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Archive for Caribbean Recovery

Caribbean Relief Concert Featuring Dollarman, Th3rd, Scheduled Jan. 19 at Union Stage, Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, DC (17 Jan. 2018) – Members of the Caribbean community have planned the first annual live “Caribbean Relief Concert” to raise money for natural disaster relief efforts for those countries impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The concert is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, 19 January at Union Stage, 740 Water Street SW, Washington, D.C. Headline performers include Dollarman and Grammy-nominated artist Th3rd as well as Ras Slick & The Dutty Bus Crew with music by DJ Knightrin, DJ Mystic Vibes and DJ Majestic.

Tickets can be purchased via https://www.unionstage.com/event/1612541 and are $30 for General Admission (standing) and $50 for Premier Plus which offers reserved seats and tables in a raised area that offers great views of the performers. A full dinner and drinks menu is available.

All proceeds from ticket sales will be collected through the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Relief Fund (a 501 c3) via www.gofundme.com/hurricane-relief-fund-cto with monies raised being sent directly to CTO-impacted member states.

Dollarman is a force straight out of Brooklyn known for his dynamically gritty voice and innovative rhyme flow. He has been capturing his audience in a lyrical groove packed with rhythms and rhymes for over 15 years. Dollarman is the featured Dancehall artist on Rock This Party (Everybody Dance Now) produced by Bob Sinclar. The track went to number one on the Billboard Dance Chart in five weeks and won Dollarman a gold record for his vocals.

Leo Sibilly III, better known as the Th3rd, is a singer, songwriter, and music producer who was born and raised in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. He was Grammy nominated for Musiq Soul Child’s single, “I Do.”

The concert is organized by Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, which is proud to be a founding partner of the Caribbean Relief Concert and will preview the 10th annual Events DC Embassy Chef Challenge, an International food competition that features the unique flavors of more than 40 embassies, including numerous Caribbean countries, in a friendly, delicious culinary competition.

In addition to Events DC, event sponsors include the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Knightrin, Hed + Rush Agency, Cutlass & Cane, Union Stage and Music Makes Life Better.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery

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POST HURRICANES CARIBBEAN UPDATE – 6 NOVEMBER, 2017

LONDON,UK (6 Nov., 2017) – As member countries of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) affected by the recent hurricanes Irma and Maria reopen for business, the CTO presents this update, which includes data provided by our partner, OAG, the leading air travel data provider based in the UK, the state of readiness in the member countries and planned events in the coming months, as provided by the member destinations.

The CTO Relief Fund (a 501 c3) helps families and countries rebuild after hurricanes, with monies raised being sent directly to CTO-member destinations affected by the hurricanes. To make a donation, visit www.gofundme.com/hurricane-relief-fund-cto.

Donations through CHTA’s Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund can be made via http://www.tourismcares.org/caribbean.

Download Full Post Hurricanes Caribbean Update Nov. 6, 2017

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery

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Remarks by CTO Chair, Dionisio D’Aguilar Chairman, at WTM News Conference, November 2017

The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens has been quoted so much over the years that it has become somewhat of a cliché. However, in the present context, it is a most appropriate cliché for our circumstances as the Caribbean has witnessed the proverbial tale of two cities during the past ten months or so. We had the best of times, with record performances in the first half of 2017, and for some of our member countries, and by extension the region, the worst of times with the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria.

We began the year growing at a healthy pace of 5.2 per cent between January and June, when compared to the same period last year. This was ahead of the growth rate of 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent which had been our forecast and was a reflection of economic stability in the market, expansion and inauguration of flights by major carriers and new marketing and product development initiatives.

During this period the region recorded 16.6 million international tourist arrivals, some 800 thousand more than in the first six months of 2016. Growth was recorded in all major source markets except South America, which contracted by 14.3 per cent.  Up to June, the European market had grown by 7.9 per cent, Canada by 6.4 per cent, and despite the weak sterling, the UK grew by 4.8 per cent.

