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Hilton Worldwide announces its first property in Belize with Curio – a collection by Hilton

Belize City, Belize – June 15, 2016 – The Belize Tourism Board is pleased to announce the new hotel brand in Belize; Curio, a collection by Hilton. In 2012, with the endorsement of the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan, we began our path towards our 2030 goals for Tourism. Since then, one of our recurrent objectives has remained the need to introduce additional globally-recognized brands within our product offering. As a result, today we mark an important milestone for tourism development in Belize.

We congratulate the Mahogany Bay Village group for its successful creation of this business partnership. With 12 months of continuous growth in overnight arrivals, we hope that this news continues to highlight Belize’s readiness for further investment, growth and development in tourism.

For further information please download the press release http://bit.ly/21mKV9F

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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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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Twin island nation awards Marianne Jean-Baptiste honorary tourism award

New York, NY, June 2, 2016 — Guests of the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority were treated to a Celebration of Film and Television in honor of Ms. Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Academy Award Nominee and star of NBC’s “Blindspot” last night at the Crosby Street Hotel. Born to an Antiguan mother, Ms. Jean-Baptiste has always embraced her Antiguan and Barbudan heritage and was named ‘Honorary Tourism Ambassador’ to the island nation.

The evening’s event was attended by approximately 100 of the top-tier media, trade, travel partners, investors and producers, and was part of a week-long extravaganza known as CTO (Caribbean Tourism Organization’s) Week in New York City. The week brings the Caribbean together – Government officials, Tourism Boards, Hotel Association, and Press – to showcase all that the region has to offer visitors.

CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Colin C. James explained the importance of honouring the actress, saying “Ms. Jean-Baptiste has proudly represented Antigua and Barbuda around the world. Through this, she has positively raised visibility of Antigua and Barbuda, helping to support our tourism industry. With tourism being the mainstay of our economy, we cannot express how grateful we are for all of her work in positively promoting our twin-island nation.” The award was presented to Ms. Jean-Baptiste by Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, His Excellency Walton Aubrey Webson

In addition to NBC’s “Blindspot,” and her upcoming role in the new series, “Training Day,” Ms. Jean-Baptiste’s body of work includes such standout performances as her role in “Secrets and Lies,” a performance so wonderful that she was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Oscar.

The evening also included the worldwide premiere of PBS’s award-winning documentary “Music Voyager: Antigua and Barbuda,” which was filmed on the islands last year and highlights the story of Antigua and Barbuda through music and culture allowing viewers to experience the country through the eyes of the locals, their culture and their words.

The week began with a segment on FOX 5’s popular morning news program “Good Day New York,” promoting Carnival through steel pan music and costumes. At yesterday’s event, interviews were conducted with Tourism Consultant Ms. Shirlene Nibbs who shared the latest developments on the islands in tourism and why visitors need to visit Antigua and Barbuda this year. The interview will air in local TV markets including Connecticut and NBC affiliates.

In addition to hosting this successful evening Antigua and Barbuda has participated at the highest level events for CTO Week, including in the corporate service at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church on Sunday, May 30th, along with various meetings with Minsters, Directors and Commissioners of Tourism throughout the Caribbean to strategically work together to enhance the strength and impact of the region.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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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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Travel Agent’s senior editor wins top prize at CTO Travel Media Awards

NEW YORK, NY, 2 June, 2016 –   An article on lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) travel in the Caribbean has copped the top award at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s Caribbean Travel Media Awards programme.

The article by Joe Pike of Travel Agent magazine won the Best of the Best award at today’s awards luncheon at the Marriott Marquis in New York, part of the programme for Caribbean Week New York organized by the CTO.

Dubbed, How to Sell LGBT Travel to the Caribbean, the story explores Caribbean destinations and properties that pursue the $200 billion market and provides tips and trends to those who are considering it. It has its origin in a session organized by the CTO during last year’s State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) in Curacao.

“It is an extremely informative, well-researched and reported story. Mr. Pike did a nice job working to inform his readership about a growing LGBT travel market. Thanks to extensive research, he provided interesting data about the market potential and did first-hand reporting by interviewing industry experts to gather market intelligence. He also covers important sub-topics like safety, family travel, and same-sex marriage. Lastly, through detailed research, Mr. Pike identifies the most welcoming islands and hotels. This was an original idea and will definitely provide new and interesting information to the reader,” said director of international communications at the Washington-based The Boeing Company Steve Lott, one of the judges for the contest.

“It is very unique and different,” added Yuriy Boykiv, chief executive officer of Gravity Media, a New York-based marketing and advertising agency.

Pike was one of ten travel writers and photographers awarded today for their coverage of the Caribbean.

