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Archive for 2017 News

Arrivals to Belize Continue Steady Growth Path

Overnight Arrivals

Belize City October 16th, 2017– For the first 9 months of 2017, the tourism arrivals continue to show a positive trend. The latest statistics show there was a 7.9% increase in Overnight arrivals in the month of September, representing an increase of over 1,400 visitors. In September 2017, arrivals through the International Airport increased only slightly, as the number of incoming flights were impacted by the threat of storms in the region in the early part of the month. An increase in the arrival of visitors thru the land borders in Northern and Western Belize assisted in these gains during September. The cumulative overnight arrival increase was 8.6% through the first 9 months of the year.

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Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Rainforest Adventures St. Maarten Announces November 2017 Opening

PHILIPSBURG, ST. MAARTEN (October 17, 2017) – Rainforest Adventures has announced a November 2017 opening for the new St. Maarten Rockland Estate eco-park. The park will launch with two signature attractions, The Flying Dutchman — the world’s steepest zip line — and the Soualiga Sky Explorer chairlift, as well as the Emilio Wilson Museum and Emilio’s Restaurant. Additional attractions, including the Sentry Hill Zip Line and the Schooner Ride will open in early 2018.

In partnership with the St. Maarten delegation, representatives of Rockland Estate will be attending the 24th Annual FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show in Merida, Mexico, October 23 – October 27, 2017. They will be at booth B2 and welcome an opportunity to answer questions about, or introduce participants to, what is sure to be the eastern Caribbean’s must-do attraction.

According to Port St. Maarten’s management the eco-park will be a major new attraction and they are proud of the progress the team has made to open the park. They stress how important it is to have stakeholders like Rainforest Adventures and others to be present with them at the FCCA Conference to promote the destination and strongly emphasize the message that St. Maarten is back and open.

“We are very proud and thankful to our engineering and construction teams, their hard work and expertise certainly reduced the damage incurred as a consequence of the hurricane,” says Shaydar Edelmann, General Manager of Rockland Estate. “The people of St. Maarten have come together in strength to restore and rebuild, reestablish the tourism product and kick-start the recovery of our Friendly Island.”

Princess Juliana International Airport has opened to commercial flights and Port St. Maarten is ready to welcome its first commercial cruise vessel on November 5th. Restaurant and attraction businesses are reopening daily and are ready to receive guests.

Opening November 2017 at Rainforest Adventures’ Rockland Estate Eco-Park  

  • The Soualiga Sky Explorer, a four-passenger chairlift, transports guests to the Upper Deck. These decks encircle the mountaintop, one of St. Maarten’s highest points at 1,115 feet, where they will be immersed in spectacular 360-degree views of St. Maarten and its neighboring islands.
  • The Flying Dutchman, the world’s steepest zipline, where guests will experience the thrill of a lifetime as they launch down Sentry Hill on a flight line at 56 mph dropping 1050 feet in elevation over 2630 feet.
  • Each adventure begins in the Emilio Wilson Museum housed in a restored plantation house originally built in the 1700s. Guests will see depictions of what life was like on a plantation and learn about the customs, traditions, lifestyle, and stories that earned Sint Maarten the nickname ‘The Friendly Island’.
  • Emilio’s Restaurant, Maarten’s newest restaurant and entertainment hot spot.

For more information and bookings email [email protected], visit www.rainforestadventure.com/st-maarten or call toll-free from North America at +1.866.SKYTRAM (1.886.759.8726). Follow us @rainforestadventuresxm on Facebook and Instagram.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Remarks by Joy Jibrilu, Chairman, CTO Board of Directors, at the SOTIC 2017

This has been one of the most important weeks in our recent history, with this conference coming in the wake of two of the most vicious hurricanes ever to hit the region, both in terms of intensity and the unforgiving nature of the devastation.

We were challenged this week to explore ways to help lift the people of the affected countries from the hardships imposed on them by the storms.

At the same time, while being sensitive to the impacted members of the CTO family, we were also challenged to consider ways to tell the world that most of the Caribbean remains open for business.

We recognised that there is a need by consumers, the media  and even travel industry professionals, of a greater understanding of the geography of the region.

Hence, there was general agreement that the Caribbean – both public and private sectors – must find the funds to get the message out.

