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Archive for 2016 News

UNWTO head to make first ever appearance at CTO State of the Tourism Industry Conference

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 3 August, 2016 –  The head of the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable tourism will make his first ever appearance at a Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) event when he presents at the State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) next month.

Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Taleb Rifai will be joined by the president of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) David Scowsill and CTO secretary general Hugh Riley on a panel to discuss how to pilot an industry through a perpetual state of flux.

“The commitment of the UNWTO and the WTTC to participate in this conference fulfils our mandate to make leaders of the global tourism industry accessible to our members, to share information with us and exchange ideas on how to resolve issues and challenges and how to take advantage of opportunities in tourism globally,” Mr. Riley said.

During the session entitled, No Place For The Status Quo, the tourism leaders will delve into factors, such as changing demographics and attitudes, which drive the tourism industry into a state of constant transition, and how to continuously align the product to consumers’ tastes.

“There really is no status quo in the tourism sector. Things are constantly changing; it’s a dynamic industry, it’s vulnerable to external shocks but it always recovers. When we look at issues that affect public health, security, terrorism, economic shocks, all of these things affect the success and the sustainability of the tourism sector,” the CTO secretary general added.

The session takes place from 9:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Friday 16 September, immediately following the feature address by Craig Landry, the president of Air Canada Leisure Group.

The State of the Tourism Industry Conference, which has as its theme, Honouring Our Legacy, Defining Our Future, is the pre-eminent tourism gathering in the region. It brings together tourism decision-makers, including ministers, commissioners and directors of tourism, hotel and airline executives, travel agents, students, the media and persons directly and indirectly involved in tourism. It is preceded by CTO business meetings, including meetings of the board of directors and the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism.

A number of other presenters have been confirmed for SOTIC, which will explore subjects ranging from how to transition the product and multicultural and emerging markets to creating a luxury experience and the sharing economy.

This year’s conference at the Hilton Barbados Resort is organized in collaboration with Barbados’ Ministry of Tourism and International Transport and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

For more information on SOTIC, including how you can register, participate and benefit, visit www.onecaribbean.org.  For a sound bite from the CTO secretary general, please click on the following link: http://bit.ly/2ay99wO

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, SOTIC

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Saint Lucia Agent Months: Travel agents invited to experience destination firsthand

SAINT LUCIA (August 2, 2016) The Saint Lucia Tourist Board has launched its annual travel agent incentive program, Saint Lucia Agent Months (SLAM). Created to showcase Saint Lucia to visiting travel agents, SLAM runs through November 30, 2016, and includes booking incentives and special rates on accommodations.

Designed to provide travel agents with an immersive Saint Lucia experience, the Tourist Board has planned diverse tours, land and sea excursions, and opportunities to enjoy authentic island cuisine. SLAM also grants agents access to the island’s award-winning hotels and resorts through planned site inspections.

“Saint Lucia Agent Months are back by popular demand,” said Tracey Warner Arnold, deputy director of Tourism for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board. “Travel agents appreciate the flexibility to explore and enjoy the island as their clients would, which ultimately helps travel agents create memorable vacations, honeymoons and even weddings for their clients.”

American Airlines is offering travel agents with valid IATAN cards discounts of up to 20 percent off fares to Saint Lucia from September 6 through December 15, 2016.

Participating SLAM hotels include: Alize Inn, Anse Chastanet, Apartment Espoir, Bay Gardens Beach Resort and Spa, Bay Gardens Hotel, Bay Gardens Inn, Blu St. Lucia, Calabash Cove, Calabash Mountain Villa, Cap Maison, Capella Marigot Bay Resort & Marina, Coco Palm, Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa, East Winds Inn East, Fond Doux, Harmony Suites, Hotel Chocolat, Jade Mountain, La Dauphine Estate, Ladera, Marigot Beach Club & Dive Resort

Rendezvous, Royal St. Lucia, St. James’s Club Morgan Bay, Stonefield Resort, Sugar Beach A Viceroy Resort, The BodyHoilday, The Landings, Villa Beach Cottages, Windjammer Landing.

