CTO News

Archive for 2017 News

CTO seeks to strengthen relationship with Emirates Holidays

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (24 April, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism development agency, is seeking to strengthen its relationship with Emirates Holidays, the largest airline tour operator in the Middle East, as it seeks to broaden the Caribbean’s appeal in the Arabian Market.

Meetings with the tour operator have been scheduled this week during Arabian Travel Market (ATM) from 24-27 April, to build on the relationship which began last year when the CTO conducted an in-house training programme in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) for 40 Emirates Holidays reservations, sales and operation staff to familiarize them with the Caribbean product. This after Emirates airlines had announced fights from Dubai to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with a code share agreement with Jet Blue, that opened up numerous Caribbean destinations to the United Arab Emirates.

Joining the CTO UK team at this year’s event – which will include meetings with Royal Caribbean International and other tour operators and social media influencers from the UAE, India and Norther Europe, as well as Caribbean destination briefings with key travel agents within the market – are Jamaica’s minister of tourism Ed Bartlett and officials of the Bahamas ministry of tourism.

“Arabian Travel Market presents a great opportunity for the Caribbean to take our product and services to a wider market. There is a great deal of interest in the Caribbean, and our sporting and cricketing legends have really helped to peak interest in the Caribbean throughout the Middle East and Asia,” said Carol Hay, the CTO’s director of marketing for the UK and Europe.

“We are particularly excited about the opportunity to host two destination briefings for the travel agents, as we know that product knowledge and networking is key to expanding our reach in these markets. It’s also important to have a sustained presence at international tourism events; tourism is an international business, and it is import to be in the arena where important decisions and contacts are made.”

Following ATM the CTO will host and present roadshows across Ireland, Scotland, Scandinavia and Finland from 9-23 May, visiting  Belfast, Dublin and Cork in Ireland; Bergen (Norway), Stockholm (Sweden), Helsinki (Finland) and Aarhus (Denmark); and Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland.

The CTO recently returned from hosting six Caribbean roadshows in France, visiting the cities of Rouen, Caen, Rennes, Nantes, Angers and Tours, and was joined by AMResorts, Barceló Hotels Group, the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board & Film Commission, Discover Dominica Authority and the Jamaica Tourist Board.  The Bahamas ministry of tourism also supplied brochures and a small presentation.

These partners had the opportunity to network and present their destinations and products to over 100 travel agents and tour operators at the events, which attracted key industry professionals from the French market, all interested in learning more about the Caribbean region.

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CTO Earth Day Message 2017 by Hugh Riley, Sec. Gen. CTO

CTO Earth Day Message 2017

by Hugh Riley, Secretary General, Caribbean Tourism Organization

Theme: Environmental and Climate Literacy – The Caribbean is Taking Action

As the world pauses to celebrate Earth Day today, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is pleased to declare its support for actions that make a difference.

It is no secret that the very foundation of Caribbean tourism is our unparalleled natural environment; one that is rich in biodiversity, is virtually unpolluted, boasts landscapes that draw visitors from across the globe, and sustains life and livelihood. In the Caribbean we have a sacred duty to protect these assets by insisting on the development and adoption of sustainable tourism practices, while responsibly sharing our natural treasures with travellers to our shores.

As the Caribbean’s tourism development agency whose purpose is: Leading Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean, the CTO is intimately attuned with the need to respect our earth. It is our belief that there will always be conflict between respect for our planet and the desire to profit from invaluable natural assets that we possess.  Moreover,  we must recognize that destroying our planet in pursuit of economic growth is an existential threat to both present and future generations.

It is for this very reason that the CTO strives to position the Caribbean as a truly sustainable tourism region – a region that leads the global response to climate change by pursuing carbon neutrality, one that actively manages its land, water, and energy resources and decisively employs  technologies that drive resource efficiencies across its tourism supply chains. CTO will also continue to provide the relevant authorities with the tools and data necessary to activate tourism policies and regulations that serve the best interest of the region, while advocating for more responsible behaviour from the larger nations around the world.

