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CTO’S State of Industry Conference Receives Overwhelming Endorsement from Delegates

(BRIDGETOWN, Barbados) 23 December 2015 The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) which was held in Curaçao in late October has received a ringing endorsement from delegates, with well over nine out of ten rating the event highly.

A survey of delegates conducted during and after the conference has revealed that 95 per cent rated SOTIC excellent or good, and 100 per cent said they would attend another CTO conference. Ninety-six per cent said the theme, Caribbean Tourism: Growth Through Innovation, was well chosen.

“With the survey results now in and the analysis having taken place, it gives us clear insight into what delegates want, what we have done well and what we must improve on,” said secretary general Hugh Riley.

“We are pleased with the survey results but we know we must keep striving to make each conference even better than the one before. Already we’re developing incredible ideas for the 2016 SOTIC, which will be in Barbados.”

The poll found that virtually all of the delegates scored the sessions, the entire conference and the host country, Curaçao, very highly, with three-quarters saying it was good value for money. Nearly nine in ten (87 per cent) thought all the sessions were either good or excellent, with the session entitled, ‘The Age of Innovation – Increasing ROI’, rated by 96 per cent of delegates as either good or excellent. The keynote presentation by Robin Hayes, the CEO and President of JetBlue was also highly acclaimed, with 94 per cent of delegates scoring it excellent or good.

Other survey highlights include:

  • All delegates rated the Caribbean Tourism Youth Congress good or excellent.
  • Ninety-seven per cent thought the closing party was good or excellent.
  • The opening ceremony was well received with 86 per cent rating it good or excellent..

The CTO State of the Industry Conference is the pre-eminent tourism gathering in the region. It brings together tourism decision-makers, including ministers, commissioners and directors of tourism, hotel and airline executives, travel agents, students, the media and persons directly and indirectly involved in tourism. .

This year’s conference was held in collaboration with Curaçao’s Ministry of Economic Development and the Curaçao Tourism Board, with support from the UNWTO and the WTTC.

A date is being finalized for SOTIC 2016 in Barbados and will be released as soon as it is agreed.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, SOTIC

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CTO Declares 2016 ‘The Year of Romance in the Caribbean’

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (Jan. 4, 2016) – With the start of the New Year comes the launch of a new initiative by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) – 2016 The Year of Romance in the Caribbean – which celebrates everything romantic about the region. Through the campaign, CTO and its member countries and hotels will highlight the Caribbean as the leading choice for a romance vacation for consumers and travel planners selling the region.

“With over 30 destinations to choose from, the Caribbean region provides the perfect backdrop for a romantic getaway highlighted by pristine beaches, secluded accommodations, an abundance  of land and water activities, top-notch spa services and personalized attention that meets the needs of the most discerning traveler,” said Hugh Riley, secretary general of CTO. “The Year of Romance in the Caribbean will spotlight the romantic features of our region beyond the traditional times of year such as Valentine’s Day. A romantic theme is easily embraced by all of our member destinations 365 days a year,” Riley noted.

Throughout the year, CTO in cooperation with its private sector partner the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association; will assist member countries with an assortment of ideas which can be implemented around the theme of romance to appeal to consumers, travel agents and tour operators. Innovative ideas will be developed around:

♥ First-time or second-time marriages and the renewal of vows

♥ The most romantic locations to “pop the question” or to say “I do”

♥ Inviting celebrity couples to get married in the Caribbean

♥ Revisits by couples who were married or honeymooned in the Caribbean

♥ Couples celebrating milestone anniversaries

♥ Gift registries of romantic vacations in the Caribbean

“We anticipate that in addition to the ideas we provide our members, the countries and hotels will develop their own plan of action for promoting romance in their individual destinations,” said Riley adding: “The theme is inclusive of our partners, both public- and private-sector. Caribbean hotels, travel agents and tour operators are urged to create their own romantic ideas or adopt ones being embraced by the destinations. We envision airline partners getting involved with their own ‘love is in the air’ offers and recognizing  bridal parties onboard who are heading to a destination wedding in the Caribbean. We think video bloggers too will get involved in featuring the winners of the most romantic ideas.”