In the hotel industry, the half-year outcomes reported by STR Global showed that average occupancy increased marginally by 0.2 percentage points to 70.8 per cent, while the average daily room rate rose slightly by 0.2 per cent, moving from US$220.84 in 2016 to US$221.38 in 2017.

Growth in the cruise sector also remained positive and stronger than the expected performance in the first half of the year. At the end of the first six months of 2017, cruise passenger arrivals to the Caribbean region had reached an estimated 15.3 million, up four per cent over the corresponding period of 2016. This performance represented the largest number of cruise passengers in the region at this time of year.

Then came the hurricanes – first, Irma, then Maria – that inflicted such damage on some of our member countries, causing such despair!

There has been widespread coverage of the damage caused to these countries and territories, the most serious   among them being Anguilla, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Puerto Rico, both Dutch and French Saint Martin and the US Virgin Islands. Understandably, this triggered a slowdown, with travel to many of these destinations having been severely impacted. Consequently, we have revised our forecast for 2017 to between one and two per cent, with a similar growth rate projected for next year.

This is expected to have a significant economic impact, based on predictions by the Caribbean Development Bank; according to the CDB  every one per cent reduction in tourist arrivals could cost US$137 million in lost revenue. Our revised forecast is based on a number of factors, including figures provided by CTO’s partner, OAG, the air travel data provider based here in the UK. Data based on schedules that were provided to OAG by the airlines showed that in October the number of flights to the region fell by 6.7 per cent, while seat capacity contracted by 4.1 per cent.

Among the worst hit destinations, the frequency of flights to Puerto Rico decreased by 25.1 per cent, Dominica by 13.7 per cent, St. Maarten by 12 per cent, the British Virgin Islands by 11.2 per cent, Anguilla by 6.3 per cent and the  US Virgin Islands  by 5.6 per cent.  Seat capacity to all of these destinations was consequently adversely affected with St. Maarten experiencing a near 50 per cent falloff.

Some of these reductions were influenced by Hurricane Harvey, which hit the US mainland, but most were a direct result of Irma and Maria.

It must be noted, however, that Cuba’s capacity grew by 10 per cent despite changes to the schedule. The new services from the US are a major influence on this performance. The largest of the carriers based in the region, Caribbean Airlines and LIAT, both registered declines in capacity, with LIAT falling by 21.3 per cent and Caribbean Airlines by 9.5 per cent. However, overall, air capacity in the region grew by five per cent for the first nine months of 2017 when compared to the same period last year.

As for post-hurricane tourist arrivals, it is still too early to tell, since the October numbers are not yet in. However, with several of the key cruise destinations, including Puerto Rico, St. Maarten and the US Virgin Islands recovering from the impact of the hurricanes, cruise lines made changes to their itineraries  to include alternative regional ports which remained open.

These redeployments have benefited countries such as Curacao, which registered a 138.3 per cent rise in cruise passenger arrivals in September, Jamaica (54.1 per cent), the Cayman Islands and Grenada.

You would have noticed that we predict growth in tourist arrivals this year, albeit slower than expected, which could still mean new record performance for the Caribbean despite the storms. This is mainly due to the fact that some 75 per cent of the Caribbean was unscathed by the hurricanes and continued to welcome visitors.

And, if we are to return to Dickens, there is prodigious strength in sorrow and despair, as a brilliant people rise from this destruction and devastation, with the fighting spirit of the people of the Caribbean, ready to rebuild stronger and more sustainably than before.

Already, virtually all of the affected countries are reporting that they are open again for business, although not at full capacity, with every one of them planning some sort of event either later this year or early next year.

A separate document will be presented to you outlining the state of readiness of these countries.

Thank you all for coming and for helping spread the word that the Caribbean is open for business, and for reminding everyone that the best way to help the Caribbean is to travel to the Caribbean.

 

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery

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Caribbean Rum & Beer Festival Supports Region’s Tourism Recovery Efforts

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (31 October, 2017) – The 2017 Caribbean Rum & Beer Festival is throwing its support behind the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s efforts to help Caribbean families and countries recover and rebuild after the monstrous hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated some member destinations.