We are pleased that Earth Day 2017 focuses on Environmental and Climate Literacy, as we have been developing our Caribbean Tourism Climatic Bulletin in partnership with our colleagues at the Caribbean Institute for Metrology and Hydrology (CIMH). Once finalized, this  bulletin will be a guiding tool for tourism policymakers and businesses to better understand how climate change will impact their livelihoods, and how they can adapt for success while contributing to a better state of affairs.

When seeking to protect our planet, one of the greatest challenges is to enlist all citizens to join the effort. The Caribbean Tourism Organization, through its trained professionals and in conjunction with global and regional partners, is pleased to provide guidance and information on how the actions of any individual can be an effective part of the solution. Happy Earth Day 2017.

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The Grenada Invitational Legacy: Tourism Industry

(St. George’s, Grenada) 11th April, 2017— Everyone’s buzzing about Grenada. That’s the feedback the Grenada Tourism Authority  (GTA) has been receiving from our international partners following the hosting of the historic inaugural Grenada Invitational. The live broadcast of the Invitational was estimated to reach 90 million homes worldwide via ESPN2. During that time, viewers were treated to gorgeous visual presentations of Pure Grenada’s stunning scenery, friendly people and abundant activities for visitors through adverts and promotional videos provided by the GTA.

According to CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority Patricia Maher, “The GTA on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism was delighted to support the hosting of the first Grenada Invitational as we valued the opportunity to showcase Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean to the world.” She further stated, “Our Marketing Manager Francine Stewart dedicated her time and resource to the Local Organizing Committee over an intensive six-month period and the GTA together with our PR Agency CAMC organised our first international press trip group for the year around the event. By all accounts, Grenada got the global brand visibility we were looking for with worldwide coverage of over 90 million viewers of the event on ESPN. The marketing exposure we received for our tourism destination was priceless”.

The 2017 Grenada Invitational was the first event of the track and field season and it attracted some of the top athletes in the world including Grenada’s Kirani James, Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell Brown and Justin Gatlin.  It was a historic moment for Grenada as the achievements of the country’s first Olympic medalist were immortalized with the Athletics Stadium being renamed the Kirani James Athletics Stadium. This moment was crowned by James winning the 400m race to the jubilation of the crowd. Some of the other athletes either posted personal best times or broke national records. Apart from competing, they took time to enjoy Grenada’s natural beauty and they are sharing with the world via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

As for the five members of the GTA organised press trip from Canada, the USA and the Caribbean, they thoroughly enjoyed their experience and are excited to write about destination Pure Grenada. Their social media accounts are buzzing with every moment of their trip including getting the chance to meet Grenadian Olympian Kirani James. The group includes: US travel writer Sarah Greaves Gabbadon (JetSetSarah), Travel Pulses Brian Major, US Journalist Robert Curley, Canadian Travel Press Ann Christine Ruppenstein and Kimberley Honey who writes for the Toronto Star.

According to Grenada Invitational officials, the event will be rebroadcast on Tuesday 11th April, 2017 from 8 to 11pm Eastern time on ESPN Caribbean Network. As part of the arrangement, the 2017 Grenada Invitational will be shown on various ESPN Digital Platforms within a three-month window from the date of the event. Overall, the Grenada Tourism Authority believes that the hosting of the Grenada Invitational and coverage via ESPN will boost arrivals in Grenada in the coming months from all source markets. The GTA would also like to add its special thanks to the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association for its support during the hosting of the event.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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UNWTO/CTO Workshop ends with commitment to improve tourism product and stakeholder engagement

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 5 April 2017 – A regional workshop on sustainable destination management and marketing has ended in Saint Lucia with a commitment by participants to improve the tourism product and stakeholder engagement.

