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The world’s largest cruise ship visits St. Kitts

Basseterre, St. Kitts (March 24, 2016) – The world’s largest cruise ship, the Oasis of the Seas, visited St. Kitts for the first time yesterday, bringing more than 6,000 passengers.

The Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, weighs 252,282 tons and is approximately 50% larger than any other cruise ship at sea and home to an unprecedented array of amenities, including zip lining to surfing, dining discoveries to DreamWorks characters onboard.

Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce, The Hon. Lindsay F.P. Grant, led a delegation of stakeholders to participate in a plaque-exchanging ceremony to mark this significant occasion.

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome the inaugural call of the Oasis of the Seas,” Minister Grant said. “This is one the greatest ships in the world, and so when in port, it is indeed a very special event for the destination.”

Minister Grant pointed out that this inaugural call was the first of five visits for 2016, in a year in which St. Kitts will exceed one million cruise passenger arrivals for the cruise season.  He said Port Zante was built more than 20 years ago, however, the port is able to accommodate the largest ships in the world, which is a testament to the vision of those people who conceptualized the port as well as to those who oversaw its upgrades.

Captain of the Oasis of the Seas, Per Kristoffersen, said the ship came with 6,380 guests, with more than 2,183 crew members representing a total of 77 nationalities.

“This is indeed a very special ship,” Captain Kristoffersen said. “However, I feel St. Kitts is even more special, especially since I have heard that St. Kitts has one of the best golf courses in the Caribbean, and so I am very eager to play few rounds.”

Also present at the ceremony were officials from the Ministry of Tourism, St. Kitts Tourism Authority, St. Christopher Air and Sea Port Authority, High Command of the St. Kitts Police Force and the ship’s agents Delisle Walwyn & Company Limited.

A total of three cruise ships arrived in St. Kitts that day, bringing approximately 14,000 visitors to the destination.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Martinique welcomes worldwide sport competitions, putting the island under the spotlight

NEW YORK, NY (March 21, 2016) – Martinique, the Caribbean Island with French Flair, the Island of Flowers and the Rum Capital of the world is well known for its enchanting sceneries, its strong heritage, delightful gastronomy and much more. Recently, the Island has become a desirable location for international sports competitions, putting the destination under the spotlight. This year, the Island will host several world-class tennis, surfing, hiking, and jet skiing competitions.

CARIFTA Swimming Championships – March 22th to 26th   

Martinique will host the 2016 Edition of CARIFTA Swimming Championships in Saint Pierre and Carbet, from March 22th to 26th. More than 600 swimmers between ages 11 and 17 from 24 Caribbean nations such as Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, and the Bahamas,will participate in  swimming, open water, water polo and synchronized swimming  competitions.  French competitors will be able to qualify for the National Championships and those from other Caribbean nations; for the Olympic Games. For more information: https://www.facebook.com/carifta2016mque/

Open International d’Eco Beach Tennis – April 1st to 3rd

Eco Beach Tennis, a sport that was born in Italy 30 years ago, will see the Open Eco Beach Tennis Competition take place from April 1st to 3rd at Le Carbet Beach. This silver/grey sand beach will be the perfect location for the 5th edition of this competition, which is sure to attract international and local players alike. For more information: http://tournoi-martinique.com/presentation/

Jetracer World Championship IJSBA – April 15th to 17th 

Martinique welcomes the first round of Jetracer World Championship IJSBA, an International Jet race Competition. The lovely fishermen town located on the Caribbean Coast will proudly host this three-day event, with two stages in Sainte-Anne and Fort-de-France, the Capital city. About 50 competitors from the United States, Russia, Canada, Kuwait, Qatar, Belgium, Peru, the United Kingdom, Italy, China, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia and France will compete on Martinique’s warm Caribbean waters before the second round in Russia in August 2016. For more information: https://www.facebook.com/martiniquejetrace

Martinique Surf Pro – April 17-24, 2016

After a successful first edition in 2015, Martinique will once again host the Martinique Surf Pro, a World Surf League (WSL) Qualification Series event, from April 17-24, 2016. The competition will take place in Basse-Pointe, a “secret” surf spot cherished for its powerful and especially long waves that break right over an exposed reef break. Last year, the competition drew some 112 competitors from all over the world. This year, who will be victorious over the reigning champion, Hawaiian native Joshua Moniz? For more information: https://www.facebook.com/martiniquesurfpro/timeline

Tchimbé Raid – May 4th and 5th

Tchimbé Raid International is a two-day trail made with three different races in the heart of Martinique. The first race runs along Tchimbé Raid a 57 miles trail, followed by Tchimbé Volcano 31 miles, ending up with Tchimbé Piton at 11 miles long. From le Prêcheur to Schoelcher, this amazing race will see over 400 participants, most of them adventure runners and nature lovers. For more information: http://www.tchimberaid.net/

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

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The Islands Of The Bahamas receive nine nominations from 23rd Annual World Travel Awards

NASSAU, THE BAHAMAS – March 10, 2016 – The Islands Of The Bahamas are delighted to have been nominated in nine Caribbean categories by the 23rd annual World Travel Awards, including Leading Beach Destination, Cruise Destination, Cruise Port, Destination, Dive Destination, Honeymoon Destination, Luxury Island Destination and Romantic Destination. Additionally, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism has been selected as a candidate for the Caribbean’s Leading Tourist Board.

