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Archive for 2017 News

New Agro-tourism category in 2017 Sustainable Tourism Awards; New May 31 deadline

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (7 March, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has added a new category to its 2017 Sustainable Tourism Awards. The Agro-Tourism Award was developed to reflect the CTO Year of Adventure and as part of the ongoing partnership between the CTO and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), where collaborative efforts have been ongoing to advance the integration of agriculture and tourism.

“When a tourist goes on a farm or community tour, or eats our signature foods prepared by local chefs, everyone benefits. Land remains in agriculture, farm incomes increase, business and employment opportunities are created, the environment is preserved, and the nation’s health and food security status are improved,” notes Ena Harvey, IICA representative in Barbados. “This is what sustainable livelihoods are all about, and can be achieved in great measure through agro-tourism linkages,” she added.

The Agro-Tourism Award  is open to any group, organization, tourism business or attraction that offers an agro-tourism product, which incorporates the elements of food production, culinary output and visitor experiences. Applicants should demonstrate how they have successfully achieved sustainable linkages between agriculture and the tourism industry, which promotes the sharing and preservation of local agriculture and culinary heritage.

“Agro-tourism in the Caribbean is an important and growing niche, which in turn supports expansion in agriculture, promotes our rich culinary heritage, and contributes to generating sustainable livelihoods for local host communities,” said Amanda Charles, the CTO’s sustainable tourism specialist. “In the context of the long-standing partnership with IICA, the CTO is pleased to add the agro-tourism category to its 2017 Sustainable Tourism Awards, and commends IICA for sponsoring this initiative.”

Applicants for the CTO Sustainable Tourism Awards may apply in the following categories:

  • Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Award
  • Destination Stewardship Award
  • Sustainable Accommodation Award
  • Community Benefit Award
  • Heritage Protection Award
  • Biodiversity Conservation Award
  • Agro-Tourism Award in honor of the CTO Year of Adventure

The closing date for receipt of applications is May 31, 2017. For more information, including entry guidelines click here: #CTOSTAwards2017.

CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Awards programme has been in existence for 13 years and recognizes unique and innovative tourism products that embrace sustainable tourism concepts and core values, and help to enhance tourism product offerings. A panel of regional and international tourism and environmental specialists will select the winning projects and the awards will be presented at the State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) being held in Grenada from 9-13 October..

About Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture

The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) work covers topics such as Agribusiness, Agro-Tourism, Food Safety, and Sustainable Development, with flagship projects that address challenges inclusive of Competitiveness, Resilience and Risk Management, and Productivity. IICA is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year, and IICA Barbados is also celebrating 40 years of technical cooperation. IICA and the CTO signed a MOU for cooperation in 2014.

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Antigua and Barbuda featured in fashion mega brand J.Crew Fashion Guide

March 6, 2017 (St. John’s, Antigua) –  Antigua and Barbuda and Curtain Bluff play hosts for the J. Crew Spring/Summer 2017 Style Guide, available in print and online. The destination offers stunning backdrop to the latest fashions from J. Crew, a multi-brand, multi-channel American fashion retailers. It operates more than 551 locations throughout the United States and world, as well as doing business through their catalog and online. J. Crew is one of the most popular brands for women’s, men’s and children’s apparel and accessories, including a wedding line, with an annual revenue of $2.227 billion.

With 3.8 million followers across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and over 80 million copies of catalogs distributed in a year, this is great visibility of Antigua and Barbuda, particularly in the US market, to a targeted demographic.

This Spring/Summer campaign feature, comes after H&M featured Antigua and Barbuda in their 2016 swimsuit commercial, further strengthening the fashion connection to Antigua and Barbuda and encouraging conglomerates and businesses to choose Antigua and Barbuda as their backdrop. This visibility will inspire J. Crew shoppers to discover Antigua and Barbuda firsthand, increasing the number of visitors, with some followers on social media already asking where the photos were taken.

