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Archive for 2017 News

Pure Grenada focuses on German market growth

(St. George’s, Grenada) 8th May 2017— Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean is experiencing year on year growth in the German market and the GTA is seeking more opportunities to increase its market share. In April, CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) Patricia Maher visited Germany to meet with travel agents, tour operators and airlines that are Grenada’s partners. The meeting with the decision makers of Condor Airlines was especially enlightening as Pure Grenada was commended for already being 20% ahead of its bookings last year.

The GTA CEO was able to meet with Head of Network Development Long Haul for Condor Airlines Wilken Bellmann and his Junior Manager Ruben Schmidt. Coming out of that meeting it was agreed that focus should be placed on growing Winter season bookings.

CEO Maher says, “ I was excited to hear that CONDOR is partnering with Caribbean Airlines and are in negotiations with LIAT for connecting flights. This is great news for us especially for Summer 2017. Germans can check-in in Frankfurt and connect seamlessly with luggage on LIAT to Pure Grenada. CONDOR are also code sharing with Air China so it makes Frankfurt a seamless hub to Asia for Grenada.”

Subsequently, meetings were held with key persons at Thomas Cook/Neckermann and DerTouristik/Meier’s Weltreisen Tour Operators to discuss the promotion of destination Pure Grenada. Ideas were shared on how to reach the travel agents who sell long haul destinations through special mailings, cooperative advertising and increased roadshows.

As part of the visit, the CEO and German sales team representatives ensured that they paid visits to travel agents in Wiesbaden and at Frankfurt Airport to engage them on selling Grenada as a destination. The selection of hotels in the catalogues were explained and the reasons why Germans would love the destination were highlighted. Ms. Maher is fluent in the German language and conducted all meetings and interviews in German.

During the busy period, CEO Maher was also able to conduct interviews with Sylvia Raschke from Touristik Aktuell and Martina Feyerherd from FVW AG. Both journalists were provided with statistics on visitor arrivals from Germany. In addition, they were updated on new hotel and attraction developments and are excited about the destination.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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`Showcase Antigua and Barbuda’ offers new travel business with major developments to watch

May 8, 2017 (St. John’s, Antigua) – Tourism buyers from the United Kingdom, Europe and North America will meet tourism suppliers from Antigua and Barbuda as well as nearby destinations, at the upcoming ‘Showcase Antigua Barbuda’ to be held  in Antigua from May 17, 2017.

The annual business development event organized by the Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association and the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority, provides one full day of pre-scheduled appointment sessions and activities where wholesalers and tour operators from around the world meet and conduct business with regional suppliers in the tourism industry.

Antigua and Barbuda Tourism officials are preparing to meet and wow the buyers who by sending their clients to Antigua and Barbuda bring big business to the destination.

Tourism Minister, The Hon. Asot Michael said, “Showcase Antigua Barbuda is an opportunity for the destination and our suppliers to impact sales to Antigua and Barbuda from the main source markets in the US, UK and Europe and to grow regional business by highlighting our position as an airline hub.

The event is extremely beneficial to our unique, boutique properties who may not always attend the major travel shows to make contact with buyers looking for the smaller, indigenous properties, and to take advantage of opportunities available in this niche.”

Buyers registered to date include: JetBlue Vacations, American Airlines Vacations, British Airways Holidays, Virgin Holidays, Kenwood Travel, Lusso, Blue Bay Travel Ltd., Air Canada Vacations, West Jet Vacations, Etnia Viaggi, CheapCaribbean.com, Expedia and Booking.com

“Buyers are coming looking for new business; to grow the business they are already doing; and to experience Antigua and Barbuda.

For those who are visiting for the first time, this is an opportunity for us, to show them our product, to share information about new developments and for them to experience Antigua and Barbuda. For those who have been to the destination prior, they are coming to learn why they should continue to keep their eye on the destination,” the Tourism Minister said.

Antigua and Barbuda is proving to be a destination to watch, with major upgrades in the pipeline and infrastructural developments breaking ground in 2017.

Antigua and Barbuda has received accolades as the Caribbean’s Most Romantic Destination and in 2016 was granted UNESCO World Heritage status for the historic Nelson’s Dockyard, and other archaeological sites within the National Parks in Antigua.