For more information about Saint Lucia Agent Months offers, travel agents can visit www.stlucia.org/travel-trade/saint-lucia-agent-month/<http://www.stlucia.org/travel-trade/saint-lucia-agent-month/>, email: [email protected] or contact a North America-based Saint Lucia representative:

Mid-Atlantic
Hortensia Joseph
Phone: 908-486-2559
Email: [email protected]

North East/West Coast
Lorine Charles-St. Jules
Phone: 212-867-2950
Email: [email protected]

South East/South West
Kelly Fontenelle- Clarke
Phone: 678-377-0170
Email: [email protected]

Mid-West
Ingrid Stewart
Phone: 708-922-0369
Email: [email protected]

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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St. Lucia rocks when Canadians Unlock!

SAINT LUCIA (July 27, 2016) – From the top of the Pitons to the coral reefs dotting the shoreline, Saint Lucia’s natural beauty offers summer vacationers a distinct blend of island adventure and Caribbean vibes. The picturesque island also provides the ideal setting to inspire #UnlockSaintLucia, a social media photo sharing campaign, where Canadians work together to help unlock exclusive, time-limited travel deals for an idyllic Saint Lucia getaway.

Starting July 27 and running until August 31, 2016, Canadian travellers are urged to share photos showcasing their perfect Saint Lucia getaway using the hashtag #UnlockSaintLucia on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. When 25 or more photos are shared each week, a unique deal will be “unlocked” for a limited time, and will be available to Canadians travelling to Saint Lucia until the countdown timer at http://www.stlucia.org/st-lucia-rocks/ runs out.

The social campaign runs for 5 weeks, and will feature 7 deals exclusively for Canadians travelling to Saint Lucia, including free admission to some of Saint Lucia’s biggest attractions. The complete list of deals includes:

  • FREE beach-side massage for two by Touch Therapies Day Spa.
  • FREE tour of the drive-in volcano and soak in the iconic Sulphur Springs mud baths located in Soufrière for a family of four*.
  • FREE tour of Tet Paul Nature Trail for a family of four.
  • FREE tour of Pigeon Island National Landmark for a family of four.
  • 50% off a ziplining tour at Rainforest Adventures for a family of four.
  • FREE two-hour pass for a family of four to Splash Island Water Park, the Caribbean’s first open-water sports park, located in the northwest coast of the island.
  • FREE Segway tour by LucianStyle Development Corporation for a family of four.

 As the entire island of Saint Lucia can be driven in under 2-hours, travellers can easily take advantage of every deal they unlock.

“Summer in Saint Lucia is full of adventure and packed with value,” said Tracey Warner Arnold, Deputy Director of Tourism for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board. “Special savings on tours and attractions found only in Saint Lucia are the perfect complement to summer vacations for both couples and families.”

There is no purchase necessary to claim a deal, and deals will be available to all Canadians travelling to Saint Lucia. Once each deal is unlocked, visit http://www.stlucia.org/st-lucia-rocks/ and complete the simple online form to claim the offers. All deals must be claimed before the countdown timer expires, but can be redeemed up to September 30, 2016. Details for redeeming the deals will be sent by email.

For more information about the island of Saint Lucia, call 1-800-869-0377and visit www.stlucia.org.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Saint Lucia celebrates 2nd Annual PADI Women’s Dive Day

SAINT LUCIA (July 22, 2016) – The Saint Lucia Tourist Board is pleased to have joined divers around the globe on Saturday July 16th, 2016 to celebrate the second annual PADI Women’s Dive Day.

Last year, PADI Women’s Dive Day featured events across 65 countries and all seven continents. Men and women from Alaska to Argentina, France to the Philippines enjoyed a day of diving together to celebrate the contributions of women to the sport. PADI Women’s Dive Day espouses that scuba diving is about community, as diving is a great way to network and share experiences with friends or family.

The event was promoted locally with a competition for the female divers. Hoteliers and Dive Shops around the island were invited to submit a nomination of their best female diver(s) and their accomplishments and provide a reason why these women should be recognized for PADI Women’s Dive Day. Nominations were received from the following:

  • Dive Saint Lucia – Wendy John
  • Dive Saint Lucia – Dawn Shewan
  • Body Holiday – Nikelia Williams
  • Body Holiday – Merlissa Brown
  • Anse Chastanet Hotel – Zita Glace
  • Sandals Grande – Nathalia Clement
  • Sea Adventures Inc – Hardasher Agdomar
  • Eastern Caribbean Diving – Eget Martyr

 The nominees were asked to submit a video and a biography and were assessed based on Dive knowledge/experience, overall presentation of the submission, and video content.

