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The Bahamas Elected Chair of the CTO

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (15 September, 2016) – The Bahamas has been elected Chair of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).  Minister of Tourism for the Bahamas, Obie Wilchcombe, is the new CTO Chairman.

New CTO Chairman Obie Wilchcombe of the Bahamas (right) receives the gavel from his predecessor Richard Sealy of Barbados. Also in photograph, CTO secretary general Hugh Riley (left)

New CTO Chairman Obie Wilchcombe of the Bahamas (right) receives the gavel from his predecessor Richard Sealy of Barbados. Also in photograph, CTO secretary general Hugh Riley (left)

The election took place on September 15th in Barbados, at the organization’s annual general meeting held during the CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC).

Following his election, Mr. Wilchcombe stated: “I intend to build upon what [immediate predecessor Richard Sealy of Barbados] began and I also intend to build on the relationship with the private sector. I’ve always thought that CTO is the body that provides equity and we can (do that); and the way is to speak with the same voice. We also have to deal with the issue of inter-regional travel.”

Minister Wilchcombe will serve a two-year term. It is his second stint as chairman, having previously been elected to the position in 2002.

The Bahamas minister will shortly name his appointee for the post of Chairman of the CTO Board of Directors, since, according to the CTO Constitution, the Board Chairman and the Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism must come from the same Member Country. In addition to the election of the chairman, vice chairs were elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors to represent various sub-groups – Curacao, represents the Dutch Caribbean; Martinique represents the French Caribbean; Barbados and Belize, represent the Independent CARICOM countries and the Turks & Caicos Islands represents the British Overseas Territories.  Each of these Member Countries will form the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, which will be completed with representatives from the private sector.

Today’s vote was in keeping with the CTO constitution which mandates that elections must be held every two years.

This year’s conference at the Hilton Barbados Resort is organized in collaboration with Barbados’ Ministry of Tourism and International Transport and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc and is sponsored by LIAT, the Caribbean Airline and Libris by Photoshelter.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport for Barbados and CTO Chairman Richard Sealy has a special message on SOTIC. To view the message, please click on the following link: http://bit.ly/2comjPC.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Corporate News, SOTIC

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Family Travel Association and Caribbean Tourism Organization announce partnership

NEW YORK, NY, 28 June, 2016: The Family Travel Association (FTA) and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) have formally announced a partnership  to promote a travel agent educational programme for the Caribbean.  As part of the agreement, the CTO and CTO members who join the FTA will be eligible to work with the FTA and CTO in the development of educational material for travel agents. This includes webinars, editorial/content for trade partners, live events (conferences/trade show) participation, promotion on FamilyTravel.org and both the CTO and FTA newsletters.

“Our research indicates that 93 per cent of American parents are either “very likely” or “likely” to travel with their children in the next two years so we are thrilled to be working with the CTO and its members in not just inspiring families to travel, but to help travel agents better understand and sell the Caribbean to this complex demographic,” says Rainer Jenss, FTA President, who founded the organization in 2014 to create a single and collective voice on behalf of the travel industry and those companies that serve traveling families.

“Given the incredible wealth of experiences the Caribbean offers families, this partnership will ensure that travel agents are prepared to meet the needs of this highly lucrative market segment”, added Sylma Brown Bramble, Director CTO-USA, Inc. “We are particularly delighted about the value and opportunity the new FTA and CTO relationship will provide to the OneCaribbean Chapter (OCC) members.  Travel agents are one of our greatest assets in Caribbean destination travel and providing value to them through relationships like this is our way of showing appreciation for the great job that they do selling the Caribbean year after year”.

The One Caribbean Chapter (OCC) was created by the CTO  with the primary purpose of enabling a business environment in which travel professionals can gain access to knowledge of the region and its diverse tourism product; networking opportunities and education on the unique selling proposition of the various Caribbean destinations.

OCC is the vehicle which gives travel agents access and advantage to increase their business to over 28 Caribbean countries under the regional umbrella. The chapter provides education on the myriad niche products available in the Caribbean and destination support to prepare travel professionals for success in selling each country’s unique travel product.  oneCaribbeanchapter.org

For further information on the FTA and CTO upcoming webinars and programmes, please contact: programme and business development executive Wanda Fisher at  (510) 599-9844.

About the Family Travel Association
The Family Travel Association (FTA) was established in 2014 to mobilize the global travel industry around the large – and fast-growing – market for family travel. The organization is connecting the world’s leading travel suppliers, destinations, media brands, and influencers into a global network to grow the market by inspiring families to travel.  By harnessing the collective power and influence of its members, the FTA is educating travelers, the media, and travel agents on the variety of options families have when planning their vacations and what transformational benefits travel offers families.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Caribbean Tourism Organization appoints experienced tourism professional as Sustainable Tourism Product Specialist

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (17 May, 2016) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has appointed Dominican native Amanda Charles as Sustainable Tourism Specialist effective today.

Ms. Charles will coordinate and implement the CTO’s sustainable tourism programme aimed at enhancing the development, growth, quality, competitiveness and sustainability of Caribbean tourism.