To view the new Spring/Summer Style Campaign visit: https://www.jcrew.com/womens_feature/lifes_a_party.jsp?sidecar=true.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Caribbean Primary School Tourism Writing Competition 2017

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is pleased to announce its  Caribbean Primary School Tourism Writing Competition for 2017, the CTO Year of Adventure in the Caribbean. This competition will open from 1st March – 1st May 2017, for children ages 8 – 12 in every CTO member country and seeks to encourage both creative and formal writing submissions related to strengthening sustainable tourism development in the region.

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St. Kitts reviews UK public relations services

Basseterre, St. Kitts (March 3, 2017) – The St. Kitts Tourism Authority is currently seeking a United Kingdom (UK)-based Public Relations Agency of Record, having today issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for public relations services. The agency would be responsible for providing PR representation for the destination in the UK marketplace, which is a key source market for visitors.

All proposals must be submitted by 4:30pm Atlantic Standard Time on Friday, March 17, 2017.  Proposals should specify exactly how each element of the scope of work will be approached and completed and should cover a 12-month period beginning May 1st 2017.

Below is a summary of the requirements:

  • Demonstrated experience in public relations in the UK.
  • Proven methodology for measurement/ROI of marketing investment – this may include research services such as performing review, analysis and recommendation for various opportunities from media requests for press trips to advertising proposals.
  • Relevant experience and understanding of St. Kitts’ tourism industry.
  • High level of commitment to client service in terms of quality, thoroughness of strategic approach and follow through.
  • Demonstrated existing relationships with general media and key members of the travel industry, across all stakeholder groups, e.g. trade, consumer publications and newspapers; and special interest and lifestyle media which support the destination’s relevant markets, including social media.

Depending on the outcome of written submissions, agencies may be required to make a Skype presentation to the selection committee based on their submissions.  Evaluation of proposals will be completed and submitted by March 24, 2017 with the possibility of presentations, if required, between March 27 and April 5, 2017.

Complete details are provided in the RFP which is available for download in PDF format at https://www.dropbox.com/s/8oslt6n1puzljml/RFP UK Public Relations Consultancy Services- March 3 2017 -.pdf?dl=0.  Any inquiries regarding the RFP should be directed via e-mail to [email protected].

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Antigua and Barbuda’s popular Run In Paradise Half-Marathon set for May 28

February 23, 2017 (St. John’s, Antigua) – A record number of runners on the international, regional and national running scenes are expected to register by February 28 to receive a special rate for the third annual Run in Paradise, hosted in beautiful Antigua and Barbuda.

Run in Paradise, which is set for May 28, 2017, allows runners from around the world the opportunity to explore all that the destination has to offer, with participants treated to a spectacular variety of sights and sounds in Antigua, including the stunning beaches, intimate neighborhoods, rolling hills, and the bustle of energetic St. John’s city.

The event offers a Half Marathon, 5K race and a new 10K distance. For 2017, participants can also expect a revised course, which runs from the V.C. Bird International Airport past the American University of Antigua and the Jabberwock Beach. The course then winds its way through the Paradise View neighbourhood and into the heart of St. John’s before finishing on the beach at historic Fort James.

The race, which has featured professional marathon runners including the 2015 half-marathon winner Mike Korir, of Kenya, and the 2016 winner Elliott Mason, of Antigua, is open to participants of all abilities, including walkers.

Last year’s Run In Paradise attracted participants from ten different countries. Organisers anticipate that with the addition of a 4-days, 3-nights Runcation to Antigua package with airfare and hotel included for US$699, the event will exceed the 2016 numbers.

International participants are personally greeted at the airport by race staff and provided free transportation to the race’s host hotel, the luxurious Antigua Yacht Club Marina and Resort. Participants will also be treated to an optional free tour of the island on Saturday, May 27. Transportation to the start line and back from the finish line is provided for racers staying in the host hotel. After the race, participants and their families will celebrate their accomplishments at the post-race party held on Pigeon Point Beach, with free food and drinks! This is truly a “runcation” in every sense of the word.