The destination is set to welcome exciting new hotel developments with the opening of The Resort at Hodges Bay, a US$50 million 79 suite luxury resort scheduled for later this year. And ground breakings within the last five months have included the five star luxury Callaloo Cay, and the Coconut Beach Resort an Autograph Collection hotel by Marriott. Established hotels are also undergoing renovations as they move towards meeting the changing needs of the consumer.

Tourism air arrivals to Antigua and Barbuda in 2016 were recorded at 265,187 reflecting a growth of 6%. Officials celebrated a milestone as US air arrival figures surpassed the 100,000 mark for the first time in recorded history.

Showcase Antigua Barbuda will include suppliers from the Islands of the North Leeward Islands.  These include Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, St. Maarten, St. Barthelemy, St. Kitts & Nevis.

For information on how to register visit:  Showcase Antigua Barbuda.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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More tour operators coming for Connect Barbados

On May 10, the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) will welcome tour operators from around the world to its premier business-to-business marketplace, Connect Barbados. To date, 87 international tour operators have registered, as compared to just 50 in 2016.

Now in its 12th year, the three-day conference will be hosted under the theme ‘One Team, Winning Together’. Invitations were extended to tour operators across all of the island’s major source markets – the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean and Latin America. These 87 participating tour operators have signed up to meet with local partners including hoteliers and attractions providers, in a series of more than 700 meetings to date.

According to BTMI CEO, William ‘Billy’ Griffith, “Tour operators have been pivotal in driving our arrivals success in the past three years as they continue to play an integral role in delivering package holidays to the island. Connect Barbados seeks to provide them with the opportunity to learn more about and experience the latest product and service developments on island. We will also use this forum to thank local partners for the tremendous contribution they continue to make to the success of Barbados’ primary economic sector.”

Tour operators will be treated to a welcome reception at Gun Hill Signal Station, featuring top local entertainment and cuisine, before proceeding to two full days of business-to-business meetings at the Hilton Barbados Resort. For the closing ceremony, a special ‘Polo under the Stars’ will be orchestrated at the Holder’s Polo Field. On the final day, participants will tour the island for a diverse Attractions Day, inspecting places of interest based on their specialities.

Integrating expert feedback into marketing strategy

“Connect Barbados also facilitates a platform for us to share in participating tour operators’ learnings,” Griffith added. “Holiday makers’ habits continue to evolve with shifting economic climates and changing appetites; therefore, we anticipate that being able to connect local service providers with the agents who have a direct line of communication to potential visitors, and who create holiday packages, will be of invaluable benefit to all parties.

“The conference is extremely timely as there is currently some sociopolitical uncertainty, especially in our major markets, and our tour operators’ feedback will help frame the marketing push for the upcoming summer, fall and peak seasons.”

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Air Canada to service SVG

KINGSTOWN, ST.VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES, May 3, 2017– Air Canada today announced St. Vincent and the Grenadines as one of six new routes for the airline’s winter season. A release issued by Air Canada stated that weekly flights from Toronto to St.Vincent and the Grenadines are now available for purchase at aircanada.com and through travel agents.

According to Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines at Air Canada release “Air Canada is continuing its strategic, global expansion with a diverse range of exciting new non-stop routes this winter to Australia, South America, the Caribbean and the United States,”. The airline says its first long-haul international scheduled service to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the other five destinations, “offers new choices for travellers looking to escape Canadian winters”.

CEO of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority, Glen Beache expressed his elation with the announcement stating that “we are happy to welcome an airline such as Air Canada which has a rich history, to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  We look forward to a successful partnership which will enable both entities to grow.”

The announcement from Air Canada comes as the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority continues on its quest to attract international carriers to the Argyle International Airport (AIA) which was officially opened on February 14th, 2017. The AIA boasts a 2,743 metre (9,000 foot) runway, 45 metres (150 feet) wide and is designed to accommodate aircraft as large as the Boeing 747-400s. The 171,000 square foot terminal building is designed to handle 1.5 million passengers annually, more than five times the capacity at E.T. Joshua. The AIA is further enhanced with jet bridges, lounges, restaurants, bars and other shops, all designed to provide all passengers with an experience in keeping with international standards.