Many of our friends in the local and international media have been doing a fine job is helping us tell the story, for which I’d like to thank them. However, when the crisis is over, when the story ends, when the issues change, the media will move on.

There will still be a need to keep reminding the world that the distance between Barbados and Belize is more than six times as great as Toronto to Montreal; that New York to Chicago is only half as far as the Bahamas to Grenada; Guyana to Cuba is twice as far as London to Rome and that Dominica and the Dominican Republic are more than three times further away from each other than New York to Washington DC.

Amid the adversity, came a renewed spirit of partnership; as cruise lines, the media, the hotel sector and governments, all came together with a single goal in mind – to help the affected recover.

We saw yesterday during the Recover and Rebuild session the spirit of cooperation, as the various partners contributed ideas on how to emerge from the hard times – bigger, stronger and more sustainable.

It was also an opportunity for the affected countries to share their stories and garner support.

This session will help to inform into the UNWTO, Government of Jamaica, World Bank Group and Inter-American Development Bank Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth, scheduled for November 27 to 29 in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Here in Grenada, Minister Ed Bartlett of Jamaica chaired a high-level meeting with the aim of developing a strategic framework for the establishment of a Global Caribbean Tourism Recovery Team (GCTRT) to coordinate the tourism product restoration efforts.

Also present at the meeting were representatives of the UNWTO, the World Travel and Tourism Council, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, the Caribbean Tourism Organization and the Jamaica Tourism Development Company.

It was agreed that a Global Caribbean Tourism Recovery Team (GCTRT) would be established under the chairmanship of Minister Bartlett, and would include representatives of the CHTA, CTO, the WTTC and the UNWTO.

A secretariat will be established, with responsibility for coordinating the technical support, capacity building, communication strategy, multilateral and bilateral agency engagement, as well as the management of public/private partnership arrangements regarding the restoration of the tourism product across the Caribbean.

The secretariat will have its first meeting later in October, when the formal strategic framework and governance structure will be developed.

Now, a brief word on the region’s performance so far this year.

The Caribbean had been performing at a healthy growth rate of 5.2 per cent between January and June, when compared to the same period last year.

This reflected economic stability in the market, expansion and inauguration of flights by major carriers, and new marketing and product development initiatives.

During the first six months, 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 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.

Like tourist arrivals, 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, it is estimated that cruise passenger arrivals to the Caribbean region had reached 15.3 million, 4.0 per cent more than in the corresponding period of 2016. This performance represented the largest number of cruise passengers in the region at this time of year.

However, with the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the growth rate will slow down in the remaining quarters of the year.

Hence, the expected growth rate of tourist arrivals will range between 1.0 per cent and 2.0 per cent in 2017, with the 2018 performance expected to be similar.

Let me take the opportunity on behalf of the chairman, Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar and the CTO, to thank you for your support, Minister Clarice Modeste-Curwen and team at the ministry of tourism; CEO Patricia Maher and the Grenada Tourism Authority team; and our own staff at the CTO for working so hard to execute a more successful SOTIC than many of us could ever have predicted.

Thank you for your participation.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, SOTIC

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Statement by CTO Secretary General, Hugh Riley, at the Opening Ceremony of SOTIC 2017

On behalf of the Chairman of the CTO’s Council of Ministers, whom I will introduce shortly, and on behalf of Mrs. Joy Jibrilu, the Chair of the CTO’s Board of Directors, I welcome you.

When the next chapter in the history of Caribbean tourism is written, the year 2017 will have a special mention.

Specifically, September will be remembered as the month when Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria, and a major earthquake, unleashed fury on parts of our beautiful Caribbean and other sections of The Americas.

Within a matter of weeks Mother Nature wrought her destructive power on Anguilla, Barbuda, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, Cuba, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Florida, Mexico, Puerto Rico, St. Barts, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, Texas, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the U.S Virgin Islands, leaving in her wake death – and damage to property and economies in the tens of billions of dollars.

For us at the CTO, the 2017 State of the Tourism Industry Conference will be remembered as an event that created tremendous ambivalence.

Should we or should we not have a conference at this time?

How should we position it?

Have the reasons we created the SOTIC in the first place all gone away?

How do we balance the competing realities that for some, normality has come to a screeching halt – against the inevitability that life must go on?