For details on runcation packages and to register for the Run In Paradise visit  www.runinparadise.com or contact organisers  in the USA on 1 (786) 269-3432  or  in Antigua and Barbuda on 1 (268) 774 5555. Participants can also follow Run In Paradise on www.facebook.com/runinparadise and on Instagram and Twitter @WeRunAntigua.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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New direct flight: London Heathrow – Barbados by Virgin Atlantic

Commencing Winter 2017, travellers will be able to fly directly between London Heathrow Airport and Grantley Adams International Airport, thanks to a new service from Virgin Atlantic. The new, twice weekly service will launch on December 12, 2017, and flights go on sale from Saturday, February 25.

Currently, flights between Barbados and London are only available to Gatwick Airport. CEO of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), William Griffith, noted that the addition of the new Virgin service will open doors for Barbados. “London Heathrow is the largest airport in the U.K., handling over 70 million passengers annually. These new flights will make Barbados more accessible to passengers travelling on many major airlines that only fly into London Heathrow. We expect that this new route will make Barbados a more competitive and attractive destination to visitors choosing holidays.”

The flights will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays as part of the Winter 2017 schedule using an Airbus A330. This new service means that Virgin Atlantic will now offer up to 11 Barbados flights per week from three U.K. Airports – Gatwick, Manchester and Heathrow.

Shai Weiss, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, welcomed the new service, commenting that “The Caribbean has always been a core market for Virgin Atlantic and so we’re excited to announce we’re offering more choice to our customers with the option of flying from Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester direct to Barbados.”

This news comes on the heels of remarks from the Minister of Tourism and International Transport, the Honourable Richard Sealy, that in 2016 Barbados recorded an all-time high of 6.7% growth in air visitor arrivals. During that year, the U.K. was the primary source market, contributing 35% of stay-over arrivals to the island.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO and CHTA Statement on CARICOM’s Decision to Advance the Regional Tourism Agenda

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (21 February, 2017)The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism development agency, and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the umbrella private sector organization, applaud Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government for taking the lead in recognising the critical contribution of tourism to the economies of member countries and for their commitment to advancing a regional tourism agenda.

Following a presentation, prepared in collaboration with the CHTA, and delivered by CTO secretary general Hugh Riley to the Caribbean leaders at their 28th intersessional in Guyana last week, the Heads of Government supported the advancement of a series of steps addressing transportation and the facilitation of travel, human resource development, building the creative industries, and the marketing of the Caribbean brand.  They also invited CTO and CHTA to come forth with additional information to address the region’s competitiveness and financing for the sustainability of tourism.

They called for an urgent meeting of the Council for Trade and Development (COTED)-Transportation to address air transport issues in particular, including those related to the tourism sector; and supported the establishment of an interim tourism working group to coordinate with regional public and private sector stakeholder groups, the development of specific solutions which can be advanced in priority areas.

The group will comprise representation from the CARICOM Secretariat, the CTO and the CHTA and its mandate includes the preparation of a pilot region-wide public relations and marketing initiative for 2017/2018 for presentation to the Heads at their 38th regular meeting in July.

The CARICOM leaders also agreed that public-private sector partnerships, guiding the development and marketing of tourism for the Caribbean, needed to be more effective and requested that the marketing of tourism encompass, in particular, the eco-tourism product of mainland member states of Belize, Guyana and Suriname.

The CHTA and the CTO firmly believe that tourism is a key driver of socio-economic progress, helping destinations and countries to quickly create jobs and businesses, generate tax revenues and support infrastructure improvements to the benefit of residents and visitor. It is a proven tool to lower unemployment, stimulate indigenous entrepreneurial activity, increase foreign exchange earnings, and grow tax revenues for our treasuries.

However, it is a fiercely competitive business, and we are facing the stark reality that we must find ways of maximizing the collective strength of the Caribbean, if any and all of us are to truly succeed.

The support of the leaders is a progressive and positive move and a welcomed commitment towards furthering the development of our people, so that they can take full advantage of the employment, career and entrepreneurial opportunities available through the region’s largest industry.

We wish to thank the leaders for placing tourism on their agenda. We are particularly appreciative to Prime Minister Perry Christie of the Bahamas, who has responsibility for tourism in the CARICOM quasi-Cabinet, Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe and Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell for advancing the proposed initiative at the meeting.

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