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Outstanding Caribbean Citizen to Receive Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Most Prestigious Award

~ Grenadian hotelier Sir Royston Hopkin to be presented with CTO’s Lifetime Achievement Award at Rhythms of the Caribbean Ball at Plaza Hotel in New York ~

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (May 17, 2011) –A virtual lifetime of high performance,  dedicated service to his country and the Caribbean, will be rewarded when the international agency responsible for the Caribbean’s tourism development, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) presents its most prestigious award to one of Grenada’s finest hospitality practitioners.

Sir Royston Hopkin, the successful proprietor, chairman and managing director of the New Spice Island Beach Resort, has been named the CTO’s Lifetime Achievement Awardee for 2011 and will be presented with the award at the Rhythms of the Caribbean Ball at the Plaza Hotel in New York on 10 June.
Sir Royston has a near 50 year record of outstanding service in the hospitality sector, dating back to 1965 when he joined the family business at Ross Point Inn and, at the age of 20, became the youngest person ever appointed to the Grenada Tourist Board.

In the ensuing years, Sir Royston’s contributions have touched almost every sector of the Grenadian society, with his luxury resort employing over 200 people. In addition to being the first Grenadian to be elected president of the Grenada Hotel Association – a position he has held 14 times – Sir Royston established a scholarship fund for needy children from which 110 students have benefitted. He has also worked with the Grenada Union of Teachers and the Ministry of Education, to enlighten teachers about the tourism industry and has hosted 200 teachers and their spouses at his resort for a weekend, to give them an opportunity to understand the hotel component of the industry.

Regionally, Sir Royston has served in various capacities in the Caribbean Hotel Association (now the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association) and founded the Small Hotels Committee, which today is still one of the most important sub-committees of that association. He is also a member of the association’s executive committee and is the current chairman of the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST), the largest private sector sustainable organization in the region.

“Sir Royston has been a faithful servant of Grenadian and Caribbean tourism and his dedication has been fully demonstrated through his many outstanding achievements,” said Hugh Riley, the CTO’s secretary general. “We are pleased that he has agreed to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award during our Rhythms of the Caribbean Ball at the Plaza Hotel in New York.”

The CTO Lifetime Achievement Award honours long serving, high performance professionals whose careers have truly made a difference in the Caribbean.  The award is for achievement over a period of several years rather than a single contribution.  It recognizes achievement that distinguishes the individual’s work and provides a legacy for future generations.

The Ball, which this year combines Caribbean rhythms and hospitality in an elegant blacktie event, is a highlight of Caribbean Week in New York, which features some very exciting new elements this year.

Caribbean Week in New York is supported by Afar Magazine, American Express, Association of Travel Meeting Executives, BRIDES, Caribbean Tales, Carib Vision, Churches United to Save and Heal, Citi Tech Solutions, CTO Foundation, Demetrious, Diamond Noir Collective, Dreamy Weddings, Dwayne Bishop Photography, Empire State Building, Hermies Salon, Hard Beat Communications, Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce, Jamaica, MarryCaribbean, opusseven, Pace University, Performance Media Group, St. George’s Episcopal Church,  St. Kitts, Travelocity and the Wall Street Journal . For information on how to purchase tickets for the Ball and for the full Caribbean Week in New York programme, visit www.caribbeanweekny.com

Posted in: 2011 News, Blog, Caribbean Week

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Barbados’ Harrison’s Cave & Guyana’s Surama Village Named Winners of CTO/TravelMole Caribbean Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Award

SOUTHAMPTON, Bermuda (April 5, 2011) – Two initiatives emanating from two ends of the sustainable tourism development spectrum share the CTO/TravelMole award for environmental excellence.

Barbados’ Harrison’s Cave and Surama Village Eco-Lodge of Guyana are the winners of the 2011 Caribbean Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Award, presented by the Caribbean Tourism Organization, in collaboration with TravelMole.

A panel of regional and international tourism and environmental specialists – led by the head judge, Lelei LeLaulu, president of the global development agency, Counterpart International – selected the winning projects, and the awards were presented at STC-12 here today.

Harrison’s Cave won for taking what was already a mature tourism attraction and upgrading it to make it more environmentally responsible and more economically productive. Green principles have been incorporated into the design and construction of the facility. Elements of greening include the use of natural wood and stone products, low carbon transportation, rainwater harvesting, green design for Visitor Reception Centre and the use of membrane bioreactor sewerage treatment plants.