And how should we counsel our members? Those that have suffered losses and are now struggling under the weight of the recovery process, are perhaps not able to take time away to attend a conference!

And what about those who were not impacted?

How would they feel if the CTO made a decision to set aside this important gathering, and leave it to the individual countries – each doing their own separate thing to keep their doors open and fuel the engine that keeps their economy running?

Those who are here, have answered those questions for us. In our opinion, and the opinion of our Chairman, whose country itself was impacted, you have made an important decision, and we thank you for being here.

The public sector and the private sector, the journalists, the students and the academics, the country representatives who can barely afford to take time away from the business of reconstructing their lives, we are honored by your presence here.

We have come to a place to share views on best practices, to exchange ideas on the way forward, to say thank you to neighbors and friends, to commiserate with each other, to celebrate being alive, and to take decisive actions that will help us to build economies that are sound and sustainable.

Because we get to write our own chapter in Caribbean tourism history, all of us gathered here over the next three days, actually have the wherewithal to determine the outcome of this conference in some individual way.

This must be the one where we learn from the events of the recent past, using those lessons to build a better, stronger future. The one where we accept that anyone of us can be knocked down hard at any time, but we must learn how to fight through the pain and rise again.

Just ask Grenada. Ask Dr. Keith Mitchell, who was also the Prime Minister when Hurricane Ivan ravaged this island in 2004. Ask Dr. Clarice Modeste, at the time the Minister of Works, what this island looked like with 90% of the buildings damaged.

This could be the SOTIC where we form such a strong One Caribbean Alliance and create such a meaningful resource that we never again find ourselves scrambling for funding just to be able to teach the world the geography of the Caribbean.

This could be the one where we convince our own people of the importance of tourism, not only as a debt reduction, employment generating, foreign exchange earning tool, – which it is – but also as a means to form lasting partnerships and strengthen the bonds among us.

Let us commit to doing whatever we possibly can to get our impacted brothers and sisters up and running again. Let us thank those who have opened their doors and their wallets, their schools and facilities, their hotels and their ships, to provide for and to accommodate their neighbors.

Let us reaffirm our commitment to use the power of the Caribbean brand to convince discerning visitors that the way to enhance their own lives, is to take full advantage of the uniquely enjoyable vacation experiences this region has to offer, knowing full well that the best way to help the Caribbean is to visit the Caribbean.

Let us never lose confidence in the enduring strength of the Caribbean brand.

 

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, SOTIC

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Caribbean Airlines Appoints New Chief Executive Officer

Port of Spain, October 10, 2017: The Board of Directors of Caribbean Airlines is delighted to announce the appointment of Mr. Garvin Medera as the Chief Executive Officer, effective October 10th, 2017.

Mr. Medera is formerly the Chief Executive Officer of Digicel Play, a position he held from December 2015 until his departure earlier this month. With a strong combination of leadership, governance, technical, and communication skills he effectively led that organization, which has revolutionized home entertainment in Trinidad and Tobago. Prior to the role of CEO, Digicel Play, he served in several key leadership positions at Digicel including Chief Operating Officer, General Manager Tobago and Chief Technical Officer, managing the company’s full operational portfolio.

Mr. Medera has an MBA from the University of Oxford, LLB from the University of London and an M.Sc. and B.Sc. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of the West Indies. He is looking forward to leading the transformation that Caribbean Airlines must embrace if the company is to meet the challenges of the fiercely competitive airline industry.
The Board of Directors also expresses its sincere gratitude to the former Chief Executive Officer (Ag.) Captain Jagmohan Singh and the Executive Management Team who ensured that Caribbean Airlines continued to deliver an enhanced travel experience to its valued customers, while the search for a Chief Executive Officer was taking place.

The Board and employees look forward to the innovation and collective capabilities that would be developed under the leadership of the new CEO.

 

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog

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C&W BUSINESS JOINS FORCES WITH THE REGION’S PREMIER TOURISM CONFERENCE

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (9 October, 2017) – C&W Business, part of the Cable & Wireless Communications Group (C&W), a Liberty Global Company, joins forces the region’s premier tourism gathering, the State of the Tourism Industry Conference (#SOTIC2017).

C&W Business has come on as gold sponsor of the event organised by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)  in #PureGrenada from 10-13 October. The CTO’s secretary general Hugh Riley said with technology influencing travel now more than ever before, it was fitting that the telecommunications company would throw its support behind the conference at this time.

