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Martinique cited as Caribbean’s Safest Destination in 2016 Caribbean Tourism Quality Index

NEW YORK, NY (June 15, 2016) – Martinique has been cited once again as the “Safest Destination in the Caribbean,” the designation published in the 2016 Caribbean Tourism Quality Index. Released during the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) “Caribbean Week” in New York (May 31-June 4, 2016), the Caribbean Tourism Quality Index is an annual study produced by Resonance Consultancy, an international leader in destination development, branding, and marketing headquartered in Vancouver and New York.

The Resonance study measures tourism’s supply-side performance and competitiveness in 28 destinations across the Caribbean. This marks the second time in recent years that Martinique has been recognized as the “Safest Destination in the Caribbean,” the previous designation stemming from a 2011 International Business Times study.

“As flowers are an international symbol of peace, I suppose it’s fitting in a way that The Isle of Flowers should be recognized like this,” said Muriel Wiltord, Director Americas for the Martinique Promotion Bureau. “In reality, though, it is the warmth and welcoming spirit of the Martinican people and the steadfast dedication of our local authorities that keeps us at the top for travel safety.”

The top safety ranking is the latest in an impressive list of honors for Martinique over the past year.

  •      Ranked in the Top 16 Places to go to in 2016, Condé Nast Traveler
  •      Ranked #7 (of 24) Top Destinations of 2016, Budget Travel
  •      Travel Top 10: Trendiest 2016 Destinations, Ebony
  •      Best Culinary, Cruise, Tourism Board Destination – Caribbean (2016), Travvy Awards
  •      Top 5 Best Romantic Islands in the Caribbean (2015), USA TODAY
  •      Ranked #1 Must-Visit Place in the Caribbean (2015), Caribbean Journal
  •      Traveler’s Choice Award, Best Beaches (2015), TripAdvisor
  •      Named Best Caribbean Island for Romance (2015), Business Insider
  •      Silver Magellan Awards, Overall Destination and Waterfront Development (2015), Travel Weekly

“Our recent strong run of awards, honors, and this top safety ranking validate Martinique’s continued emergence as the new ‘it’ destination in the Caribbean for U.S. travelers,” said Wiltord.

For more information on travel to Martinique, please visit www.martinique.org.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Barbados tourism registers strong first quarter

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados. June 1, 2016 – Barbados continues to be a destination in high demand.

Stayover Arrivals

Provisional figures shared by the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) revealed that arrivals increased 7.4 percent during the first quarter of 2016 when compared to the previous year.  This represented some 184,177 visitors compared to 171,413 during the same period last year.

CEO, William Griffith, commended the BTMI’s global team for the work they continue to do in concert with local and international industry partners to keep Barbados top-of-mind among travellers, as well as the travel trade.

“Our team has been placing considerable emphasis on business-to-business (B2B) relationships through training for travel agents and participation in trade shows to update these key partners on the latest product developments taking place on the island.”

This B2B strategy climaxed earlier this month during the gold edition Connect Barbados 50 when more than 900 meetings were held between local tourism partners and 50 leading tour operators.

A breakdown of the figures showed that the island’s airlift growth strategy in the US is paying off with stay over arrivals increasing by 13 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 from that market.  This represented a total of 42,383 visitors compared to the 37,487 visitor arrivals in 2015.

The Canadian market was relatively flat with a 0.8 per cent decline generating 30,675 stay over arrivals.  Arrivals out of the UK rose by 10 per cent for the 24th consecutive month to reach 71,263 stay over arrivals.

A sluggish European market performance resulted in a decline of 6.1 per cent representing 13,129 stay over arrivals. Germany, the main producing country, recorded a 7.3 per cent decline to reach just 4,854 visitors.

The Caribbean region continued to be a bright spark with regional travel to Barbados growing by 14.3 per cent.  This was led by a 34 per cent increase in travellers arriving from Trinidad and Tobago or 7,210 stay over visitors.  Demand out of other Caribbean countries also increased by 6.4 per cent with 14,491 visitors registered.