Tourism has been the main foreign exchange earner for St.Vincent and the Grenadines over the last three decades and it is expected that the international airport will increase earnings in this sector.  The Argyle International Airport is also expected to increase accessibility to this multi island destination, attracting direct flights from North America and Europe.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Island Update: What’s new in Curacao

WILLEMSTAD, CURAÇAO – May 2017 – The Southern Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao not only recently graced the pages of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017, the most widely read magazine issue in the world, but this spring, the tiny, yet bustling, nation is upping the ante with a new JetBlue flight schedule, hotel renovations, experiential packages, island-wide promotions, and a full calendar of highly anticipated events. Read below to find out what’s new in Curaçao.

ISLAND NEWS

  • Curaçao Featured in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017

The colorful ABC island of Curaçao set the stage for this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017. Curaçao’s striking blue waters are prominently featured in the magazine, which is on stands now through the end of May. The two-week shoot, which was photographed by veteran photographer Ben Watts, included top models Vita Sidorkina, Rose Bertram, Samantha Hoopes, Barbara Palvin and Myla Dalbesio. The crew stayed at Avila Beach Hotel and explored many of the island’s highlights, including Playa Porto Mari, Jan Thiel, Shete Boka and more. For more information, visit www.si.com/swimsuit/2017/curacao.

  •  JetBlue Adjusting Current Flight Schedule for New York to Curaçao Route

JetBlue is adjusting its current flight schedule to Curaçao. Starting on June 19, travelers can fly nonstop from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport to Curaçao’s Hato International Airport every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Currently, the airline flies non-stop from JFK to Curaçao on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and the trip takes approximately 4.5 hours. In addition to the New York routes, North American travelers can fly direct to the island from Toronto, Miami and Charlotte. For more information, visit www.curacao.com.

  •  Island-Wide Discounts for Summer Travel

In celebration of the Curaçao Hospitality & Tourism Association’s (CHATA) 50th anniversary, travelers can save on travel to Curaçao this summer with exclusive island-wide offers at more than 15 hotels. Travelers can choose from 50th anniversary-themed savings at colorful boutique properties in Pietermaai to laid-back resorts tucked away on the island’s western side, with sales ranging from $50 off room rates, to $50 resort credits to use on dining and spa treatments. For more information or to book, visit www.curacao.com/chata50.

 HOTEL NEWS

  • Scuba Lodge Completes Renovation

The vibrantly colored Scuba Lodge & Ocean Suites in the island’s trendy, up-and-coming area of Pietermaai has renovated one of its five buildings to include six new Superior Rooms. The new rooms include king-size beds, rainfall showers, and small kitchenettes. The 28-room boutique hotel, which is within walking distance of downtown Willemstad and the Queen Emma Bridge, also updated its guest check-in and reception area. For more information, visit www.scubalodge.com.

  • Hilton Curaçao Upgrades Meeting Spaces

The Hilton Curaçao recently upgraded its meetings spaces with new carpeting and aesthetic finishes. The beachfront property has more than 7,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting and event space, including an intimate boardroom for smaller meetings and a large ballroom able to accommodate groups of more than 400. Situated on Piscadera Bay, the resort also features two of Curaçao’s largest beaches, a PADI scuba diving center and on-property casino. For more information, click here or email: [email protected]

  • New Additions at Rancho El Sobrino

Rancho El Sobrino Resort & Restaurant on the island’s rugged west coast has completed its three new studios, which each accommodate two guests and feature wood floors and a modern glass shower. The rooms also include a small kitchen with a gas stove, kettle, refrigerator, coffee machine and more. In addition to the new studios, the property recently began offering car rentals for guests to explore the island. Rentals begin at $40.00/day and guests can pick them up at the hotel or at Hato International Airport. For more information, visit www.ranchoelsobrino.com.

  • Royal Sea Aquarium Resort Introduces New Happy Hours and Breakfast Bar

The Royal Sea Aquarium Resort recently added a new poolside breakfast bar for guests to start their day on the right foot with classic favorites like omelets, pancakes, potatoes, bacon, French toast, fresh fruit and tropical island smoothies. Ideally located on its own private island, the resort also now offers Royal Happy Hours and a Tuesday Night Loko Party featuring eclectic cocktails, a fire show, live entertainment, and Dutch “Dushi” Waffles for dessert. For more information, visit www.royalseaquariumresort.com.