World Travel Awards was founded in 1993 to recognize, acknowledge and reward excellence in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry worldwide. Now celebrating its 23rd anniversary, World Travel Awards is recognized globally as the hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark.

“We’re thrilled to receive these distinguished acknowledgments from the World Travel Awards, especially in such a competitive market,” said Joy Jibrilu, Director General, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.  “Being nominated in nine of the Caribbean’s Leading categories is a true testament to our team’s diligence and commitment in providing the highest quality travel experiences for visitors to The Bahamas.”

As a nominee, The Islands Of The Bahamas can be voted for online by fans across the world. Fans can submit their votes at www.WorldTravelAwards.com/Vote from March 7, 2016 until July 31, 2016.

Winners will be announced on September 17, 2016 and honored at the Caribbean & North America Gala Ceremony at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

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St. Kitts & Nevis rank #10 of the 25 Best Caribbean Islands by Business Insider

Basseterre, St. Kitts (March 7, 2016) – Continuing to add accolades to its growing portfolio, The St. Kitts Tourism Authority is pleased to announce that the Federation is ranked at #10 of the 25 Best Caribbean Islands by Business Insider. The article appears on the publication’s website as of February 26, 2016.

“It is gratifying to see our hard work pay off through the recognition of our tourism product by yet another prestigious publication this year,” said the Hon. Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce. “We will continue to develop the tourism sector in a strategic, careful manner to ensure ongoing growth as a desirable destination for visitors.”

The islands were ranked by factoring in each one’s average hotel-room costs using data from Hotels.com, the flight time from New York City, the number of attractions listed on TripAdvisor and the amount of coastline offered per square kilometer. St. Kitts & Nevis are noted for having an abundance of “palm-fringed beaches, soaring mountains and lush jungle terrain.” The article also provides a link to a list of 173 activities available to visitors on island, ranging from natural sites to historic attractions.

Click here to read the article in its entirety: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-25-best-caribbean-islands-ranked-2016-2.

About Business Insider

Business Insider is a fast-growing business site with deep financial, media, tech, and other industry verticals. Launched in 2007, the site is now the largest business news site on the web. According to data from Compete.com, Business Insider is read by over 29 million Unique Monthly Visitors (UMV).

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Norwegian resumes seasonal service to Martinique

NEW YORK, NY (February 25, 2016) Norwegian, the World’s Best Low-Cost Long-Haul Airline and Europe’s Best Low-Cost Airline, will resume its seasonal winter service to the French Caribbean following a successful first winter season. Nonstop service from Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), Logan International Airport (BOS) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Martinique will begin on November 10. Norwegian’s service between the United States and the French Caribbean began last December.

The flights for the 2016 winter season will operate three times per week to each island Martinique from New York, and twice per week to each island Martinique from Baltimore/Washington, D.C. and Boston, respectively.

[…] We are pleased to see the positive response from American travelers who are now enjoying easier access and affordable fares to the Caribbean, and if demand continues to grow, we hope to make this a year-round service.” said Thomas Ramdahl, Norwegian’s Chief Commercial Officer.

“This winter’s air service to Martinique with Norwegian is a great success, and U.S. visitors are enthusiastically discovering this gem in the heart of the Caribbean that is Martinique,” said Muriel Wiltord, Director Americas for the Martinique Promotion Bureau. “Having Norwegian announce its service to Fort-de-France for 2016/17 is truly exciting! Our U.S. visitors will be able to book early for the next winter season at an excellent rate, while benefiting from modern and comfortable air service. The word is spreading about easy access to Martinique Magnifique, its superb cuisine, magnificent scenery, rich culture and traditions, excellent road network, and generous people, to name a few. We are looking forward to welcoming more and more guests from the United States with open arms.”

Flights to Guadeloupe and Martinique are now available for purchase at norwegian.com/us with fares as low as $49 one-way, including taxes. The lowest available fares to the French Caribbean and any of Norwegian’s destinations can be found by reviewing the low fare calendar.

