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Mary Lightbourne appointed as Turks and Caicos’ Deputy Director of Tourism

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands (April 22, 2016) – The Turks and Caicos Tourist Board is pleased to congratulate Mary Lightbourne on her successful appointment as the new Deputy Director of Tourism.

Lightbourne is no stranger to the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board as she brings with her 23 years of a diverse track record of work experience, of which 15 were spent at the Tourist Board taking on progressively responsible roles. She was previously employed as the Registrar of the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College and most recently employed with the Turks and Caicos Islands Government in a senior-level position as the Head of Secretariat to the Minister of Education.

Lightbourne holds a Master’s of Science degree in Organizational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource Management and Development from American Intercontinental University, and a diploma in Tourism and Travel Agency Management from Cambridge Tutorial College, UK.  Lightbourne is not only academically motivated but also civic minded, evident through her involvement with the Rotary Club of Grand Turk where she has held the position of President.

Director of the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board, Ralph Higgs said the tourism team welcomes Lightbourne’s capabilities and experiences, “Her appointment is consistent with our commitment to ensure the continual growth of our tourism industry and to guarantee the Tourist Board’s longevity.”

Lightbourne commented that she is grateful for the opportunity to rejoin the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board as Deputy Director, “I am excited to showcase my leadership skills and augment my participation in marketing the number one tourism destination.  I look forward to working with the entire tourism team to make my contribution to the growth of the vibrant tourism industry in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

As Deputy Director, Lightbourne will be based in Grand Turk and will oversee the administration of the Grand Turk Office. Her portfolio also includes tourism statistics management, quality assurance, strengthening the cruise industry, and assisting with the development and implementation of the tourism marketing strategy, with special emphasis on Grand Turk and the surrounding Islands.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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PRTC presents local businesses sustainable tourism and agrotourism certifications

March 30, 2016: As part of efforts to promote the development of sustainable tourism on the Island, Deputy Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), Luis D. Muñiz Martínez, presented the Green Hotel Certificate of Sustainable Tourism to La Jamaca Guest House in La Parguera and the Agrotourism Certification to La Hacienda Muñoz.

“We congratulate these companies for their efforts in sustainable development on the Island. In order to achieve these certifications one must demonstrate genuine commitment to the environment and the community around them,” said Muñiz Martínez. “We want to spread the message of sustainable development in the tourism industry among companies that serve our visitors. Tourists appreciate when a company cares about its environment, which generally results in benefits for all parties and conservation of the environment.”

Sustainable tourism, as defined by the World Tourism Organization, satisfies the needs of tourists and regions while protecting and enhancing opportunities in the future. These efforts lead to the management of all resources to ensure economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes and biological diversity.

La Jamaca Guest House is located in the rural area of La Parguera in Lajas. It has 12 rooms and a natural environment that allows direct interaction with nature. La Hacienda Muñoz offers agrotourism tours, focusing on the history and production of coffee. The tour illustrates the coffee process from the beginning as a seed to a finished cup of coffee. The hacienda is located in the municipality of San Lorenzo and has 10 acres of land.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Antigua and Barbuda regains destination of choice status among US travelers

New York, NY (March 28, 2016) – The twin islands of Antigua and Barbuda are celebrating the successful growth of their US Tourism market that has shown remarkable double-digit growth in the previous three months with incredibly strong forward bookings. The U.S. remains Antigua and Barbuda’s lead market with total arrivals for 2015 YTD at 94,617. These positive results are due to the combination of an aggressive North American Sales & Marketing Road Show in the latter half of 2015, a strategic marketing and advertising campaign, a 14% increase in airlift with the launch of JetBlue New York to Antigua non-stop service, and having some of the lowest fares available to the Caribbean. The resulting increase in awareness and visibility of Antigua and Barbuda, with new flight options, properties for every price point and desire, over 127 activities to choose from and 365 beaches, has resulted in Americans falling for the twin islands.

Regularly awarded as being one of the most romantic destinations and renowned for it 365 beaches, Antigua and Barbuda has been experiencing increased visibility across its major markets. Double-digit growth across key markets in the Northeast, Southeast and West Coast, indicates that the destination is on the path to even more positive growth.  December 2015 figures show on the Eastern Seaboard, New York and New Jersey had a combined increase of 55.98%, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island had a combined increase of 93.41% and Maryland, Virginia and DC had a combined increase of 32.04%. In the South, Georgia, Alabama, Oklahoma and Tennessee show strong growth with a combined 62.24% increase. The Midwest showed incredibly strong growth in Michigan and Kansas with a combined 80.66% increase. The West, traditionally not a strong market for the Caribbean saw exponential growth in Washington, Arizona, and Oregon with a combined increase of 89.97%. Utah alone had a 66.67% increase. January figures continues this upward trend showing positive signs as an overall increase in visitors was up 11.61% with 9,322 visitors. Initial figures suggest this growth will be similar in February and should continue this upward trend throughout the remainder of 2016.

Uniquely positioned by having the newest and most-modern airport in the Caribbean, acting as the ideal gateway to the Twin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda are attracting visitors who are seeking something new and different. Antigua and Barbuda manages to maintain its authentic Caribbean feel and the privacy and intimacy that visitors seek from a small island destination, while still offering a full portfolio of properties meeting every price point and desire from ultra-luxurious to renowned chains to charming bed and breakfasts. In essence, Antigua and Barbuda offers something for everyone.

With over 365 beaches to choose from, visitors will find that none are overrun, and all offer pristine white or pink sand beaches, with stunning azure waters. Antigua and Barbuda also offers a wide range of activities whether on land or on water, a wide array of dining options from 5-star dining to local cuisine, with a rich culture and history.

In addition to growing visitor numbers, 2016 is set to be a year of milestones for Antigua and Barbuda. The Antigua Carnival, the Caribbean’s greatest summer festival, will be marking its 60th Celebration July 22- August 2. The Carnival will celebrate these 60 years with a colorful insight into the culture of the country. Traditionally 10 days long, this year will have an additional 2 days, of celebratory music and dance where attendees are promised to encounter colorful costumes, Carnival Queen pageants, food fairs, parades, live shows and the best Soca and Calypso music from live bands and performers. Special events are planned to make this celebratory year even better, brighter and exciting for visitors. The destination will also be celebrating 10 years of June as the month of romance and will be launching exciting activities and packages for couples.  Later in the year, Antigua and Barbuda will be celebrating it’s 35th year of independence with 3 days of celebrations planned around November 1st.

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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.

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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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