 DINING NEWS

  •  Koko’s Restaurant Opens on Jan Thiel Beach

Jan Thiel Beach recently welcomed Koko’s to its roster of beachside restaurants. The open-air hangout spot serves up a delicious selection of street food, including pulled pork flatbreads, Philly cheesesteaks, a slider trio, and more. The restaurant also offers fresh fruit smoothies, healthy shakes, juices, and cocktails. For more information, visit www.janthielbeach.com.

  • Willemstad Welcomes Shelterrock Paradise

Shelterrock Paradise, a colorful restaurant just outside of downtown Willemstad recently opened its doors. The restaurant boasts breezy wind sails, decorative wooden tables, vibrant color accents and incredible water views for enjoying the sunset. The small eatery, which is already becoming a local favorite, serves up island delights, including BBQ chicken and ribs, fried plantains, peas and rice, fresh fish and more. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/shelterrockparadise.

  • Williburger Opens in Banda Bou

The latest addition to the Curaçao culinary scene is WILLIBURGER in Banda Bou on Curaçao’s west side. The new restaurant recently introduced its very own “kabritu burger,” which is a spicy goat burger. The innovative dish, which is typically served as a stew, has been craftily created into a tasty burger. A portion of the food proceeds go to support talented children and encourage youth entrepreneurship. WILLIBURGER is still in the process of perfecting the dish and plans to expand its “kabritu burger” to various restaurants around the island. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/Williburgerclub.

DIVING NEWS

  • Trunkdivers to Expand Guided Dive Options

This month, Trunkdivers, one of the island’s dive operators, will add three new sites to its guided dive options. The first will take divers to see the caves of Watamula, an area known for its volcanic rock, before exploring a steep drop-off. The dive concludes at Playa Gepi, a small sandy cove on the island’s west coast. Another new guided dive option for advanced open-water certified divers is at North Shore, a site that sits 70-80 feet below sea level. Trunkdivers will also now offer a special archaeological dive in Sint Annabaai upon request. For more information, visit www.trunkdivers.com.

  • Hilton and Caribbean Sea Sports Launch Dive Package

The Hilton Curaçao has partnered with Caribbean Sea Sports to offer a special four-night dive package, which includes accommodations, daily breakfast and WiFi, along with six dives. Travelers will enjoy a two-tank dive each morning to some of Curaçao’s 65 distinct dive sites and will be provided with a tank, weight belt and BCD. The package starts at $530/person and is valid for booking now through June 30, 2017 with travel from May 1-July 31, 2017. To book, call 5999-462-5000 ext. 6011, or email: [email protected]@hilton.com.

  • Substation Curaçao Aids Medical Research

Substation Curaçao has partnered with Sirenas MD, a California-based pharmaceutical company that researches new medicines by studying marine biodiversity. Together, the organizations recently completed a trip to Klein Curaçao in search of new sponges that contain chemical entities that modulate human immune response. The dives were completed in late March and ranged between 300 and 1,000 feet. The crew aboard the mini submarine discovered several new sponges, which are currently being researched in the company’s San Diego facility. For more information, visit www.substation-curacao.com.

  • CURious 2 Dive Offers New Dive and Lionfish Experience

CURious 2 Dive now offers a two-tank dive every Thursday to East Point, a pristine reef on the island’s eastern tip that’s home to a school of tarpon, sharks, eagle rays, barracuda, and turtles. Once the divers resurface, the guides will teach participants how to clean any lionfish that were caught, which can then be sampled at The Pier, a restaurant in the Jan Thiel area. For more information, visit www.curious2dive.com.

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Barbados targeting families for summer with new campaign

The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.’s (BTMI) summer campaign, ‘Brilliant Barbados: Kids Stay and Play Free’, is placing a strong emphasis on added value for kids as they promote Barbados as an ideal destination for families.

“Summer is traditionally a heavy family travel period for us,” reported William ‘Billy’ Griffith, CEO of the BTMI. “In response to that, we’ve developed this campaign in association with key partners here, including hotels and attractions, as we aim to be more competitive to the family audience.”

Under this campaign, kids 16-years-old or younger stay free in participating hotels and play free at participating attractions when accompanied by at least one paying adult. The offer is valid for travel dates between May 1 and October 31, 2017.

