurial spirits to new and heretofore unimagined levels of luxury, Martinique’s famed Rhum Clement recently formed an alliance with elite French jeweler Tournaire to launch the world’s most expensive bottle of rum. Espousing Tournaire’s signature style of exquisite architectural jewelry, the new Clement–Tournaire bottle is distinguished by a miniature replica of the historic Great House located on the grounds of the Rhum Clement Distillery carefully crafted to exacting detail in gold and diamonds. Treasures extend within the bottle as well, with vintage 1966 Clement equaling the jewels atop the bottle. Estimated price: 100,000 euros.

Rhum Neisson – World’s First Certified Bio Organic AOC Rum

Rhum Neisson, the smallest rum-producer in Martinique and the last 100% family-owned distillery on the island, announced recently that it has secured the world’s first bio-organic certification for rum. The designation was made by ECOCERT, a certification organization founded in France in 1991 by agronomists to develop agriculture that respects the environment and provide recognition to those who engage in this organic farming. ECOCERT-approved bio-organic rum produced by Rhum Neisson will be available for purchase in Martinique beginning in December 2016.

Muriel Wiltord, Director Americas for the Martinique Promotion Bureau, commented on the latest developments within the island’s rhum industry, saying: “Our island-wide ‘Route des Rhums’ tour connecting all 10 of Martinique’s distilleries has always been a great attraction for spirits lovers. Now, with these latest awards and innovations, a rum journey to Martinique is even more of a must.”

Just as wine lovers travel to France to tour La Route des Vins to discover the finest wines, spirits enthusiasts can revel in the best rums by traveling Martinique’s Route des Rhums.

The island has 10 distilleries producing more than 15 varieties of rums du terroir, as well as many local liquors made from rum. A visitor will soon realize that there is a rum for every palate, and the passionate connoisseur will appreciate Martinique’s vintage dark rum, often compared to a superb cognac.

Free samples are available at each distillery. Visitors can also purchase local rums throughout the island, including upon departure from Lamentin Airport at La Case à Rhum.

For more information on travel to Martinique, please visit www.us.martinique.org. For the latest, up-to-date Martinique Promotion Bureau press kit, visit www.martiniquepresskit.com.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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