Recently, Martinique nabbed three 2016 Travvy Awards, earning top honors in the following three categories:

  • Best Cruise Destination, Caribbean
  • Best Culinary Destination, Caribbean
  • Best Tourism Board, The Americas

Presented by travAlliance Media, publishers of TravelPulse.com, Vacation Agent and [email protected], Travvy Awards recognize the highest standards of excellence in the travel and tourism industry. Winners are determined based on votes compiled by more than 30,000 travel agents.

Martinique has been also ranked in the Top 16 places to go in 2016 by Condé Nast Traveler and in Where to go in 2016 by Budget Travel.

“To be recognized in this way by our travel agent partners is truly a special honor,” Wiltord concluded.

Due to the success of Norwegian’s first seasonal service this past winter, flights from New York to Martinique have been extended through the end of April and an additional weekly flight has been added, bringing the total to four weekly flights. Last week, Norwegian also announced nonstop service to Paris from Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles and New York.

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

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Barbados voted best destination by Expedia

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados. Feb. 19, 2016 – Barbados is on a winning streak having been voted Caribbean Best Destination 2016 in recognition of outstanding performance and partnership by Expedia, the largest retailer of travel products in the entire Caribbean.
The award, which was presented before an audience of regional and international industry executives during the recently concluded Caribbean Travel Marketplace in The Bahamas, marked the seventh international award Barbados has received in the past 12 months.

The island was also dubbed Best Destination by Caribbean Journal and third among the islands of the Caribbean by Trip Advisor in 2015.  Telegraph readers also voted Barbados the best destination in the Caribbean for family holidays, best Caribbean beach holiday destination, best destination for activity and adventure holidays, and best destination for wedding and honeymoons.  In addition, the island has been shortlisted in the destination category for the Routes Americas 2016 Marketing Awards.

On receiving the latest award from Expedia, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) CEO, William Griffith, said it was testament to the collaborative efforts local industry partners have been making on behalf of the island. He also stated that it was a clear manifestation of the significant work being done by the entire BTMI leadership team in the major markets of the UK, USA and Canada.

“Each award we have received over the past 12 months has been confirmation for us that we are moving in the right direction with our destination marketing and product development, which continues to be a team effort across the public and private sector.  It is also great momentum as we draw closer to our 50th anniversary of Independence and we have already begun to share the excitement with all of our partners.”

Tourism decision-makers on the island continue to work assiduously toward ensuring the sectors continued recovery, with 2015 being dubbed a record year for air arrivals.  Several hotels underwent renovations in 2015 with new properties such as Sandals and Sugar Bay providing contemporary all-inclusive accommodation.  Efforts are also underway to enhance to variety and quality of product offerings available to cruise and long-stay visitors through the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA).  With the winter season in full swing and select hotels partnering with the BTMI to offer 50 percent off through the annual Brilliant Barbados 50 travel sale there certainly is no time like the present to visit the island.

Expedia Inc., which featuress some of he world’s leading online travel brands, including travelocity, Hotels.com, trivago and orbitz, registered $55 billion in bookings and 188.2 million room nights in the first three quarters of 2015.  Demetrius Canton, Director for the Caribbean at Expedia, commended the island’s tourism partners on their well-deserved win. “It’s an honour to confer this award on Barbados.  The island continues to be a leader in providing unforgettable, value-for-money travel experiences and we’ve seen the demand for holidays to Barbados continue to grow.  It is truly well-deserved.”

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Governor highlights island’s benefits to attract tourism investment

Governor Alejandro García Padilla announced the conclusion of Routes Americas in Puerto Rico. Routes Americas unites industry professionals in the aviation, cruise line and tourism sectors, focused on developing new air routes to the Island. This event allows Puerto Rico to showcase new airline opportunities, such as the newly opened MRO Lufthansa Technik, to continue to position the country as the Caribbean’s air hub with the largest airport.

“In Puerto Rico we fully identify with one of the main objectives of this organization, to join efforts for the common good. This great opportunity unites various sectors of the industry to increase air and maritime traffic throughout the Caribbean region,” said García Padilla.

As efforts have continued to increase on-and-off the Island, the tourism sector has achieved a number of accomplishments. “In the last fiscal year we added approximately 500 hotels rooms to our offerings, which resulted in a 73% hotel occupancy rate, a 2% increase throughout the year. In the past three years, 829 rooms were added, representing a 54% increase compared to 2012. With the arrival of new airlines, including Air Europa, Condor and Norwegian Air, we now offer direct flights to major European cities such as Madrid, Frankfurt and Oslo,” explained the governor.

Puerto Rico has established itself as one of the most competitive markets in the region, with significant investment on the island in specialized industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, electronics and information technology, among others. “Countless companies have realized that Puerto Rico is much more than tax incentives and good conditions for business development. All of them know that those who invest capital and create jobs on the Island, will gain a government partner willing to work with them hand-in-hand for the success of the company and for the betterment of Puerto Rico. It’s a question of uniting efforts,” concluded García Padilla.

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