            CTO envisions 2016 The Year of Romance in the Caribbean as a catalyst for sellers and promoters of weddings and honeymoons, bridal publications and websites as well as wedding planners and service providers at the destination end.

            2016 The Year of Romance in the Caribbean will be promoted through social media and traditional media channels and will create opportunities for travelers and vacation planners to share their experiences and ideas of a romantic Caribbean vacation throughout 2016.

 

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Statement by the Caribbean Tourism Organization on the Paris agreement on climate change

(BRIDGETOWN, Barbados) 12 Dec 2015 The Caribbean region is experiencing the impact of the ravaging effects of climate change. Sea level rise, frequent and intense natural hazards; extended dry seasons resulting in water scarcity, loss of livelihoods and the disappearance of some of our islands are among the present-day dangers that we face.

The tourism sector and the environment are inextricably linked and environmentally responsible tourism is paramount to the sector’s sustainability and overall success.   Tourism must be stewarded and balanced so that the benefits for the environment, the communities it serves, its employees and the economy outweigh the costs. Our commitment to the climate cause is one way to do this.

The Conference of Parties 21 *(COP21) came to a close at the end of last week and the Caribbean’s position was clear.  Caribbean governments and regional agencies joined in one voice to shout their message of ‘1.5 to stay alive’ which urged global partners to support a call to limit warming to below 1.5C – a critical call on which our survival depends!  The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) also endorsed this call!

Many are touting COP21 a success.  The outcome, called the Paris Agreement, has been adopted by 195 nations, and for the first time brings all nations into a common cause based on their historic, current and future responsibilities. This is a huge achievement for the Caribbean.

The universal agreement’s main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

This new agreement offers hope.  As many of CTO’s members are Small Island Developing States (SIDS), we remain optimistic that the tremendous strides made in Paris will help to ensure that this issue continues to occupy a prominent position on the global agenda.  Let us all do our part to support the outcomes in Paris in any way we can.

Please view the video below, which has also been placed on onecaribbean.org, to remind you about the importance of this topic to the Caribbean.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak7cVJ9SXbk&feature=youtu.be

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Airlift into Antigua and Barbuda increases with addition of Seaborne Airlines

St. John’s, Antigua (December 13, 2015) – Plans made by Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Officials to welcome more flights from more airlines and tour operators around the world, upon completion of one of the largest and most modern airports in the Eastern Caribbean have rapidly taken off.

The Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Asot Michael, and Tourism Officials, welcomed a fourth airline into the destination, just three months after the opening of the new terminal at the V.C. Bird International Airport.

Seaborne Airlines launched its non-stop service between their hub in San Juan’s Luis Munoz Marin International Airport and Antigua on Sunday December 13, with a 34 seat Saab 340 aircraft.  The inaugural flight departed San Juan at 12:45 pm, and arrived into Antigua at 2:20 pm.

Seaborne Airline Officials, Mr. Hector Montanez – Director of Business Development & Marketing, Mr. Fernando Vazquez – Director of Airports, and Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Officials, Mrs. Paula Frederick-Hunte  – Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Investment, Economic Development & Energy, and Ms. Shirlene Nibbs – Tourism Consultant for the Tourism Ministry were onboard the flight.

In welcoming the new carrier, Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Asot Michael called Seaborne Airlines, “the largest regional operator in the Caribbean.”

“The entrance of Seaborne, provides passengers with one additional option for travelling to Antigua and Barbuda, quicker and more conveniently.

“As a regional hub, the more modern V.C. Bird International Airport, was extremely appealing and advantageous to Seaborne as they seek to expand their services throughout the wider Caribbean.”