1st place went to Dawn Shewan (Dive Saint Lucia), in 2nd place was Nathalia Clement (Sandals Grande) and 3rd place went to Zita Glace (Scuba St. Lucia).

The SLTB’s Marketing Manager for Niche Markets Jemima Lorde expressed delight that Saint Lucia seized the opportunity to recognize its women folk in this capacity.  Lorde, a former PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, EFR (Emergency First Response) Instructor as well as a swim coach, highlighted the “struggles and hardship that one must endure (especially as a female) in becoming a professional diver let alone making it a lifelong career.”

The following hotels have partnered with the Saint Lucia Tourist Board to provide prizes for the participants: Ti Kaye Resort & Spa, Bay Gardens Hotel, Royal St Lucia Resort & Spa and BLU Hotel.

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

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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British Virgin Islands Tourist Board announces new BVI Secrets Revealed Travel Agent Specialist Program

TORTOLA, B.V.I. — The British Virgin Islands Tourist Board (BVITB) proudly announces the launch of the BVI Secrets Revealed Travel Agent Specialist Program, along with its accompanying mobile app and website, www.bvisecretsrevealed.com. This program will connect the travel advisor community to the BVI by offering industry insiders access to exclusive insights and tools that allow clients to discover the unique and exciting aspects of the destination.

The BVI Secrets Revealed Travel Agent Specialist Program features three main areas of content: Destination Discovery, Product Showcase & Supplier Directory, and the Sales Toolbox. The tabs enable professionals to continually discover, re-visit, share, and reinforce their sales knowledge of the BVI, while empowering them to tell the most impactful story possible about the destination. Travel advisors will be able to easily access all the sales collateral they need, including videos, brochures, presentations, top 10 lists, maps, and more. By allowing users to select filters and quickly find properties that will surprise and delight clients, the new mobile app and website are indispensable tools for travel advisors.

After registering and completing a specialist program exam, travel advisors will be able to participate in on-site training and one-on-one webinars with Business Development Managers. As an added bonus, advisors who complete training will be qualified to win a complimentary trip to the BVI in 2017 and beyond. Additionally, a rewards program for travel advisors will kick off in 2017.

“We’re thrilled to work more closely with the travel advisor community through our new BVI Secrets Revealed Travel Agent Specialist Program,” said Sharon Flax-Mars, Director of Tourism. “This program provides advisors with all the tools they need to book trips for their clients to our beautiful piece of paradise and help them discover Nature’s Little Secrets.”

As a BVI Secrets Revealed Specialist/Advisor, each member will receive:
•        A personalized certificate
•         Continuing Education credits from the US Travel Institute
•         Marketing collateral templates
•         Sales Support from Business Development Managers
•         Concierge support for clients
•         Access to special rates from industry partners
•         Access to consumers via the BVITB’s website, www.bvitourism.com

The program can be accessed via the BVI Secrets Revealed Sales Companion mobile app, available for iOS and Android, or the dedicated website, www.bvisecretsrevealed.com.

The BVI has recently received accolades in the travel industry. BVI’s Virgin Gorda was named The Best Island in the Caribbean, Bermuda, and the Bahamas in Travel + Leisure’s annual “World’s Best Awards.” Additionally, the BVI was named the #1 Best Place to Visit in the Caribbean by US News & World Report.
 

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Visitors spending more in Barbados

BARBADOS, Bridgetown. July 11, 2016 – Long stay visitors to Barbados spent 20 percent more money during the first quarter of 2016 than during the same period in 2015. 

These are the findings of the quarterly survey conducted by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) on behalf of the destination.  According to the report, total visitor expenditure on island grew from US $280 million to US $337 million in the first quarter.  This was achieved through a 14.9 percent increase in visitor average length of stay and a total growth of 7.4 percent in visitor arrivals. The latter compensated for a decline in the average daily spend of 5.6 percent to generate the recorded growth in expenditure of US $57 million in the first quarter of 2016.

Overall Barbados was able to achieve growth in the average length of stay for all markets during the period with the exception of the Caribbean which remained unchanged.  This resulted in an overall increase of 8.9 percent in the visitor expenditure per person per trip.  Additionally, all markets, with the exception of the Caribbean, recorded increases in visitor expenditure per person per trip, with the USA leading the way with an significant 42.4 percent increase in spending by American guests.  Conversely, the Caribbean was the only market that did not record an increase in the visitor expenditure per person per trip.  Instead, there was a 28 percent reduction in average daily spend from that market.