The winners of this year’s Caribbean Travel Media awards are as follows:

Been There, Wrote That – Best Feature Article In A Consumer Magazine
Vivian Holley – Jamaica Magic–Having it All at Half Moon – Southern Seasons Magazine

I Couldn’t Have Written Better Myself – Best Feature In A Consumer Newspaper
Sharon Millar – Mermen Come Calling (a story on the folkloric legends of Tobago) – The New York Times

Inner Circle King/Queen– Best Feature Article In A Trade Publication
Joe Pike – How to Sell LGBT Travel to the Caribbean – Travel Agent Central

Virtual Visitor Award – Best Online Feature
David McFadden – Jamaica hopes Jewish Tourism can help fading community – The Associated Press

Golden Mic – Best Broadcast Feature
Valerie D’Elia – Experiencing Antigua Like a Local – NY1 News

From Infinity…And Abroad! (Best Feature by a foreign Journalist in US or Caribbean Media) 
Eric Vohr – From James Bond to a smuggler’s hangout, Bahamian chain has it all – Chicago Tribune

Oh Snap!– Best Photograph accompanying a feature
Brian Irwin – Fly-fishing on the Sapodilla Cayes off the coast of Belize, a photograph accompanying a story entitled, Ecotourism a Natural for Belize in the Boston Globe

No Anansi Story! (Best Feature by a Caribbean Journalist in Caribbean Media)
Chanaz Kokkelmans – Statia-cation : A Vacation on Statia – St. Maarten Daily Herald

Oh My Word, I Blogged! (Best Blog Post)
Rachelle Hay – Salt & Shimmer: Down D Islands, looking at travel in the region. This winner of this award was determined by voters in an online poll.

Caribbean Week New York celebrates  the sights, sounds, colours, culture and unique holiday experiences of the Caribbean.

For additional  information visit www.onecaribbean.org;  email [email protected] or call (212) 635-9530

Caribbean Week is supported by American Express, Academy Engraving, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, the Atrebor Group, the Islands of the Bahamas, Barbados, Bloomingdales, Caribbean Airlines, Cayman Islands, CitiTech Solutions, Dominica, El Dorado Rum, Empire State Building, Grace, Grenada, Golden Crust, Jade Mountain/Anse Chastanet Resort, Jamaica, Marry Caribbean, Martinique, Nassau Paradise Island, Nevis, Proximo, Resonance, The Real McCoy Rum, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sugar Beach, Travel + Leisure, Resonance Consultancy; Trinidad and Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands, Sugar Bay Resort & Spa, Unique Vacations, Inc./Sandals and Willams-Sonoma.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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Caribbean on course to break 20 million arrivals barrier in 2016

NEW YORK, NY, 3 June, 2016 –   Tourist arrivals to the Caribbean are expected to surpass the 30 million mark for the first time ever this year, following a record 28.7 million arrivals in 2015.

Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Richard Sealy announced here on Thursday evening that the industry got off to a fast start in 2016, registering a 7.3 per cent rise in the first quarter over the corresponding period last year.

During this period, the Caribbean region welcomed approximately 8.5 million international visitors, 580,000 higher than the first quarter of 2015.

“This performance was buttressed by lower oil prices and the strong US dollar, which increased the appeal of the region to potential visitors. The many air service agreements ensured that the region had adequate seats to facilitate the flow of travellers to and within the region,” the CTO chairman explained.

Nineteen destinations showed improvements upon their 2015 performance, with eight registering double digit growth of between 10.5 per cent and 26.8 per cent.

The growth was led by intra-regional trips which rose by 12-9 per cent, followed by the European market which registered growth of 11 per cent.

The CTO chairman told media at a news conference at Caribbean Week New York that regional tourism officials have recognized that more needed to be done to keep visitors occupied while in the Caribbean.

“The CTO continues to work feverishly with our members to see how they can improve their product offering and diversify their markets,” he said.

The CTO has projected growth of between 4.5 per cent and 5.5 per cent in 2016.

Caribbean Week New York continues this evening with Rum and Rhythm, a benefit for the CTO Foundation, the regional tourism development agency’s scholarship programme which assists Caribbean nationals pursuing further studies in tourism and hospitality.

The Empire State Building will also light up in Caribbean colours tonight in observance of Caribbean Week New York, which celebrates the sights, sounds, colours, culture and unique holiday experiences of the Caribbean.

Caribbean Week New York is supported by American Express, Academy Engraving, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, the Atrebor Group, the Islands of the Bahamas, Barbados, Bloomingdales, Caribbean Airlines, Cayman Islands, CitiTech Solutions, Dominica, El Dorado Rum, Empire State Building, Grace, Grenada, Golden Crust, Jade Mountain/Anse Chastanet Resort, Jamaica, Marry Caribbean, Martinique, Nassau Paradise Island, Nevis, Proximo, Resonance, The Real McCoy Rum, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sugar Beach, Travel + Leisure, Resonance Consultancy; Trinidad and Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands, Sugar Bay Resort & Spa, Unique Vacations, Inc./Sandals and Williams-Sonoma.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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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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