On the South and Central American front, there was growth of 2.8 per cent totalling 2,930 stay over arrivals compared to 2,849 in 2015. Demand out of Brazil declined significantly by 48.2 per cent to 705 visitors. However, this decline was buoyed by a 49.6 per cent growth in visitors from the remaining South and Central American market when some 2,225 arrivals were recorded.

CEO Griffith confirmed that the BTMI global team was already working toward achieving a strong summer with the Crop Over Festival, romance and family travel featuring prominently in their promotional efforts.

Visitor Spend

Barbados’ tourism growth has also augured well for the country’s visitor expenditure performance with the sector recording an estimated US $336,757,000 during the first quarter of 2016 based on the CTO conducted visitor exit survey.  This represents an increase in total expenditure by stay over visitors of 20 per cent over the same period in 2015 and continues the growth in visitor expenditure experienced in 2015 of 3.7 per cent when compared with 2014.

The growth in visitor expenditure on island in the first quarter was led by the USA market where average daily spend increased by 22 per cent.  As a result total visitor spend on island by US visitors increased by 64%, the largest increase both in percentage and absolute terms.  On island revenue from those countries categorised as Other and which includes Latin America, Asia, Africa and other smaller markets visitor expenditure increased by 22 per cent, the UK increased by 19%, Canada by 7% and Europe by 1%.  The only exception to this performance was the Caribbean market where total visitor expenditure declined by 18%.

Length of Stay

In relation to average length of stay, this metric grew in all markets to achieve a total improvement in length of stay of 15 per cent. The length of stay achieved was 10 nights, compared to 8.7 nights in 2015.  The most significant growth achieved was in those countries grouped in the category Other market where length of stay grew by 37.3 per cent.  Out of Europe average length of stay grew by 25.6%.  From the USA average length of stay grew by 17.1% and out of Canada it grew by 13%, while from the UK average length of stay grew by 12.2%.  The Caribbean was the only market in which average length of stay remained unchanged during the first quarter.

Griffith confirmed that confidence had returned within the tourism industry and this was being revealed by the creation of new attractions; improved hotel plant and additional accommodation options; and the strengthening of the island’s digital marketing strategy, led by a new destination website at VisitBarbados.org.

“Based on the reports coming from our tour operators, this is the light at the end of the tunnel.  We will continue to work with them and incorporate their feedback, and the suggestions from the visitors themselves, so that we can maintain this growth path.”

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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The Saint Lucia Tourist Board unveils new website with Scavenger Hunt Sweepstakes #OnlyInSaintLucia

SAINT LUCIA (June 1, 2016) – The Saint Lucia Tourist Board launches the #OnlyInSaintLucia Scavenger Hunt Sweepstakes on Wednesday, June 1 to unveil the new online presence for the destination at http://www.stlucia.org/.

The dynamic and responsive website features a map explorer component that highlights hotels, local restaurants, and a variety of activities throughout the island. The brand-new weddings and honeymoons landing pages cater to one of Saint Lucia’s largest travel markets and sets the stage for planning a romantic escape with the top five proposal locations, wedding packages, honeymoon activities and more.

The completely redesigned website also includes a downloadable media gallery, a live chat, and specialized sections for travel trade, diaspora, meetings and incentives.

“We are thrilled to launch this new tourism portal to the destination,” says Tracey Warner-Arnold, deputy director of tourism. “The #OnlyInSaintLucia scavenger hunt sweepstakes will allow visitors the opportunity to explore and learn about the island, and the redesigned website, in a fun and engaging way.”

The Saint Lucia Tourist Board encourages fans to experience the adventure of a lifetime by entering to win a six night Caribbean vacation on the beautiful island. To enter the #OnlyInSaintLucia scavenger hunt sweepstakes, consumers are given the chance to answer one question every day for fourteen days for a chance to win a trip to Saint Lucia. A new question will be posted to the dedicated contest landing page every morning at 9:00am EST, beginning June 1 through June 15.  The more questions answered correctly, the closer participants will be to relaxing in Saint Lucia.