Commenting on the inaugurals held to date, the Minister said, “Our mandate is to grow airlift and to enhance our existing strategic positioning.”

“JetBlue’s launch into Antigua and Barbuda earlier in December, and today’s arrival of Seaborne, is especially significant, due to the codeshare agreement signed between the two airlines in October. What this codeshare means to the everyday traveler is that they will be able to travel from JetBlue serviced territories in the United States, to Antigua seamlessly, with one ticket, one check-in and reliable baggage transfer.”

Seaborne’s partnership with JetBlue Airways, as well as Air Europa, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines, means that, the airline can provide connections for passengers from thirty-three other destinations in the Americas as well as in Europe, into Antigua and Barbuda.

“We are excited to introduce Antigua as the 17th airport served by Seaborne Airlines; the fastest growing airline in the Caribbean,” said Seaborne CEO and President Gary Foss.

“I am confident that our customers throughout the region will benefit from Seaborne’s unmatched customer service commitment, low fares and connectivity to our airline partners.”

Flights from Antigua to San Juan depart at 3:05 pm and arrive at 4:40 pm.

V.C. Bird International Airport’s growing portfolio of passenger airlines maintains Antigua and Barbuda’s position as a major hub in the Eastern Caribbean.

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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Curaçao launches online Embarkation and Disembarkation card (ED-card)

WILLEMSTAD – December 7, 2015 – On Monday, December 7th the Curaçao Tourist Board together with the Immigration Department of Curaçao launched the online version of the Embarkation and Disembarkation card (ED-card). Completing the form digitally has two main goals namely a fast and efficient process at the immigration line and immediate processing of the visitor’s data.

All foreign visitors arriving in Curaçao are required to have a completed ED-card for immigration clearance. At the moment travelers can obtain the ED-card on board of the flights arriving to Curaçao. This card contains personal information, such as name and birth date, port of embarkation, home address, purpose of visit, the reason for choosing Curaçao, how reservation was made, duration of visit and the chosen accommodation during stay. The Online ED-card can be completed in the comfort of your home before even embarking your flight to Curaçao. By introducing the Online ED-card the amount of time spent in the immigration line will be considerably reduced. The Online ED-card will be in sync with the Border Management System of the Immigration Department in Curaçao.

How to access the online ED-card
Go to the website of the Curaçao Tourist Board, www.curacao.com click on the tab ‘Online ED-card’.

Completing the ED-card
After booking your flight complete the form by filling out all required fields. Form must be completed 24 hours before departing to Curaçao. After completing the form submit the form by clicking on the ‘save’ button. You will receive an email back confirming your online registration. Bring a printout or show it on your mobile device. This confirmation does not guarantee admission to Curaçao. A border control officer at the port of entry will have the final determination. Upon arrival, the immigration officer will scan your passport and will be notified that your card has been processed online in the secured Border Management System.

Clearing Immigration
At arrival, present your travel documents (valid passport) to the immigration officer at the immigration counter. The immigration officer will match your passport with your completed online ED-card in the system.

Please note that the current ED-card will be still available for guests who prefer to fill out the form during their flight to Curaçao.

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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Antigua and Barbuda boast lowest airfares to the Caribbean with flights starting from $280 round-trip

New York, NY (December 11, 2015) – The twin islands of Antigua and Barbuda are experiencing record low airfares to the destination during the busiest time of the season, where travelers across the New York Tristate area are eager to escape the blistery winters. Travelers can now find inexpensive fares to Antigua and Barbuda for as low as $280 round-trip including taxes and fees on United, American Airlines and JetBlue from both New York (JFK) and Newark (EWR). JetBlue’s entry-level $280 fare will be available through to March 2016. These enticingly low fares with short flight times of less than four hours make Antigua and Barbuda an ideal Winter getaway; making travel to this Caribbean paradise easy and seamless.

