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Grand Bahama tourism industry begins rebuilding after Hurricane Matthew

NASSAU, Bahamas – October 12, 2016 — Although Grand Bahama was among those islands hardest hit during the passage of Hurricane Matthew last week, the tourism industry on the island is moving quickly to rebuild itself in an effort to offer something better than ever.

Tourism officials began this effort with a sound assessment of the island’s hotel properties, beaches and other tourist attractions. Bahamas Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe is in Grand Bahama where the assessment is still ongoing.

“We have to be honest about Grand Bahama because that’s the only way we can move forward. Tourism on the island has come to a grinding halt. Hotels, restaurants and tour operators have all been affected by Hurricane Matthew, but there is hope and Grand Bahamians are resilient. Everywhere you go on this island people are working. People are working on their homes; people are working at the hotels to fix those properties. Grand Bahama will rise again, better and stronger,” Wilchcombe said.

“We are still assessing the full extent of the damage and will know better later this week or early next week when Grand Bahama will be fully open for business. We have an incredible team here in Grand Bahama. The tourism team is already back to work and focusing on rebuilding the industry despite dealing with their own personal tragedies.

Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (BMOT) Director for Grand Bahama Betty Bethel said there is a feeling of “optimism” on the island among tourism stakeholders who are hoping to open their resorts and businesses during the “winter season”.

“We are looking at the positives here. This is indeed an opportunity for Grand Bahama to freshen up its tourism product and to create some new product. The relaunch will reflect, I think, a different attitude, a different perspective in terms of tourism on Grand Bahama. We are now focusing on reinventing ourselves.”

“After speaking with several of our partners they are very optimistic that with the restoration of power and water we actually can have a product within two months,” Bethel said.

Many of the resorts on the island have communicated to tourism stakeholders that they expect to open either in November or December.

Based on initial damage assessments, Viva Wyndham Fortuna said it expects to open on November 14.

Castaways, which had roof damage resulting in 32 rooms being out of order, remains open. The hotel has water, wifi and limited electricity.

Pelican Bay had minor roof damage to its conference center, which is currently being repaired. The property is taking corporate business and restoration teams only and is not open to leisure guests. Its restaurant, Sabor, is also open.

Work on Memories Resort is expected to begin soon and the company said in a statement released on Tuesday it is expected to open on December 10. Until then the 500 staff members will undergo extensive customer service retraining ahead of its proposed opening date.

The Grand Lucayan, which includes the Lighthouse Pointe and Breakers Cay, had water damage and roof damage. Lighthouse Pointe is expected to open November 7.

Flamingo Bay Resort had minor damage and is awaiting the restoration of power before opening.

Taino Beach Resort received extensive damage and officials there gave no timeframe for opening.

Old Bahama Bay Resort sustained minimal damage and will open once power and water have been restored.

A team of workers are currently assessing the damage to the Ocean Reef Resort and no opening date has been given at this point.

Travelers are encouraged to reach out to hotels for regular updates on proposed opening dates.

Treasure Bay Casino reported minor damage to its interior, although it suffered major roof damage. The property is proposing to open on October 31.

Clean up of Port Lucaya Marketplace is underway. Businesses in the island’s tourism hub are hoping to reopen soon.

UNEXSO, the local scuba diving and dolphin tour company, sustained no damage and is open for business.

Garden of the Groves had extensive damage to the landscape but restoration efforts are underway. Grand Bahama Nature Tours reported that they were able to secure all of its equipment and will be able to run Jeep, bike, ATV and kayak tours as soon as all routes are assessed and cleared for safety. Tours are expected to recommence on October 31, the company said.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line is still carrying passengers to Freeport, and the company is looking to aggressively promote 2-night Bahamas cruises in hopes of encouraging travel to the island.

Regarding the major cruise lines, Carnival Cruise Lines said they were reviewing upcoming itineraries to make adjustments. Norwegian Cruise Lines said, “Our destination services team is in close contact with officials and operators in Freeport. Assessments are ongoing and we will be communicating with our guests soon if there are any impacts or itinerary changes.”

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Latest accolades for Rhums of Martinique cement island’s status as ‘The Rum Capital of the Caribbean’

NEW YORK, NY (October 12, 2016) – The Rhums of Martinique are on a roll, earning accolades and innovating exclusive new products further cementing the island’s status as The Rum Capital of the Caribbean.