“Technology has become an integral part of travel and plays an important role in decision-making as people make travel plans. Whether it’s virtual reality or social media, or simply facilitating communication between the traveller and family and friends back home, there is little that influences travel today as much as technology does,” Mr. Riley said.

“The CTO is proud to welcome C&W Business as a gold sponsor for our State of the Tourism Industry Conference in Grenada. This year’s conference is one of our most important yet as many of our members and faithful partners are recovering from two of the most destructive hurricanes ever to affect our region. There has hardly ever been a time when examining the state of Caribbean tourism and plotting its future was more urgent than right now and it is fitting that C&W Business  should join us in this journey.”

In addition to hosting the luncheon of the CTO ministers, commissioners and directors of tourism, during the conference C&W Business will participate in the panel discussion focused on the steps to rebuild tourism, as well as showcase its comprehensive portfolio of solutions that enable hospitality organisations of any size to achieve their goal.

“Most of our markets depend on tourism to drive their economies,” Garry Sinclair, President of C&W Caribbean said, “as such we invest in world-leading business solutions technology that enables the hotel and tourism sector to provide products and services that are on par with international standards, meets customers’ changing life- style needs and enhances their visitor experience. This ultimately attracts more business to the region.”
SOTIC, which has as its theme Supercharging the Caribbean Brand: Meeting the Needs of the New Explorers, is the preeminent educational forum for Caribbean hospitality and tourism professionals. This year’s conference is being organised by the CTO in collaboration with the Grenada Tourism Authority and Grenada’s ministry of tourism, and will be held from 10-13 October at the Radisson Grenada Beach Resort. The conference will be preceded by business meetings on 9 and 10 October.

Key conference sessions include Infusing Dynamism in Caribbean Tourism, Who are the New Explorers, Business Models that Rock, Turning Our Waters Into Goldmines – Investing in the Blue Economy, and Spicing Up the Caribbean Brand. The highly anticipated tourism youth congress and a Stakeholders Speak Out session are also part of the programme.

For further details on the conference, including how to register, please visithttp://sotic.onecaribbean.org/.

Other SOTIC LIAT, JetBlue, Radisson Grenada Beach Resort, Caribbean  Hotel & Tourism Association, Silver Sands Grenada, Grenada Airports Authority, Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association, Kimpton Kawana Bay, St. George’s University, Caribbean Airlines, British Airways, Netherlands Insurance, Spice Island Beach Resort, Grenlec, National Lottery Authority, Port Louis Grenada, FLOW, Mt. Cinnamon, Le Phare Bleu, Sandals La Source, Coyaba, Bryden & Minors, Real Value, Waggy T Rentals, Belmont Estate, Prickly Bay Marina, Clarkes Court, the Marketing & National Importing Board, Grenada Marine, the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation, River Antoine, Huggins, Independence Agencies, Grenada Breweries and Glenelg.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, SOTIC

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Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum (CSSTF) 2017 Re-scheduled to December 12 & 13

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism once again thank you for your understanding regarding the postponement of our Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum (CSSTF 2017), due to the passage of Hurricane Irma.

We are pleased to announce that CSSTF 2017 has been re-scheduled to December 12 & 13, in Basseterre, St Kitts, with a special Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Workshop to be held for select delegates on December 14.

Regustration for the forum is now open via: caribbeanstc.com.  Previously registered delegates are asked to kindly confirm their participation in the Forum by emailing Mr. Kennedy Pemberton,  [email protected] also copying [email protected].

Person who have paid a registration fee should note that this amount will be applied to the new Forum once attendance is confirmed. If unable to attend, delegates  are encouraged to nominate a suitable replacement, but if such is not possible then we will process the relevant refund based on your instruction.

It is a sombre moment as we reflect on the impacts of recent adverse weather events to many of our islands in the region. Nonetheless, the spirit of our people remains unwavering as we look determinedly towards recovery.  Now more than ever, the Caribbean and friends of the Caribbean must rally together to support the process of rebuilding hurricane-affected destinations.

Let’s meet to discuss and strategise how we can develop more Resilient Tourism Destinations in the frame of the Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum. See you in St. Kitts!

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Climate Smart Forum

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