One winner and a guest will win a three night stay in the southern part of the island at Ladera, a tropical gem nestled high up between the Pitons, and then a three night stay in the north of Saint Lucia at the intimate Cap Maison, set on a private cliff overlooking the sea and its own private beach. The prize includes accommodations, most meals and beverages, round-trip airfare, and on-island airport transfers for two adults. Participants must be U.S. residents and 21 years of age or older.

For more information about the island of Saint Lucia, call 1-800-456-3984, or 1-888 4STLUCIA or visit http://www.stlucia.org/.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Barbados reveals new destination website

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados. May 24, 2016 – Destination Barbados has a new online presence at VisitBarbados.org.

Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) CEO, William Griffith, described the site, which went live on Sunday May 22, as the most comprehensive online presence the destination has had in many years, with several new media features that can provide visitors with a peek into the destination.

After rigorous testing and helpful feedback from industry partners, the BMTI unveiled the new interactive site to assist travelers in planning their holiday in the sun on the island. More importantly, it will serve to sales referral tool for several local partners providing services and products to today’s traveler, including a wide array of attractions, services and events on the island.

“We are taking a comprehensive approach where the new website will be integrated with our social media and digital marketing strategies to deepen our relationships with potential and repeat visitors online”. Griffith said.

Through the use of rich media in the form of 360° videos that provide visitors with virtual views of the destination; trip planning tools and a robust content strategy, the BTMI team will work to ensure that the site drives visitors smoothly through the travel planning process.

BTMI Manager Digital Marketing & Social Media Manager, Gabriel Isaie, stated that the new site would be the centerpiece of the island’s digital marketing efforts moving forward.

“The technology on the website represents some of the industry’s leading technologies and traveler conversion tools. The content on the website utilizes large vibrant and engaging photography from some of Barbados’ leading photographers. Copy has also been developed into easy to digest excerpts, highlighting stories on Barbados’ culture, heritage and lifestyle blogs”.

Following a competitive selection process, the BTMI selected three vendors, including two local companies spearheading the content creation. The arrangement was structured to ensure technology transfer to the local entities, which will also manage the content development strategy over the long term.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Dominica to host 1st Caribbean Aviation Meetup Conference

(Roseau, Dominica – May 24, 2016) The government of the Commonwealth of Dominica through the Ministry of Tourism and Urban Renewal and Discover Dominica Authority will host the first CARIBBEAN AVIATION MEETUP Conference in Dominica from June 14 – 16, 2016. 

The CARIBBEAN AVIATION MEETUP is made up of well thought out program sessions and affords generous opportunities for dialogue among professionals. Most of the conference program will be discussions on changes for improved airlift in the Caribbean and its impact on tourism and the economy.  It will also provide impetus for new business developments and industry investments.   The three day program includes a wide range of topics such as regional airlines, route development, airport development, airlift impact on tourism and the economy, investment considerations, trends in regional travel and tourism, innovation of product, service and infrastructure.

From plenary session on the morning of the opening day, the program will have 2 simultaneous break-out sessions ensuring that there is always a session to attend for anyone’s particular area of interest.  The invited presenters have a wealth of knowledge on their areas of expertise and participants are encouraged to share perspectives, ideas, concerns, and successful strategies.  The detailed conference program and agenda can be found at www.caribavia.com/program.htm.

Registration is now open online at www.caribavia.com for regional and international participants. Interested participants residing in Dominica should contact Discover Dominica Authority at [email protected] for registration information.

About Caribbean Aviation Meetup: CARIBBEAN AVIATION MEETUP shall be the Annual Conference of the CARIBAVIA.  During the first CARIBBEAN AVIATION MEETUP (June 2016), a new Caribbean Aviation Industry Association will be inaugurated. It shall carry the name CARIBAVIA which stands for CARIBbean AViation Industry Association. It shall be an umbrella organization representing all aviation interest in the Caribbean region.  For more information visit www.CaribAVIA.com.