The 27-31 March workshop, organised by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the United Nations agency, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), brought together 26 stakeholders in the tourism industry from 12 CTO member countries to explore ways to make their destinations and the region more globally competitive.

“The workshop is a very pertinent one.  It gives the stakeholders an opportunity to look at sustainable tourism, which is very important to our territories and Caribbean countries,” said Percival Hanley, the general manager of Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Society in St. Kitts.

“Tourism is one of the major industries for our countries and very meaningful to our economies, and is one of the growing industries that will significantly affect our area, not just now but well into the future,” he added.

During the five-day seminar, participants shared best practices, including the successes of destinations outside the Caribbean.

It was an eye opener for Elecia Myers, the senior director for strategic planning and evaluation at the Jamaica ministry of tourism, who said she would now look at sustainable destination management and marketing in a more strategic light.

“I’ve been looking at how I can institute systems at the national level to ensure there is follow through within our agencies, and within our stakeholder practitioners – hoteliers, attractions, transport service providers  – how to infuse strategic planning in a more meaningful and measurable way so we can track it over time,” she said.

For the Turks and Caicos Islands the sessions were quite important because the country is at the crossroads as to where it wants to go in terms of tourism development, said Brian Been, the senior product development officer at the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board.

“Whenever we talk about sustainability, we tend to lean on the environmental side, and not realise there must be a balanced approach,” he said.

The workshop came at a time when destinations are paying greater attention to product development, and social media is changing the way tourism marketing is done.

Among the key areas explored were innovation in marketing, destination competitiveness, developing sustainable tourism experiences and successful models in destination management and marketing. The participants were also able to take the learning process out of the classroom and  into the real world by going on study tours to Fond Latisab Creole Park, Lushan Country Life and Sulphur Springs and Volcano for real-life experiences.

“Sustainable destination management and marketing is an area that most of the countries in our region are looking at seriously – how to we effectively market and manage our destinations so we can be globally competitive,” said Bonita Morgan, the CTO’s director of resource mobilization and development.

The executive training workshop was organized by the CTO and the UNWTO through its Themis Foundation, and was held in collaboration with the Saint Lucia ministry of tourism and the board of tourism.

“This UNWTO/CTO workshop main objective was to constitute a participative platform where we all could share experiences and knowledge as well as instruments that can be applied back in participants’ countries, institutions, businesses and destinations. And I believe we have achieved that objective by bridging theory and practice in a very participative workshop,” said Alba Fernández Alonso, the course coordinator at the Themis Foundation, the entity responsible for implementing the UNWTO’s education and training programme.

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CTO Appoints Business Development Representative for Canada

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (5 April, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism development agency, has appointed experienced travel professional Nancy Drolet as business development representative for Canada.

Ms. Drolet, whose appointment took effect from 1 April, will implement the CTO’s business development plan for the Canadian market, maintain consistent interaction with the travel industry, the Caribbean Diaspora and national tourist office representatives in Canada and organise trade and consumer events, including Caribbean Week Canada, according to Sylma Brown, director of CTO-USA, Inc.

The multilingual Drolet – she speaks English, French and Spanish – is a 25 year veteran of the travel industry, having worked predominantly in sales and marketing for tour operators such as Fiesta Holidays and Thomson Vacations, and Cruise Lines, including Holland America and Windstar Cruises.
After moving to travel retail she worked in senior management positions at Sears Travel, where she managed up to 35 travel agencies.

Ms. Drolet is no stranger to the Caribbean- she worked at Sandals Resorts and Radisson Resorts of the Bahamas.
“I am thrilled to be back working with the Caribbean which has long been a popular vacation destination for Canadians. The Caribbean offers Canadians so much more than sun and sand: the people, the music, the activities on land and sea, the romance of the islands, not to mention the adventure aspect with hiking and untapped natural preserves,” the newly-appointed business development representative said.
“I am looking forward to working with our national tourist offices and our tour operator, airline and retail partners in Canada to grow our business to the Caribbean. Through training and education and partnership, I hope to help the travel trade in Canada discover more about the Caribbean,” she added.
Ms. Drolet can be reached at [email protected] Tel: 905-857-1986.
Canada, normally a robust market for the Caribbean, recorded a decrease in visitors to the Caribbean last year for the first time since 1994, and only the second contraction since 1982. The 3.3 million arrivals from that market represented a 3.4 per cent drop when compared to 2015.

