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Destination rebranding services for Dominica

Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) is pleased to invite Expressions of Interest (EoI) from consulting, marketing and creative agencies to undertake activities towards a destination rebranding.  The services required include research and creative services to help better define and communicate the brand personality, brand identity, brand essence and brand promise of destination Dominica.

Expressions of Interest, which should be no more than 3 pages, should describe the company’s set up, capabilities and experience in providing the necessary research and creative services and reasons why it should be included in the shortlist of companies to be invited to tender by Discover Dominica Authority.

The shortlisted firms will receive an invitation and Request for Proposal from Discover Dominica Authority to take part in a Competitive Selection Process for the contract to provide the Destination Rebranding Services.

Expressions of Interest should be submitted to Mr. Colin Piper, CEO/Director of Tourism, Discover Dominica Authority at [email protected] and copy Monique Jacob at [email protected] no later than 23rd February, 2016.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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FAQs on ZIKA & Travel to the Caribbean

The spread of the Zika virus in the Americas, with Brazil as the epicentre, and the possible though not yet proven accompanying link to microcephaly has, understandably, caused concern. The Level 2 alert issued by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created doubt among some potential travellers to the Caribbean as to whether or not their health is at risk and whether or not they should continue with their travel plans.

Conflicting information about the virus, coupled with the yet unconfirmed link to microcephaly, has led to uncertainty and confusion, which in turn leads to panic.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) are aware that you have a number of questions about your travel plans. We have therefore compiled a series of Frequently Asked Questions in relation to Zika and travel to the Caribbean. We hope you will find these details helpful.  We implore you not to panic.

 

How is the Zika Virus impacting Caribbean Tourism?

It’s too early to tell but all indications are that there are very few cancellations as a result of Zika.   The Caribbean set a record for visitors arrivals in 2015 and all indications point to continued growth and its popularity as one of the world’s most desirable warm weather destinations.

Should I cancel my Caribbean holiday?

No. However, as always we advise you to travel sensibly and to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself against insect bites, including mosquito bites, in very much the same way you would on any holiday in any tropical country.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and other health agencies, including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said that Zika symptoms for the vast majority of people are mild and last two to seven days. In fact, according to the WHO and the CDC, four in five people who contract the virus never know they got it, and if you get it once you develop immunity for life.

What are some of the concerns?

Concerns have been raised about a condition known as microcephaly and its effects on the unborn children of pregnant women. However, the WHO itself has stated several times that it has no proof of a link between Zika and microcephaly. In fact, there is other research that suggests there is no link and that there are other causes of the suspected rise in cases in Brazil. There are also no reported cases of microcephaly linked to Zika outbreaks in other countries or regions. Also, according to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), microcephaly is extremely rare in the Caribbean and there are no cases linked to Zika.

How worried is the Caribbean that Zika and the extensive news coverage will impact tourism this year?

We take the health and safety of our guests very seriously. Based on the evidence, we firmly believe that the Zika virus does not pose an extraordinary threat to visitors to the Caribbean. We will continue to closely monitor developments and if fresh evidence emerges that suggests otherwise we will advise accordingly.

In the meantime, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) remain in close contact with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to monitor and research the Zika cases in the Caribbean and to communicate prevention and control measures to residents and visitors, while the health authorities in our member countries are taking the necessary steps to limit the number of new cases.

Local populations and visitors alike are assured that the Caribbean remains open for business and safe for travel. The CTO and CHTA will continue to work closely with CARPHA to assess the situation, but we encourage visitors to continue with their travel plans to the Caribbean and follow the advice and precautions issued by the World Health Organization, similar to those which are provided to travelers to most tropical destinations.

Note also that the World Health Organization has not issued any travel restrictions to affected countries.

Which Caribbean countries are most at risk? 

The Zika outbreak has been concentrated in Brazil and South America, with approximately 1.5 million suspected cases in Brazil. By contrast, there have been around 200 suspected cases in the Caribbean, spread across about a dozen of the region’s 30-plus countries. Most individuals  who contracted the virus have already recovered.

What special measures are Caribbean tourism industry and health authorities taking to calm guest’s nerves or head off their concerns?

