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CTO and Travel Foundation launch online training course in sustainable tourism

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados  (15 May, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Caribbean’s tourism development agency, and the Travel Foundation, the international agency that promotes the benefits of tourism to people and the environment, are today launching a free online sustainable tourism course to help increase knowledge of how to review and plan for the sustainable development of Caribbean tourist destinations.

The capacity building online training programme, which is available free of charge to ministries, government departments, tourism authorities and tourist boards engaged in destination management in CTO member countries, focuses on the practical dimensions of sustainable tourism, and seeks to introduce participants to key considerations during the planning and design of tourism activities.

The course will examine what makes tourism both constructive and destructive to host communities, suggest tools for conservation and responsible use of resources, and provide strategies which countries can use to develop and implement their own national initiatives.

“The Caribbean Tourism Organization is pleased to partner with the Travel Foundation to offer this course which provides a roadmap to destination success, with the aim of enhancing regional knowledge and competencies in the theory and practice of sustainable tourism. It is well known that the region is the world’s most tourism-dependent region, therefore, it is imperative that tourism is developed in a manner that ensures long-term benefits and value for Caribbean residents and visitors alike, even as we endeavour to position ourselves as the world’s most desirable, year-round warm weather destination,” the CTO’s secretary general Hugh Riley said.

Benchmarked with good practice case studies, the course will sharpen participants’ ability to plan the development of their local tourism industry in a way that meets the needs of both visitors and host communities, creates a more resilient economy, protects tourism assets and secures the future of Caribbean destinations.

The six modules cover key sustainability topics to include understanding sustainable tourism in the global context of climate change; increasing the socio-economic benefits of tourism; protecting cultural and built heritage; managing the environmental impacts of tourism and planning the sustainable development of each destination.

“At the Travel Foundation, we recognise how important it is for destination authorities to have the knowledge, resources and information available to make sound decisions that will ensure the sustainability of tourism long into the future.  We are working with the CTO because they too have this mindset, and want to ensure the Caribbean is a region where future tourism growth promotes thriving communities and a healthy environment. Together we can work towards achieving this goal,” declared Salli Felton, chief executive officer of the Travel Foundation, which has developed the training.

The course is being offered with an open timeline, but for maximum impact it is recommended that individuals complete the programme within two to four weeks of commencement. Participants are also encouraged to adopt the principles and adapt the best practices showcased in order to enhance the overall quality of their tourism value proposition.

The training course is part of a broader cooperation agreement between the two organizations, which will sign a memorandum of understanding during Caribbean Week New York next month to provide a framework of cooperation and to facilitate collaboration in areas of common interest to contribute to sustainable tourism development in the Caribbean region.

To register for the free online course, please click on the following link: travelfoundationtraining.com/caribbean

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Corporate News, Travel Foundation

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CTO teams up with St. Kitts to host Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (9 May, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism development agency, is partnering with the ministry of tourism in St. Kitts to host a sustainable tourism forum, with a focus on climate change.

Themed, Good for Us, Better for All, the 6-8 September Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum is being held in observance of International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and will bring together local, regional, and international representatives from public and private sector tourism entities, as well as development agencies that offer programming in sustainable tourism, for three days of interactive engagements.

Major elements will include best practice sharing and strategic consultations for a CTO climate adaptation project funded by the Caribbean Development Bank, in order to strengthen holistic destination management approaches in the Caribbean.

“The CTO is honoured to partner with St. Kitts and Nevis to host this forum, which will explore various facets of sustainable tourism, in view of the threats and opportunities for regional tourism development, as a result of climate variability and climate change,” said Amanda Charles, the CTO’s sustainable tourism specialist.

The winner of the 2004 CTO/Travel Mole Sustainable Tourism Award in Destination Stewardship, St Kitts is one of the first destinations in the world to be accepted as an early adopter of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s criteria for destinations. It also is a founding member of the Sustainable Destination Alliance of the Americas, an initiative by the CTO, the Organization of American States, Sustainable Travel International and Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited to promote sustainable destination management in the Caribbean and Central America.

Its many initiatives include the establishment of the Heart of St. Kitts Foundation and Sustainability Charter, which helps businesses understand how their operations contribute to destination-wide sustainability, and to support community projects that make St. Kitts a more sustainable place to live and experience.

“There is an inexorable link between tourism activity and climate change. Tourism therefore must play an integral role in the global response to climate change; a charge St. Kitts takes very seriously. Through the investment of considerable resources into sustainable tourism, St. Kitts is changing the way tourism is perceived and practiced globally, regionally, and at home,” minister of tourism Lindsay Grant said.

The Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum will also feature experiential field visits, a meeting of CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Technical Committee, and winning presentations from CTO’s Primary School Tourism Writing Competition. The event culminates with the presentation ceremony for CTO’s 2017 Sustainable Tourism Awards which recognise regional sustainability champions.

Organising partners include the CTO, the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism, the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council, and Sustainable Travel International. For sponsorship opportunities, and to signal your interest in attending please contact Amanda Charles at [email protected] or  Kennedy Pemberton at [email protected]

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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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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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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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