Ms Charles is a tourism professional with several years of experience, having worked most recently as the adviser to the directorate of sustainable tourism at the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, a position she held for five years.

While there Ms. Charles coordinated the directorate’s sustainable tourism programme and managed the financial, technical and logistical aspects of the directorate’s projects and activities.

She also worked as a tourism specialist consultant at the Organization of American States (OAS) department of economic development, trade and tourism in Washington, DC and as a project consultant at the OAS department of sustainable development.

A CTO Foundation scholarship winner in 2006 and 2007, Ms. Charles is a graduate of George Washington University in Washington, DC from which she holds a master’s degree in tourism administration, with emphasis on sustainable destination management. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in hospitality and tourism management, with minors in business administration and French, from the State University of New York (SUNY) Plattsburgh.

As the CTO’s sustainable tourism specialist, Ms. Charles will lead the organization’s agenda which includes helping to develop quality standards for Caribbean destinations and their tourism products and services; designing, delivering and/or coordinating training and development programmes dealing with sustainable tourism and product development; and providing and/or facilitating technical advice/assistance on management issues related to product development and sustainable tourism matters to Ministries of Tourism, Boards of Tourism and other public and private sector tourism entities in the CTO member states.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Earth Day Message from the Caribbean Tourism Organization Friday 22 April, 2016

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Today the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) joins the world in recognizing and celebrating Earth Day.

Here at the CTO our core purpose is to lead sustainable tourism as we strive to make the Caribbean the leading sustainable tourism destination in the world.  The tourism sector and the environment are inextricably linked and environmentally responsible tourism is paramount to the sector’s sustainability and overall success.

Tourism must be stewarded and balanced so that the benefits for the environment, the communities it serves, its employees and the economy, outweigh the costs.

Two years ago, we joined the rest of the environmentally-conscious world in lobbying for a new international climate change agreement backed by supportive and where necessary, punitive national initiatives that encourage more responsible environmentally friendly behaviour.

At the recently concluded Conference of Parties 21 *(COP21) the Caribbean’s position was clear and we at the Caribbean Tourism Organization endorsed the call for “1.5 to stay alive”. We were thrilled with the news that an agreement had been reached.

Today, at a ceremony at the United Nations, President Barack Obama of the United States and President Xi Jinping of China will be the first to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change, the first day the United Nations accord will be open for government signatures.

This new agreement offers hope.  As many of CTO’s members are Small Island Developing States (SIDS), we remain optimistic that the tremendous strides made in Paris will help to ensure that this issue continues to occupy a prominent position on the global agenda.

This year’s Earth Day theme ‘Trees for the Earth’ contributes to three main positives for a better world:

  • The mitigation of climate change and pollution,
  • Protection of biodiversity
  • Supporting community and livelihoods

The Caribbean Tourism Organization pledges to pursue additional creative solutions to the many issues that face us, to benefit our citizens and visitors for generations to come. We hope that you will join us in our pledge and be part of the commitment to be socially and environmentally responsible.

Happy Earth Day!

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Caribbean tourism sets new performance records

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (16 Feb. 2016) – For the first time ever since the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) began keeping records, the Caribbean outperformed every major tourism region in the world in setting new arrival and spend records in 2015 while exceeding expectations.

International tourist trips to the region grew by seven per cent to 28.7 million visits, much higher than the projected four to five per cent growth. Visitors spent an estimated $30 billion, a 4.2 per cent rise over the $28.8 billion spent in 2014.

“So 2015 was the second year in a row that the region has done better than the rest of the world, and the sixth consecutive year of growth for the Caribbean,” the CTO’s secretary general Hugh Riley revealed today in announcing  the record performance at a news conference at CTO headquarters, streamed live to a global audience that spanned the Caribbean, the Americas, Europe and as far as Asia.

Mr. Riley attributed the growth to improved global economic conditions in the marketplace; a boost in consumer confidence, particularly in the United States; falling oil prices; rising seat capacity and persistent marketing by CTO member countries and their partners.

The CTO reported growth in all the major markets – the United States, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and South America – with the intra-regional market performing better than it has ever done before.

“Despite concerns about the cost of travel within the region, the intra-Caribbean travel recorded its best performance since we started keeping records. In 2015, traffic from the Caribbean market accounted for six per cent of total arrivals into the region, with 1.7 million visits among the various states, an increase of 11.4 per cent over the previous year,” the CTO secretary general said.

The US, which remains the Caribbean’s primary market, accounting for about 50 per cent of arrivals, grew an impressive 6.3 per cent to 14.3 million visits.

The Canadian market grew by 4.5 per cent to 3.4 million; Europe accounted for 5.2 million visits, a 4.2 per cent jump over the previous year and South America continued its rapid growth, generating 2.1 million visitors, an 18.3 per cent jump over 2014.

Of the 5.2 million European visited, 1.1 million came from the United Kingdom, which recorded a 10.4 per cent rise.

“The European market made significant gains in 2015, with its best performance in seven years. For the first time since 2008, total arrivals from Europe reached the five million mark, a rise of 4.2 per cent compared to 2014. The UK was one of the dominant performers, growing by a healthy 10.4 per cent to 1.1 million visitors. Arrivals from Germany recorded an even better 11.5 per cent rise, while France was relatively flat, increasing by 0.8 per cent.