Caribbean countries and hotels continue their proactive measures similar to those used to combat other mosquito-borne viruses.  Staff and guests are being provided with the necessary information so they become familiar with how it can be prevented, how it can be transmitted, its signs and symptoms.  Insect repellent containing DEET is being placed in hotel rooms, or made easily available for purchase.

Many of our member countries undertake national clean-up campaigns to try to eradicate breeding grounds, while an increasing number of hotels install mosquito screens on windows and/or supply guests with bed nets in areas where the sleeping quarters are exposed to the outdoors.

Which airlines have you confirmed have taken this measure regarding travel, specifically to the Caribbean?

We are aware that a number of airlines, cruise lines and tour operators have announced cancellation or change policies. These policies vary from carrier to carrier and we encourage travellers to check with their travel agents or carrier if they are uncertain of the policy. We also recommend that you check with your hotel to inquire about its policy on cancellations and/or change of dates of guests.

How can visitors to the Caribbean protect themselves from contracting Zika?

We continue to encourage visitors to protect themselves from mosquito bites by using long lasting repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 on exposed skin.  Many of our guests come to the region to enjoy the sunshine, therefore, we advise those using both sunscreen and insect repellent, to apply the sunscreen first, then the repellent.

What is the Caribbean’s call to action?

Firstly, there is no reason to panic, but ensure precautions are taken to protect yourself from insect bites and stay informed about the Zika virus. The number of cases in the Caribbean is small and we anticipate that proliferation will be limited. However, we continue to encourage all communities to approach this matter seriously and aggressively, recognizing that the most effective way to control Zika is to eliminate mosquitoes.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, ZIKA

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Barbados announces 2015 best year on record for tourism

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS. February 1, 2016.  Barbados’ tourism industry is on a strong growth path with 2015 being a record year.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, in an update on the state of the industry, noted that 2015 was a “turnaround year” with many of the vital signs showing steady improvement.

Long stay arrivals grew by 13.7 percent to reach 591,892, the highest on record.  The UK remained Barbados’ no. 1 source market contributing 37 percent of business with a year on year increase of 14.1 percent.  The USA market, which represented 25 percent of international visitor arrivals, grew by 25 percent. The Caribbean & Latin America and Canadian markets, which equated to 15.9 percent and 12.6 percent of total long stay arrivals, grew by 13.1 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

Barbados’ growth strategy focused heavily on the diversification of their source markets, including establishing new gateways out of Boston via JetBlue; Bogota, Columbia through Avianca; and a new Thomas Cook service out of Glasgow.  The island’s tourism industry also benefitted in 2015 from the introduction of a twice weekly Delta service out of Atlanta and New York, and the switch by Air Canada to a B777 aircraft.

In addition, Barbados shone in the region as the first international destination to receive JetBlue’s new Mint Service, which has since been extended to a once weekly year-round service.  The island also copped best destination awards from Expedia, Caribbean Journal and the Telegraph.

The minister also revealed that the new all-inclusive Sandals Barbados, as well as the new Sugar Bay all-inclusive resort, contributed approximately 380 more rooms to the island’s room inventory during the year and contributed in a great way to the increase in new long stay arrivals.  The Sandals property is set to construct an additional 220 rooms in 2016, while the new Beaches resort will commence construction at the site of the Almond Beach Resort later this year.

Posted in: 2016 News, Destination News

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Isla Verde tourism to strengthen as ESJ Towers completes renovation

Isla Verde, an iconic high-density tourist area in Puerto Rico, is projected to see a boost in tourism as the transformation of ESJ Towers is finalized. The renovation of ESJ Towers to ESJ Azul, is one of the pillars proposed to revitalize Isla Verde beach. An $8 million investment made toward remodeling the property will provide a total of 450 rooms for visitors.

“The opening of ESJ Azul, as well as new tourism projects, represent an awakening in this area which is fundamental in strengthening the tourism industry in Puerto Rico,” said Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) Ingrid I. Rivera Rocafort. “These projects will create a new edge on innovation, entertainment and life to this iconic neighborhood in Isla Verde.”