Rhum JM – World’s Finest Spirit

Rhum JM, among Martinique’s most celebrated heritage brands, received the top overall award at the recently concluded Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. The event widely lauded as the “World Championship for Wine and Spirits,” attracted more than 10,000 wine and spirit entries from around the world. Rhum JM topped them all, taking home the Spirit Selection Best Trophy awarded annually to the world’s best overall spirit. Rhum JM also took home two gold medals in the agricultural rum category for the JM Armagnac Cask Finish and the JM 1999 Vintage (15 years). Concours Mondial de Bruxelles awards were determined by 75 professional tasters representing 24 individual countries.

Rhum Clement – World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Rum

Raising the bar on exclusive connoisseurial spirits to new and heretofore unimagined levels of luxury, Martinique’s famed Rhum Clement recently formed an alliance with elite French jeweler Tournaire to launch the world’s most expensive bottle of rum. Espousing Tournaire’s signature style of exquisite architectural jewelry, the new Clement–Tournaire bottle is distinguished by a miniature replica of the historic Great House located on the grounds of the Rhum Clement Distillery carefully crafted to exacting detail in gold and diamonds. Treasures extend within the bottle as well, with vintage 1966 Clement equaling the jewels atop the bottle. Estimated price: 100,000 euros.

Rhum Neisson – World’s First Certified Bio Organic AOC Rum

Rhum Neisson, the smallest rum-producer in Martinique and the last 100% family-owned distillery on the island, announced recently that it has secured the world’s first bio-organic certification for rum. The designation was made by ECOCERT, a certification organization founded in France in 1991 by agronomists to develop agriculture that respects the environment and provide recognition to those who engage in this organic farming. ECOCERT-approved bio-organic rum produced by Rhum Neisson will be available for purchase in Martinique beginning in December 2016.

Muriel Wiltord, Director Americas for the Martinique Promotion Bureau, commented on the latest developments within the island’s rhum industry, saying: “Our island-wide ‘Route des Rhums’ tour connecting all 10 of Martinique’s distilleries has always been a great attraction for spirits lovers. Now, with these latest awards and innovations, a rum journey to Martinique is even more of a must.”

Just as wine lovers travel to France to tour La Route des Vins to discover the finest wines, spirits enthusiasts can revel in the best rums by traveling Martinique’s Route des Rhums.

The island has 10 distilleries producing more than 15 varieties of rums du terroir, as well as many local liquors made from rum. A visitor will soon realize that there is a rum for every palate, and the passionate connoisseur will appreciate Martinique’s vintage dark rum, often compared to a superb cognac.

Free samples are available at each distillery. Visitors can also purchase local rums throughout the island, including upon departure from Lamentin Airport at La Case à Rhum.

For more information on travel to Martinique, please visit www.us.martinique.org. For the latest, up-to-date Martinique Promotion Bureau press kit, visit www.martiniquepresskit.com.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Innagural Sea to Sea Marathon coming to Tobago in May

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – October 12, 2016 – Get your running shoes ready! The first-ever Sea to Sea Marathon is coming to Tobago May 20 – 21, 2017. The scenic race, ideal for novice and seasoned runners alike, includes a 5K and 10K on May 20 followed by the full and half marathons on May 21. The Sea to Sea Marathon is the ultimate destination race for runners seeking a picturesque tropical paradise during their trek to the finish line.

The action-packed weekend includes a variety of activities and entertainment for those participating and spectating. During the opening ceremony on Saturday, May 20, entertainment will be provided at the Marathon Village; a breakfast and special “carb loading” dinner will also be served for marathon participants. All of the Sea to Sea Marathon race courses will start in the Main Ridge Forest Reserve near Bloody Bay on the Caribbean Sea and proceed through scenic villages along the Atlantic coast to the capital of Scarborough and on to finish line in Lambeau Beach, Little Rocky Bay.

A destination marathon in Tobago is not only about the marathon itself, but experiencing the island totally, thoroughly and truly from the ground up. During the Sea to Sea Marathon weekend, participants are given time to explore everything the quaint island has to offer from its beaches and culture to forest tours and bird or turtle watching. Those who wish to rest up before the big race can take solace at one of the marathon’s many accommodation partners while taking in magnificent views of the island and Caribbean Sea.

Runners can register individually or as teams of five to 40 people. From now through December 31, adult runners can save US$25 on registration; regular registration ends on May 6. Registration for youth under 20 years is only US$15. The top three male and female finishers will receive trophies and those who finish in the top categories of their race will receive cash prices, while all finishers will receive medals. Overall, the race will distribute more than US$53,000 in cash prizes. For more information, visit www.seatoseamarathon.com.