Historically known as one of the less affordable Caribbean destinations to get to, this shift in price is expected to increase visitor arrivals to Antigua and Barbuda as consumers will be getting more added value for their money which should in turn increase visitor on-island spend. Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Ms. Marie Walker is excited about the positive results this will bring to the destination, “These inexpensive fares are fantastic news for Antigua and Barbuda and is sure to increase our competitiveness in the US market where consumers are so much more savvy than in the past. Research shows people are often looking for the best deals when planning a vacation, and you can’t beat $280 for a quick flight to get you directly to the paradise of Antigua and Barbuda. Very shortly, those along the Eastern seaboard will be desperately looking for an escape from the cold weather and short days, and we are confident the combination of cerulean waters, 365 different pristine white and pink sand beaches, wonderful gastronomy and inexpensive flights will entice many more visitors to discover the wonder that is Antigua and Barbuda this season,” says Ms. Walker.

The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority in tandem with the Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism plans to continue building on this momentum and is striving to increase airlift to the twin islands from across the North American Market. The destination only just yesterday launched its new Seaborne Airlines service out of San Juan, Puerto Rico to Antigua’s VC Bird International Airport that offers as a perfect connector with codeshare partners JetBlue who are the largest carriers in to San Juan as well as the world’s largest carrier, American Airlines.

The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority North America office has been aggressively promoting the destination with a strategic digital and print ad campaign with several notable publications to include, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Brides.com and Budget Travel coupled with a tactical relentless road show calendar geared towards targeting specific markets in the Northeast, South and Midwest territories as well as Canada.

To discover why Antigua and Barbuda is the ‘gem’ of the Caribbean, topping travel lists every year, and book your winter getaway, contact your preferred travel agent or visit your preferred online booking platform, or airline websites, aa.com, united.com, jetblue.com for flight and airfare availability.

For information about Antigua & Barbuda visit www.visitantiguabarbuda.com or www.antiguabarbudabuzz.com and follow us on Twitter. http://twitter.com/antiguabarbuda  Facebook www.facebook.com/antiguabarbuda; Instagram:www.instagram.com/AntiguaandBarbuda

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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Barbados named Destination of the Year by Caribbean Journal

NEW YORK (December 2, 2015) – Barbados wins big in 2015 with the recognition of the island as ‘Destination of the Year’ 2015 and acknowledgment for the opening of its newest resort, Sandals Barbados, dubbed  the ‘New All-Inclusive Resort of the Year’ by Caribbean Journal in their coveted Caribbean Travel Awards.  Based on the efforts demonstrated by the tourism sector and marketing reach made throughout the year, the Caribbean Travel Awards highlight the “Best of 2015” for readers of Caribbean Journal with followers that span over 60,000 readers a month in the Americas and internationally.

“We are honored to be named Caribbean Journal’s “Destination of the Year,” acknowledged the Honorable Richard Sealy, Minister of Tourism and International Transport. “This accolade is sincerely appreciated and we see this as manifestation of our efforts to improve the destination product. I salute all the stakeholders whose dedication has contributed significantly to this recognition. Barbados has benefited with the recent increase in airlift options for travelers from all markets and we fully intend to continue the positive trajectory of growth as we move into 2016.”

“It is great to see Caribbean destinations using cutting edge marketing and creativity to draw new travelers,” stated Alexander Britell, Editor in Chief of Caribbean Journal. “Barbados has had a tremendous year in that regard and our team of Caribbean experts is proud to honor them for that achievement.”

This honor comes at a historic moment for Barbados, celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence this 2016. With the addition of new JetBlue routes from the Boston market and Mint service for the luxury set, the island continues to strengthen its connection to travelers in the US market. Offering a colorful and culturally driven variety of events and activities for every niche, consumers continue to view the destination as the ultimate in sun, sand and sea.

For a complete list of all the awards from the initial Caribbean Journal Caribbean Travel Awards, please visit www.caribjournal.com.

 

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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