“We currently have over 50 accommodations participating in the summer campaign, across several categories,” Griffith added. “From all-inclusive options such as Savannah Beach Hotel on the South Coast, to luxury hotels such as The Crane in the East, as well as a number of villas, condos and apartments; we made sure we are appealing to every class of traveller.”

Rudy Grant, CEO of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BTHA), lauded the BTMI for working with the BHTA to develop the summer campaign. “Joint marketing actions by the BHTA and the BTMI, the marketing arm of Barbados’ tourism industry, creates the ideal partnership for the development of the tourism industry. It allows us to execute comprehensive, cohesive programmes that will appeal to our target markets. The variety of accommodation properties participating in this programme illustrates the diversity of the Barbados tourism product, and creates a better opportunity to entice diverse families looking for the perfect summer holiday. Programmes like these help to reduce the seasonality we normally experience in the hotel sector.”

Entry to several attractions is also being offered to families to enrich their stay. Kids and their parents can enjoy a unique underwater experience in the Atlantis submarine, tee off at Barbados Golf Club, and explore the rugged side of Barbados on an Island Safari, just to name a few.

Strategically enhancing with digital

“We are already marketing the Brilliant Barbados campaign aggressively in all of our international markets through our traditional channels; however we are also supplementing these efforts with a strategic, integrated digital marketing component,” Griffith announced.

The BTMI launched a microsite, www.brilliantbarbados.com, which houses all of the information for the campaign, including descriptions of participating accommodations and attractions. Visitors can discover the uniqueness of destination Barbados, and follow the steps to book their stay.

The campaign is also supported by other digital initiatives including robust social media campaigns on Facebook and Instagram, as well as newsletters and online advertising in prime digital real estate.

“As consumers’ booking habits continue to diversify, we are charged with ensuring we remain competitive, particularly in the digital field. Barbados was recently ranked number one in the English-speaking Caribbean for overall Tourism and Travel Competitiveness in a biennial report published by the World Economic Forum. One of our strongest performing areas was Prioritization of Travel and Tourism Competitiveness, where we ranked number eight in the world. We also had a particularly strong performance in ICT readiness compared to the rest of the region. We therefore see investing in digital as a tactical means of honing our strengths as a destination,” Griffith said.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean is ‘Free to Wonder’

(St. George’s, Grenada) 25th April, 2017— Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean is free to wonder; a fitting catchphrase for the Grenada Tourism Authority’s exciting new lifestyle campaign launched under the umbrella of the Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean brand. The ‘Free To Wonder’ lifestyle campaign digital launch took place at the GTA headquarters on Tuesday 25th April. The campaign which complements the mainstay Pure Grenada brand combines Grenada’s gorgeous backdrop scenery with focus on everyday people who are free to wonder at the many things they can see and do in the destination. Chief Executive Officer of the GTA Patricia Maher introduced the campaign saying ‘Free To Wonder’ is an emotional connection to the tactical Pure Grenada brand. She said quote, “It portrays people like you and me wondering at the beauty of this pure and unspoilt place; that is what we offer visitors and locals alike; and being a safe destination, you are free to wonder on our pristine beaches, free to wonder at our refreshing waterfalls, free to wonder at our treasures beneath the sea and free to wonder with our lovely people.”

Marketing Manager for the GTA Francine Stewart told the gathering of stakeholders and media that ‘Free To Wonder’ is a strategic move on the part of the GTA to enhance the Pure Grenada brand. She said, “ We are proud of this lifestyle campaign and it will be launched in our main markets by our Public Relations and sales partners.” Stewart also thanked local companies Hexive Creative Agency and Grengraphics for creating the campaign and bringing it to fruition. She said, “ It is a pleasure to have worked along with Grenadians to develop this wonderful campaign.”

Immediately following the press launch, the ‘Free To Wonder’ lifestyle campaign was launched digitally via the GTA’s social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter). Followers on social media were encouraged to use the #FreeToWonder in addition to #PureGrenada on GTA’s social media handles @discovergrenada. GTA officials assured stakeholders that the ‘Free To Wonder’ campaign images will be shared with them to maximise their marketing of the destination and their services.

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