About Tobago

Tobago, sister island to Trinidad, is the quintessential Caribbean island with secluded beaches, quaint villages, private villas and award-winning eco attractions that include the Main Ridge Rainforest, the oldest protected reserve in the western hemisphere and the world’s largest brain coral. For more information about Tobago, visit www.visittobago.gov.tt.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Aftermath of Hurricane Matthew: Haiti continues to receive visitors for business & leisure

Update # 01: October 11th 2016: The Ministry of Tourism of Haiti, the Haiti Tourism Association (ATH) and the National Network of Solidarity Tourism Operators (RENAPROTS) would like to express their sympathies to all the victims of Hurricane Matthew that severely affected the southern peninsula of Haiti on the 3rd and 4th of October 2016.

As a nation we are already working relentlessly to bring support to our fellow citizens in this difficult time. We would also like to inform all international partners, and persons interested in visiting our beautiful and unique destination of the following:

– Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitien international airports are open and fully operational since Oct 5th.

– 90% of our Tourism infrastructure has not been affected and is ready to welcome guests.

– Traveling to Haiti for leisure, business or to visit friends and families is a positive and constructive way to support the economy as it promotes employment and sustainability.

To all Haiti lovers, we urge you to continue to visit us and experience our culture, cuisine, art & crafts, and historical attractions, helping us drive resources to the most needed areas in a sustainable manner.

BIENVENUE EN HAITI

Media Contact:

Association Touristique d’Haïti (ATH) | Contact: Valerie Louis, Executive Director | [email protected] | +509-2812-8484

Ministère du Tourisme | Contact : Régine Godefroy, International Liaison Officer | Tel. : +509- 3818-8888 |  [email protected] | [email protected]

National Network of Solidarity Tourism Operators (RENAPROTS)| Contact : Abner Septembre | Tel :509-3420-2091 | Email : [email protected]

Notes to Editor:

– Haiti is the 3rd largest Caribbean country, sharing the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic.

– Haiti is sold as a beach and as a touring destination for its unique historic, cultural and natural patrimony.

 

 

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Haïti continue à recevoir des visiteurs pour affaires et loisirs Mise à jour # 01 du secteur touristique suite à l’ouragan Matthew

Le 11 Octobre 2016: Le Ministère du Tourisme d’Haïti, l’Association Touristique d’Haïti (ATH) et le Réseau National des Promoteurs du Tourisme Solidaire (RENAPROTS) tiennent à exprimer leurs sympathies à toutes les victimes de l’ouragan Matthew qui a dévasté la péninsule sud d’Haïti les 3 et 4 Octobre 2016.

En tant que nation, nous travaillons déjà sans relâche pour apporter un soutien à nos concitoyens durant cette période difficile. Nous tenons également à transmettre les informations suivantes à tous les partenaires internationaux et aux personnes intéressées à visiter notre destination:

– Les Aéroports internationaux de Port-au-Prince et du Cap Haïtien sont ouverts et pleinement opérationnels depuis le 5 octobre.

– 90% de notre infrastructure touristique n’a pas été touchée et les opérateurs sont prêts à accueillir leurs clients.

– Voyager en Haïti pour loisirs, affaires ou pour visites familiales est une manière positive et constructive de soutenir l’économie du pays et de favoriser les emplois durables.

Tous les amoureux d’Haïti, sont ainsi conviés à continuer à visiter et découvrir sa culture, sa gastronomie, son art, son artisanat, et ses attractions historiques et culturelles uniques. Cette solidarité permettra également de soutenir de manière durable l’économie des zones affectées.

BIENVENUE EN HAÏTI COMME TOUJOURS

Contacts médias:

Association Touristique d’Haïti (ATH) |Valerie Louis, Directeur exécutif

Email: [email protected] | Tél : + 509-2812-8484

Ministère du Tourisme | Régine Godefroy, Chargée des Relations Internationales

Email: [email protected] | [email protected] Tél. : + 509- 3818-8888

Réseau National des Promoteurs du Tourisme Solidaire (RENAPROTS) | Abner Septembre

Email: [email protected] Tel: + 509-3420-2091

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News, French Releases

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Statia Tourism Launches New Website

ORANJESTAD, St. Eustatius -The St. Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation (STDF) launched a new fully-featured website. The new website www.statia-tourism.com went live on World Tourism Day, September 27, during the Sustainability Conference.