A breakdown of the spending by market during the first quarter revealed that the visitors from the USA market spent the most on average per day; US $240.78 represented an increase of 22 percent or US $43.75.

This coincides with an improved US economy and lower oil prices, as well as additional airlift out of Boston and New York during the reporting period, which generated more than 4800 additional seats.

There was an increase in expenditure from all of the markets, with the exception of the Caribbean. Visitors from the UK contributed to 43 percent of the overall total expenditure with US $146 million, an increase of US $23 million over Q1 2015.  Total expenditure by visitors from the USA and Canada followed with US $83 million and US $53 million, respectively.  Meanwhile, spend by European visitors totaled US $27 million, an increase of eight percent.  On island spend by travelers from other countries, which include Latin America, Asia and Africa rose by three per cent to approximately US $10 million.

Spending Habits

Respondents, who represented one person per family and/or spending party, also revealed details on how they spent their holiday monies.

The largest share of traveler’s spend, 55.1 percent, went to accommodation, a decline of 2.6 percent year-on-year. This was followed by food and beverage outside of the accommodation establishment, 18.2 percent, an increase of 0.5 percent.

Miscellaneous spending was recorded at 10 percent, 1.8 percent more than in the first quarter of 2015, while transportation, entertainment/ recreation and souvenirs all recorded small increases.  Shopping for items not categorized as souvenirs was the only category of spending to record a small decline of 0.6%.

Spending by Types of Accommodation

The CTO report also examined spending by types of lodging.  Visitors using ‘Other Hotel Accommodation’, a category which includes the vast majority of hotel accommodation with the exception of all-inclusive properties, had the largest average daily spend of US $305.69 an increase of 12.5 percent or US $33.97 over Q1 2015.  Barbados achieved increases in average daily spend in the majority of other accommodation categories, including Guest Houses, Friends and Relatives, Villas and Condos.  However, decreases were registered for persons staying in all inclusive accommodation, apartments and ‘Other’ category.

CEO, William Griffith of The Barbados Tourism Marking Inc. (BTMI) mentioned that, “ We continue to be very encouraged by the positive direction in visitor arrivals and, even more importantly, in visitor expenditure. This makes the role of the BTMI and our partners at the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA) and the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) so important in creating more exciting and compelling ways for visitors to spend their money on the island.

Hoteliers had predicted a strong first quarter and these results reflect that expectation. This is just one quarter so we continue to be very cognizant and focused on sustained success in the tourism sector. The recent Brexit decision in the UK has posed a challenge in our number one source market. We are confident that our entire team will rise to the challenge of influencing continued positive growth in the industry”

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Go green on the Caribbean’s Emerald Isle: Montserrat

Brades, Montserrat – July 12, 2016 – The Caribbean island of Montserrat, known as “the other Emerald Isle” – a nation rich in tradition and culture – has reached a new milestone on the road to developing the island’s tourism infrastructure. By focusing on sustainable practices that include ‘green’ energy development and usage, the island continues its efforts to bounce back from the volcanic activity in the mid-1990s.

With the creation and successful testing of two geothermal wells, and plans in place for a third, the foundation has been laid for an energy program that will ensure the destination is fully sustainable. Situated in the region between Weekes Village and Garibaldi Hill, near the now buried capital city of Plymouth, the development of the energy program is critical to the island’s future. Previously a reminder of Montserrat’s past, the ash-laden town, considered a modern-day Pompeii, is now poised to become a major attraction.

In partnership with an Icelandic drilling company, and backed by the UK government’s British Overseas Territory’s Master Plan for Growth, Montserrat’s geothermal wells will produce environmentally-friendly, long-lasting energy, sufficient to power the island in the near future. Geothermal energy is playing a key role in the transformation of the island, making not only a sustainable environment but also an attractive destination.

The island of Montserrat offers an array of activities for travelers including birding, hiking, diving, snorkeling and more. The island is a haven for dive enthusiasts, with pristine reefs communities and marine habitats. The unspoiled island allows travelers to immerse themselves into the local culture and cuisine with no fast food restaurants and little to no traffic on the roads. Additionally, the island offers a number of luxurious villas that won’t break the bank, and provides unbeatable views. Visit www.visitmontserrat.com.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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