The festival, an authentic Caribbean event, will be raising monies for the CTO Hurricane Relief Fund, which was activated through GoFundMe.

“We were horrified by the devastation inflicted on the region by the Category 5 hurricanes in September 2017 and, as an authentic Caribbean event, we felt obligated to assist those affected,” Cheryl Collymore, the festival director said.

“As the region’s tourism development agency, the CTO is a reputable organization with a history of coming to the support of Caribbean countries hit by natural disasters and we are happy to support its efforts.”

The festival will take place on 9 December, 2017 at the Rockley Golf & Country Club in Barbados, and by that time the initial attention on hurricane-hit territories will have started to dwindle, but the struggles suffering of those affected will not have ended.

To support the CTO Hurricane Relief Fund the 2017 Caribbean Rum & Beer Festival has committed to contributing five per cent of ticket and exhibitor space rental to the fund and to encourage regional producers who may not be attending the event to donate bottles of product to the festival to be sold, with 100 per cent of the sale monies going to the fund.

In addition, on-site activities at the festival venue will be organized to raise funds for the CTO Hurricane Relief Fund, while a page has been established on the festival’s website encouraging the population to donate.

“Hurricanes Irma and Maria have had a significant impact on families and countries in the affected countries and we welcome any contribution to the CTO Hurricane Fund,” the CTO’s secretary general Hugh Riley said.

“We are grateful to the organisers of the Caribbean Rum & Beer festival for their generous contribution.”

Those unable to attend the 2017 Caribbean Rum & Beer Festival can still donate to the CTO Hurricane Relief Fund thru their GoFundMe page.

Among activities at the 9 December event are a selection of rum and beer products to sample and purchase, intriguing master classes on a variety of rum and beer related subjects presented by industry experts, a highly competitive highly competitive ‘Rum Cocktail Wars’ bartender competition, creative culinary demonstrations of cooking with rum and beer and chocolate pairing with rum and beer.

The Caribbean Rum & Beer Festival, which has previously been hosted in Barbados, Grenada and St Maarten,  has been awarded a ‘Best Event’ accolade by RAD Season, an international adventure specialist travel company, and was rated as one of the Top 10 Best Drinking Festivals in the World.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery

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BTB extends “A Dollar for the Caribbean Relief Fund” for another month

Belize City, Thursday Nov. 2nd, 2017:  The Dollar for the Caribbean Relief Fund campaign launched last month by the Belize Tourism Board, in collaboration with the tourism industry stakeholders, to assist victims of Hurricanes Irma and Maria has been extended for the entire month of November.  The funds will be collected from October 1- November 30st. Any donations post end date are still welcomed and will be disbursed accordingly.

Both Hurricanes severely devastated many of our Caribbean sister countries earlier in September.

The Belize Tourism Board will donate a $1 for every tourist arrival for the months of October and November and the initiative is that each stakeholder donates a $1 for every guest; therefore, creating a multiplier effect. The BTB initiative is being supported by participating agencies and tourism stakeholders such as the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), the Belize Hotel Association (BHA), Tour Operators, water taxis, hoteliers and local airlines amongst many others.

During the first week of September, category 5 Hurricane Irma pummeled a number of Caribbean countries in the northern Leeward Islands and the northern Caribbean leaving a long trail of devastation. Many residents of these countries were left homeless, without food, power, water and basic essentials.  Two weeks later, Hurricane Maria followed the same path further exacerbating the level of destruction throwing many of these countries in a severe state of desperation and despair. Many of these countries depend on tourism as their chief means of survival and the devastation by both hurricanes has stalled their economies, which may take several months or perhaps years to recover.

The BTB, therefore, hereby appeals to all stakeholders to donate $1 for every passenger/ guest engaged for the month of October towards the Caribbean Relief Fund in order to ease the road to recovery for our Caribbean sister countries.