“Needless to say, we are very pleased with the Caribbean’s performance of stayover arrivals in 2015.  In each Quarter the region recorded at least six per cent growth over the corresponding quarter for 2014; and each month in 2015 was better than the same month the previous year.

“Still, the Caribbean cannot be complacent.  We must continue to grow our traditional markets, strengthen emerging ones and penetrate new sources as we target the 30 million arrivals mark we set some years ago.  Our efforts to improve our product quality, enhance our marketing, grow our rate base, increase our profitability, and constantly offer excellent value for money, must continue,” Mr. Riley advised.

The CTO secretary general also announced growth in the cruise sector, although at a slower rate of 1.3 per cent, with 24.4 million cruises in Caribbean waters.

He said the outlook for 2016 was positive with tourist arrivals expected to increase by 4.5 to 5.5 per cent, while cruise is estimated to record one to two per cent growth, as summer redeployment of ships continues.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Corporate News

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CTO Declares 2016 ‘The Year of Romance in the Caribbean’

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (Jan. 4, 2016) – With the start of the New Year comes the launch of a new initiative by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) – 2016 The Year of Romance in the Caribbean – which celebrates everything romantic about the region. Through the campaign, CTO and its member countries and hotels will highlight the Caribbean as the leading choice for a romance vacation for consumers and travel planners selling the region.

“With over 30 destinations to choose from, the Caribbean region provides the perfect backdrop for a romantic getaway highlighted by pristine beaches, secluded accommodations, an abundance  of land and water activities, top-notch spa services and personalized attention that meets the needs of the most discerning traveler,” said Hugh Riley, secretary general of CTO. “The Year of Romance in the Caribbean will spotlight the romantic features of our region beyond the traditional times of year such as Valentine’s Day. A romantic theme is easily embraced by all of our member destinations 365 days a year,” Riley noted.

Throughout the year, CTO in cooperation with its private sector partner the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association; will assist member countries with an assortment of ideas which can be implemented around the theme of romance to appeal to consumers, travel agents and tour operators. Innovative ideas will be developed around:

♥ First-time or second-time marriages and the renewal of vows

♥ The most romantic locations to “pop the question” or to say “I do”

♥ Inviting celebrity couples to get married in the Caribbean

♥ Revisits by couples who were married or honeymooned in the Caribbean

♥ Couples celebrating milestone anniversaries

♥ Gift registries of romantic vacations in the Caribbean

“We anticipate that in addition to the ideas we provide our members, the countries and hotels will develop their own plan of action for promoting romance in their individual destinations,” said Riley adding: “The theme is inclusive of our partners, both public- and private-sector. Caribbean hotels, travel agents and tour operators are urged to create their own romantic ideas or adopt ones being embraced by the destinations. We envision airline partners getting involved with their own ‘love is in the air’ offers and recognizing  bridal parties onboard who are heading to a destination wedding in the Caribbean. We think video bloggers too will get involved in featuring the winners of the most romantic ideas.”

            CTO envisions 2016 The Year of Romance in the Caribbean as a catalyst for sellers and promoters of weddings and honeymoons, bridal publications and websites as well as wedding planners and service providers at the destination end.

            2016 The Year of Romance in the Caribbean will be promoted through social media and traditional media channels and will create opportunities for travelers and vacation planners to share their experiences and ideas of a romantic Caribbean vacation throughout 2016.

 

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Statement by the Caribbean Tourism Organization on the Paris agreement on climate change

(BRIDGETOWN, Barbados) 12 Dec 2015 The Caribbean region is experiencing the impact of the ravaging effects of climate change. Sea level rise, frequent and intense natural hazards; extended dry seasons resulting in water scarcity, loss of livelihoods and the disappearance of some of our islands are among the present-day dangers that we face.

The tourism sector and the environment are inextricably linked and environmentally responsible tourism is paramount to the sector’s sustainability and overall success.   Tourism must be stewarded and balanced so that the benefits for the environment, the communities it serves, its employees and the economy outweigh the costs. Our commitment to the climate cause is one way to do this.

The Conference of Parties 21 *(COP21) came to a close at the end of last week and the Caribbean’s position was clear.  Caribbean governments and regional agencies joined in one voice to shout their message of ‘1.5 to stay alive’ which urged global partners to support a call to limit warming to below 1.5C – a critical call on which our survival depends!  The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) also endorsed this call!

Many are touting COP21 a success.  The outcome, called the Paris Agreement, has been adopted by 195 nations, and for the first time brings all nations into a common cause based on their historic, current and future responsibilities. This is a huge achievement for the Caribbean.

The universal agreement’s main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

This new agreement offers hope.  As many of CTO’s members are Small Island Developing States (SIDS), we remain optimistic that the tremendous strides made in Paris will help to ensure that this issue continues to occupy a prominent position on the global agenda.  Let us all do our part to support the outcomes in Paris in any way we can.

Please view the video below, which has also been placed on onecaribbean.org, to remind you about the importance of this topic to the Caribbean.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak7cVJ9SXbk&feature=youtu.be

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Corporate News

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