New projects on the island include the remodeling of ESJ Tower, El Noir and El Verde, which have been great investments in the tourism industry and have created nearly 1,000 jobs, resulting in a boost to the economy of Puerto Rico.

This new initiative, known as the rebirth of Isla Verde, is led by Keith St. Clair, a veteran of the tourism and travel industry. With the opening of ESJ Azul, the initial project of the new vision for Isla Verde, St. Clair compliments the functions of a first-class hotel with excellent attractions, services and housing, positioning Puerto Rico as a destination.

“Since I came to Puerto Rico, I have enjoyed the advantages of investing and living on the island, and I am convinced that tourism is one of the key factors to economic recovery and growth. This multi-billion dollar investment made on ESJ marks the beginning of a new stage in Isla Verde, and allows new facilities to continue to promote the tourism sector,” said St. Clair.

“This rehabilitation will provide more variety and attractive offers to visitors, resulting in a great opportunity to give the tourism industry a diverse and dynamic leadership role in the country,” said Rivera Rocafort.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO and CHTA Statement on the ZIKA Virus

Public health authorities in the Caribbean are working diligently to mitigate the effects of the Zika virus. Zika, also known as ZIKV, is spread primarily by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

The public-sector-led Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and its private sector counterpart, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) are in close contact with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to monitor and research the Zika cases that have now surfaced in some Caribbean destinations, and to communicate prevention and control measures to residents and visitors.

The CTO and CHTA are in communication with their respective stakeholders and are observing national, regional and international health protocols in dealing with mosquito-borne viral diseases which can be found in tropical countries.

With more than 700 islands in 30 territories in the Caribbean, conditions will vary from one nation to another.

CTO and CHTA will continue to monitor all developments related to mosquito-borne viral diseases and to support appropriate communication, education and prevention initiatives.

ZIKA GUIDELINES FOR TRAVELLERS: http://carpha.org/Portals/0/docs/ZIKA/ZIKA-GUIDELINES-FOR-TRAVELLERS.pdf

ZIKA GUIDELINES FOR HOTELS AND GUESTHOUSES: http://carpha.org/Portals/0/docs/ZIKA/ZIKA-GUIDELINES-FOR-HOTELS.pdf

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, ZIKA Virus

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First Bed and Breakfast inaugurated in San Sebastián

The Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), Ingrid I. Rivera Rocafort, and the Mayor of San Sebastián, Javier Jiménez Pérz, announced the opening of the first Bed and Breakfast (B&B) in the municipality of San Sebastián. The B&B, located in the historic center of town, has four bedrooms and encompasses a Creole-inspired atmosphere through its mix of antique and contemporary furnishings. Rates start at $99 per night.

“Yaiza Arvelo Serrano and Edwin Cortés Seguinot, owners of the B&B in San Sebastián and new entrepreneurs in the tourism industry, believed that tourism development could blossom with the first two Bed and Breakfasts certified by the PRTC program,” said Rivera Rocafort. “With an investment of nearly $65,000, the opening of the B&B in San Sebastián will increase room availability by four units, as well as offer three direct and five indirect jobs.”

“The opening of this Bed and Breakfast, has opened the possibility to a new lifestyle in which we share our home, our people and our country with individuals throughout the world,” said Serrano.

The San Sebastián B&B offers personalized service and a complete breakfast, including local produce found throughout the island. The breakfast provided features a stuffed ham and cheese pocket produced in La Esperanza, natural fruit juice, fresh fruits and gourmet Puerto Rican coffee. In addition, the new B&B will offer guests free Wi-Fi access and cable TV.

Nearby the B&B, visitors can find a number of activities in the town, including a historic century-old church, the History Museum of San Sebastián and City Hall. San Sebastián is also home to a number of bakeries, pizzerias and Creole eateries. Additionally, San Sebastián has a variety of nature attractions, such as the well-known Gozalandia waterfall and Lake Guajataca. Also close in proximity, is the Rio Camuy Cave Park, Arecibo Observatory and Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park.