The new website is part of STDF’s ongoing efforts to enhance the quality and availability of information to viewers worldwide. The new site has extensive content and offers quick and easy access to essential information and activities on Statia. The purple and green website boasts a modern and attractive design. The updated information and pictures give visitors a realistic insight into what Statia has to offer.

“We had to make sure the site was ready for the world to see and had every bit of content that we want it to have. As we know, having a website means constant change, and we will be seeing to it that the web pages are highly glossed on a regular basis and accessible to browsers around the clock,” said STDF’s Public Relations Officer Teena Lopes.

“We are also aware that having a website optimized for usage on a laptop, smartphone, tablet, et cetera, is only half the work. We would like to encourage everyone to visit this website and explore its features,” STDF said.

The website also has a page which provides detailed information about STDF. Feedback and opinions for content updates are welcome. “Being active daily and connecting with the world of social media is an intricate part of the development. Hence the reason why we encourage all stakeholders to link this site to theirs and we do the same in return,” STDF stated.

 

 

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Barbados honours the international travel media

BARBADOS, Bridgetown. Sept. 23, 2016 – International media were recognized for their excellence in journalism at the recently concluded Barbados Tourism Media Awards.

The awards, which were themed “Recognizing Excellence in Global Coverage of Destination Barbados,” were conceptualized by the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. in acknowledgement of the positive impact exceptional media coverage can have on would-be travelers. The ceremony, which also coincided with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC), was produced by the BTMI in recognition of the island’s 50th anniversary as an independent nation.

The Take a Bow award – Best of the Best by the Judges of all Submissions went to New Yorker Baz Dreisinger of Forbes in the US, whose article on the Crop Over Festival entitled “Carnival In Barbados: Rules For Doing It Like A Local and In Luxury,” also captured the award in the Golden Pen – Best Story in a Luxury Publication category.  Dreisinger was traveling on assignment but in sending her regards she described Barbados as a place that would always hold special memories for her.

Out of the 53 submitted entries from Canada, the USA, Europe and the UK, Canada copped the most top awards. Britney Hope who was present at the dinner won the category So You Know Your Stuff – Best Feature Article in a Trade Publication. Also present, Cara McLeay in Yup! You Told ‘Em! – Best Story by a Blogger copped this award with her piece “Barbados Diary.”

With a story entitled “5 Reasons To Have Your Wedding In Barbados”, Mara Sofferin took home the award in How Can This Knot Be Love?- Best Story on Romance; while Michael McCarthy hailing from The Province came out on top in #NoFilter – Best Photo in Conjunction With a Feature Article with his “Making Friends in Bridgetown Marketplace” article.

Editor and freelance journalist, Violaine Charest-Sigouin, from ELLE Quebec won the category Is That An Accent? – Best Feature by Foreign Journalist in Foreign Media with a well written piece dubbed “Elle Voyage Barbados” and Doug Wallace from La Carte was not present, however, after winning the Shaken Not Stirred – Epicurean Excellence Media Award category with his entry “Eating Your Way Around Barbados, One Food Stand At a Time” he mentioned in his acceptance video he remarked that “he can’t wait to eat his way around the island again.”

Jon Hawkins was the lone UK finalist and won his category Spoken Like a True Bajan! – Best Feature Article in a Consumer Publication with a piece entitled, “Rum’s The Word.” Meanwhile, Sangita Chandra of ABC Boston won favour with the judges with their broadcast piece titled, “Seaduced and Fish Fry, Barbados Pleasures, Barbados Roots, Barbados Art” in the category Golden Mic – Best Feature Broadcast.

CEO of BTMI, Billy Griffith paid special thanks to all the journalists who took the time to write on Barbados and enter the first ever awards. He also noted, “these awards are the start of many to come and we encourage each of you to keep up the excellent work in the promotion of the Barbados brand.”

Carter Cops Inaugural Heritage Award

This elegant evening, packed with cocktails, a delectable Bajan-inspired four-course dinner by chef Kirk Kirton, and sweet musical symphonies, climaxed with veteran Barbadian journalist, Gercine Carter being conferred with the inaugural Heritage Award – Exceptional National Coverage by a Local Journalist. In reading the citation, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, recognized Carter’s 49-year career in journalism, much of which has been spent raising awareness for the tourism sector.  Carter, who was also the first public relations manager at the Hilton Barbados and has been writing a social column since 1987 for The Nation covering broad areas including her old love “tourism”.

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