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Pure Grenada celebrates 30-year partnership with British Airways

(St. George’s, Grenada) 3rd April, 2017— On April 1st, 2017 the number 30 held much significance in Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean. British Airways (BA) and Grenada celebrated 30 years of partnership and for three (3) hotels their 30 year commitment to service excellence was also celebrated. A short commemoration ceremony was held at the Maurice Bishop International Airport along with a special treat for visitors arriving on British Airways; sweet steel pan music and refreshing local beverages.

In 1987, then Minister of Tourism Hon. Ben Jones and a crowd of well wishers welcomed the first British Airways flight to Grenada commanded by Captain Doug Hudgell. The flight took 11 hours and 56 minutes landing at the then Point Salines International Airport.  Thirty years later, current Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation, Hon. Clarice Modeste Curwen said she was happy to commemorate the significant anniversary. While there have been some changes over the years the Minister noted, “What has not changed is British Airways commitment to Pure Grenada and our warm and friendly welcome.” In recognition of the anniversary the Minister presented the flight captain with a token of appreciation on behalf of the Government and people of Grenada.

Chairman of the Grenada Tourism Authority Mr. Rodney George thanked British Airways for their partnership and congratulated the Airline for its customer service excellence. He noted, “British Airways has opened up Grenada to the UK and Europe accounting for 30% of visitors from our second largest source market.”

Manager of the Grenada Airports Authority Mrs. Wendy Williams took a step back into history looking at a centre page feature written in British Airways News in 1987. An excerpt read, “It’s not just saffron and nutmeg that make Grenada the isle of spice.  The rich blend of its warm-hearted people and tempestuous past make it an intriguing island to visit.”

BA District Manager for the Central Caribbean Mr. Nigel Blackett said his organization values it partnership with Grenada. As part of the celebrations, he noted that British Airways was providing specials on airfare to and from Grenada during the month of April. He also presented a token of appreciation to Tourism Minister Modeste Curwen to mark the special occasion.

BA Commercial Manager for the Caribbean Diane Corrie recognized three hotels that are British Airways Holidays partners and also celebrating 30 years of operation and commitment to service excellence. She handed over tokens of appreciation to Chairman of the Spice Island Beach Resort, Sir Royston Hopkin, KCMG, Managing Director of the Coyaba Beach Resort Mr. Andre Cherman and Owner of the Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa, Mr. Leo Garbutt. Tourism Minister Modeste Curwen also congratulated the hoteliers on their contributions to the industry. British Airways now operates a twice-weekly service to Grenada.

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UNWTO/CTO Workshop Begins in Saint Lucia

The UNWTO/CTO Workshop in Saint Lucia on Sustainable Tourism Destination Management & Marketing, organized by the World Tourism Organization, its UNWTO.Themis Foundation and the Caribbean Tourism Ogranization (CTO) in collaboration with Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), was inaugurated on 27th March by Mr. Hugh Riley, Secretary General & Chief Executive Officer, Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Ms. Alba Fernandez Alonso, UNWTO.Themis Foundation Course Coordinator, Hon. Dominic Fedee, Minister of Tourism, Information & Broadcasting, Ministry of Tourism, Information & Broadcasting and the facilitators of the workshop, Ms. Kathleen Pessolano and Mr. Jonathon Day.
Read more:

http://themis.unwto.org/news/2017-03-28/inaugurated-unwtocto-workshop-sustainable-tourism-destination-management-marketing-s

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