Puerto Rico Tourism Company Bed and Breakfast (B&B) Program Information

  • B&B Inns are the smallest lodging accommodation available on the Island. Each house has at least three rooms, but no more than six.
  • The resident of the property is the host and provides each guest breakfast services as an essential part of the facility’s per-night rate.
  • The B&B Program encourages visitors to discover the culture and tourist attractions of a destination, while experiencing intimate and specialized accommodations provided by a local family service.
  • The goal of the program is to offer tourists diversity of lodgings throughout their stay in Puerto Rico.
  • The implementation of this program began in December of 2013 with the inauguration of Casa Sol in San Juan. San Sebastián Bed and Breakfast now joins Casa Sol (San Juan), Casa Castellana (San Juan) and Dos Angeles del Mar (Rincon), as a certified B&B.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Guyana listed among 12 Emerging Travel Destinations to visit in 2016

Guyana, South America Undiscovered- On the cusp of the 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations Guyana has been accorded yet another distinction, having been featured in the Business Insider UK’s  ‘ 12 Emerging destinations you have to visit in 2016’.
In this most recent feature, Broadcast journalist and photojournalist, Anisha Shah explains that 2016 is all about emerging destinations.

“Wilderness, wildlife and culture; these themes will illuminate the year’s travel itineraries. Escapism and authenticity are key and nowhere offers them quite like fledgling and far-flung nations,” she said.

In sharing her perception of the destination, Shah, who is now a freelance journalist for CNN, BBC Travel and Huffington Post wrote, “Dripping in rainforests, Guyana’s untouched pristine interior is sparsely populated, home only to few Amerindian villages. Wildlife far outnumbers the people, with jaguars, pumas and sloths the real locals. The majority of people inhabit the Northeastern narrow Atlantic Ocean coastline of blonde castaway beaches backed by dense forest, home to endangered sea turtles. Kaieteur Falls, one of the grandest falls you’ve never heard of, is the world’s widest single-drop waterfall, peaking at 76m and encased in virgin ancient jungle. Seeing it by tiny charter flight is unforgettable.”

“Why Now? You’ve heard of Iguazu and Angel Falls, read about Galapagos wildlife and Brazil’s rainforest but Guyana is a small nation with all of the above, where you won’t come across another tourist…just yet.”

Also making the list of the 12 Emerging Travel Destinations to visit in 2016 were, Glacier Bay National Park: Alaska, Japan, Gabon, Uganda, Iran, Taiwan, Madagascar, the Arctic: Iceland, Greenland, and Norway, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea and Kyrgyzstan.

These recent accolade augurs well for Guyana, as the destination prepares to celebrate its  Golden Jubilee with great fanfare and welcomes any opportunity to promote the vibrancy, raw authentic adventure, stunning scenery and rich culture that is unique to this South American country.

According to the Hon. Tourism Minister, Catherine Hughes, Guyana’s unique blend of tourism products is as rich and as attractive as those found in any part of the world.

She noted too that the Destination has the potential to attract a wide cross section of travelers with varying interests , and the ability to lure those looking for unique adventures in ‘off the beaten path’ destinations .

Over the years, Guyana has cemented its position as a leading Sustainable Tourism Destination, and has gained international recognition as ‘National Geographic Traveler 2014’s must-see places on planet earth. Guyana earned a coveted spot on this exclusive, very short list for the very first time in 2014’and  BBC Travel’s  ‘Five destinations you should know more about’, among many others.
“The tourism sector is very important for showcasing a country’s cultural diversity, as well as its socio-economic potential. With the attention that ‘Guyana- South America Undiscovered’ is receiving, there is no doubt that the sector will be propelled to greater heights in 2016. We have made great strides in promoting Guyana, and the country is now internationally recognised as a viable eco-tourism destination. We have much more to offer through our many niche products,” the Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority, Mr. Indranauth Haralsingh explained.

The Destination features an irresistible combination of captivating natural beauty; pristine Amazonian rainforests; immense waterfalls; amazing wildlife, blended with a vibrant indigenous culture, rich heritage and the most hospitable and friendly people in the world; niche products include Bird Watching, Sport Fishing, Community Based Tourism, Wildlife Spotting and Yachting.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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