For more information on Dominica, contact Discover Dominica Authority at 767 448 2045. Or, visit Dominica’s official website: www.DiscoverDominica.com, follow Dominica on Twitter and Facebook and take a look at our videos on YouTube.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Grenada wins gold at RHS Chelsea Flower Show with ‘Three Enchanting Islands – Pure Grenada’

(St. George’s, Grenada) 24th May, 2016 – The Grenada exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 named ‘Three Enchanting Islands – Pure Grenada’ has won Gold. The Show team was led by Grenadian-based designer Catherine John and brought Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique to life with a display of floral diversity.

“Our theme this year was inspired by the distinct floral character of the three islands, which although in close proximity of each other in the Southern Caribbean Sea, do not receive the same amount of rainfall. The vegetation and crops grown on Carriacou and Petite Martinique are markedly different from those that thrive in Grenada,” said Mrs. John.

The greenery and spices were all grown in Grenada and arranged to Catherine’s design, ahead of Monday 23rd May when the display enthralled Press Day visitors including Grenada’s High Commissioner, His Excellency Mr. Karl Hood and Dr Johnson Beharry VC – recipient of the highest military decoration for valour in the British and Commonwealth armed forces, who was born in Grenada.

“As small islands we are mindful of rising sea levels due to climate change, and our display features the coastline as a reminder of the balance of nature that we all depend upon,” added Mrs. John.

The display won a gold medal, making this the twelfth gold medal Grenada has received at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

“We’re delighted that the exhibit has been awarded Gold here in London. My personal inspiration this year comes from just wanting to differentiate and display the diversity of plant materials on our Sister Isles,” said Catherine after receiving the news.

“Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique are three distinctive islands that each boasts a remarkable natural landscape. The design team has captured the essence of all three islands to provide visitors to the world’s greatest flower show with an authentic taste of Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean,” said Ms. Sharon Bernstein, Grenada Tourism Authority Director of Sales for the UK & Ireland.

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St. Kitts & Nevis Partner Golf Classic targets the affluent golf market

Basseterre, St. Kitts (May 11, 2016) – The St. Kitts Tourism Authority partnered with LINKS Magazine, a premier golf lifestyle publication, to present the first annual St. Kitts & Nevis Partner Golf Classic. The event was hosted from May 3rd to 7th, by the world-class Four Season Resort Nevis and featured tournament rounds on both the Robert Trent Jones II course at Four Seasons and the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club course.

At the event’s awards ceremony, held at the Mango Restaurant on Friday, the Hon. Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, International Trade and Commerce, said that golf tourism is a very important element of the overall tourism strategy for the destination. The Minister thanked LINKS Magazine, for their continued support in increasing the awareness of St. Kitts’ golf resorts and events in the U.S. Market.

“This is an important event for our destination marketing efforts as we begin to promote St. Kitts & Nevis as a world-class, twin-island golf destination,” said Minister Grant. “With two more championship courses scheduled to open on St. Kitts at Kittitian Hill and Christophe Harbour, we are becoming well-positioned to grow the market for golf tourism to our islands.”

The St. Kitts & Nevis Partner Golf Classic is a tournament for couples who enjoy the spirit of friendly competition and playing a different partner golf format each day. Attendees visited St. Kits and Nevis from seven different US states. The Overall Champions of the first annual St. Kitts & Nevis Partner Golf Classic were Cheryl & Dale McLean from Wyndermere GC in Naples Florida.

The St. Kitts Tourism Authority presently partners with LINKS Magazine, a golf media platform with a high-household income readership of more than 500,000 across its print and digital assets, to generate targeted awareness and travel consideration in the U.S. market among affluent golf enthusiasts.  LINKS is a sophisticated and engaging publication that helps golfing enthusiasts fuel their passion for the game and enjoy the golf lifestyle in new and stimulating ways. In 2014, LINKS Magazine included St. Kitts & Nevis in its newly created ranking of the Top 25 Islands in the world for golf travel; one of just seven Caribbean islands to earn a spot on the list.

The St. Kitts & Nevis Partner Golf Classic presented by LINKS Magazine is managed by TGC Sports LLC based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For more information on golf in St. Kitts, visit www.golfstkittsandnevis.com.

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