The funds will be donated to the Caribbean Tourism Organization, in addition to their existing Go fund me Hurricane Relief fund for the Caribbean. Hugh Riley, Secretary General & CEO of CTO, stated “It’s through this Fund that the CTO channels monetary assistance to our impacted member states. Assessments are being conducted of needs through the Ministries of Tourism and the monies collected will be disbursed directly to the people in need in form of food, medication, water, or material for rebuilding. The CTO appreciates all donations to assist in the recovery efforts of these countries.” 

Further information on the A Dollar for the Caribbean Relief Fund campaign and transparency for disbursements of funds can be found http://belizetourismboard.org/caribbean-hurricane-relief/

To confirm your participation please email us at [email protected]

 

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery, Destination News

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Statement by Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism on UNWTO Initiative to Assist in Caribbean Recovery

KINGSTON, Jamaica (4 October, 2017) – Jamaica continues to extend our thoughts and prayers to our Caribbean brothers and sisters, especially residents in those islands that took a direct hit from the recent hurricanes and to everyone who has been or will be affected as a result of these catastrophic storms.

We recognize that the entire Caribbean region will be adversely impacted by the lasting results of Hurricanes Irma and Maria and have set a course of action that is designed to minimize the long-term effect on the region.

We acknowledge, with thanks, receipt from the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), in conjunction with the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), the periodic status reports issued in cooperation with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), and applaud the efforts at assisting the region and ensuring that timely and accurate information is disseminated.

We are aware that CTO and CDEMA technical teams have been on the ground in the various islands doing rapid needs assessments and coordinating with the national authorities in managing the various interventions, to mitigate the pain and hardships that are so pervasive at this time.

As a direct result of these unprecedented hurricanes, a meeting was convened by the World Tourism Organization – the United Nations specialised agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism (UNWTO) – at the General Assembly in Chengdu, China on 13 September, 2017. There were some 10 countries from the Caribbean and Latin America represented at the meeting – Bahamas, Barbados, Colombia, Costa, Cuba, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela – in addition to representatives from the USA, France, Spain, the Netherlands, the UNWTO and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). Trinidad and Tobago, a Caribbean member of the UNWTO, was absent from the general assembly.

The outcome of that meeting was a decision to assist in the Caribbean natural disaster risk management and response initiatives and to include in the programme for the UNWTO, Government of Jamaica and World Bank Group Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism in Montego Bay, Jamaica from 27-29 November, an opportunity for all interested parties to discuss and implement a plan of action.

As a proud host of this important global summit, Jamaica is honoured that the UNWTO has asked that I coordinate its involvement in this recovery effort for the region. The first step therefore was to reach out to the regional tourism organizations – CTO, CHTA and CDEMA – to brainstorm opportunities for collaboration.

Along with representatives of CTO and CHTA, we discussed how the CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) taking place in Grenada on 10 -13 October could feed into the special session in Jamaica, and that a document will emerge from SOTIC which will help to inform that session at the Jamaica/UNWTO summit.

The portion of the SOTIC conference which will inform discussion at the Jamaica/UNWTO event is the Recover & Rebuild session, scheduled for 12 October.

The Recover & Rebuild session will be an in-depth four-hour segment where we will hear from leading experts in disaster preparedness and mitigation, recovery, funding, airport development and maintenance, airlines, cruise lines, telecommunications and media, as well as representatives of the hotel sector and member countries that have experienced – and recovered from – major catastrophes.

Recover & Rebuild will focus on the economic cost of the disasters, including the potential impact on gross domestic product, employment, the cost to rebuild and the recovery time. Key recommendations emerging from Recover & Rebuild will form part of the comprehensive document which we believe will have industry-wide international significance.

We urge everyone in the travel, hospitality and tourism industry including airlines, airport managers, cruise lines, cruise port managers, hoteliers, tour operators, travel agents and my fellow Ministers and Directors of Tourism across the region, as well as in our source markets, especially those in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, to attend both the SOTIC in Grenada from 10 to 13 October and the UNWTO meeting in Montego Bay, Jamaica on 27-29 November. These two crucial events will help set the course for recovery and growth for all of us over the next year and shape the future of tourism for the Caribbean region.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery

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