Surama Village Eco-Lodge, on the other hand, harnesses the economic power of the visitor industry in a responsible and sustainable way to create wealth and to benefit the community of under 290 people and their environment. The Surama Eco-Lodge and all tours in and around Surama – a small Amerindian situated on five square miles of savannah land – are managed and operated solely by the local Makushi Amerindians. With only eight rooms, tourism is intentionally kept small to lessen any impact on traditional lifestyles. However, the roughly 700 annual visitors provide employment for 70 people – (from three-quarters of village households) and nearly 60 per cent of the village’s income comes from tourism.

“These two initiatives reflect two of the core aims of the CTO and TravelMole; namely to use tourism as an anti-poverty/development tool and to encourage the continuing refinement of products to ensure enhanced environmental conservation and added revenue generation,” said Mr. LeLaulu.

The CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley and Graham McKenzie of TravelMole presented awards to Ms. Veronica Millington of Caves of Barbados and Mr. Sydney Allicock of Surama Village Eco-Lodge.

The CTO/TravelMole awards are aimed at identifying, recognizing and showcasing sustainable tourism best practices in the Caribbean, which embrace sustainable tourism concepts and core values, and which helps to enhance the tourism product offerings.

About TravelMole

TravelMole.com is the first online community for the Travel and Tourism Industry, established in 1998. Today TravelMole.com and TravelMole.TV publishes 15 eNewsletters and broadcasts hundreds of videos to over 450,000 travel & tourism industry professional registered members and subscribers, as well as 30 million consumers in 132 countries. This includes the highly acclaimed VISION on Sustainable Tourism publication.

About Bermuda

Bermuda, just under two hours from the Northeastern U.S., stretches for 21 miles along turquoise waters and is surrounded by a 200-square-mile coral reef plateau. Bermuda’s accommodations range from luxury resorts to intimate guest cottages and family-run inns, all incorporating the sophistication and hospitality unique to the Bermuda experience. The island includes more than 150 restaurants to fit any traveler’s budget, from simple and inexpensive to elegant and special dining. Bermuda’s diverse activities offer an array of vacation options all year round, including more wreck dives than anywhere else in the world, championship golf, horseback riding, world-renowned deep sea fishing and smooth pink beaches to rest on by day’s end.

About the Caribbean Tourism Organization

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with the headquarters in Barbados and marketing operations in New York and London, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency and comprises membership of over 30 governments and a myriad of private sector entities.

The CTO’s mission is to provide to and through its members, the services and information needed for the development of sustainable tourism for the economic and social benefit of the Caribbean people.

The organization provides specialized support and technical assistance to member countries in the areas of marketing, human resource development, research and statistics, information technology and sustainable tourism development.  The CTO disseminates information on behalf of its member governments to consumers and the travel trade.

CTO Headquarters is located at One Financial Place, Collymore Rock, St, Michael, Barbados; Tel: (246) 427-5242; Fax: (246) 429-3065; E-mail: [email protected] For more information, please visit www.caribbeantravel.com or www.onecaribbean.org. Get the latest CTO updates on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ctotourism. Connect with CTO on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CaribbeanTourismOrganization.

The CTO’s New York office is located at 80 Broad St., 32nd Floor, New York, NY 10004, USA: Tel: (212) 635-9530; Fax: (212) 635-9511; E-mail: [email protected]; CTO’s London office is located at The Quadrant, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1BP, England. Tel: 011 44 208 948 0057; Fax: 011 44 208 948 0067; E-mail: [email protected]

Posted in: 2011 News, Blog, STC

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CTO Chairman on The UK Government’s Announcement that the APD Will Not Be Increased in 2011

March 23, 2011 – The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) Chairman, Ricky Skerrit, has said the organization is pleased with today’s announcement by the British Chancellor that the Air Passenger Duty (APD) will not rise this year as previously projected, thus not increasing the current tax burden on British travellers to the Caribbean. The Chancellor’s statement to his parliament that the arbitrary nature of the bands “appeared to believe that the Caribbean was further away than California,” is a clear recognition of a crucial issue that has been the focus of the strong lobbying efforts by the CTO and its allies in the private sector, the Caribbean High Commissions, and the Diaspora.

Today’s announcement by the Chancellor is a small but important victory for the Caribbean.  In our various meetings with the British Government CTO opposed the idea of a Per Plane Tax for economic reasons. We also asked that the existing banding system be reviewed; for no more increases in the APD; and for it to be revised downwards in a new, fairer system. The Chancellor’s speech gives us positive results on all three points.

It is therefore clear evidence that the British government is listening to our concerns and that we have been effective in expressing them publicly and privately.

CTO is also pleased that we have been officially invited to continue to participate in further APD consultation over the coming weeks. In so doing we will continue to argue that the current banding system places the Caribbean at a disadvantage and hurts our economies. We will persist in our efforts to obtain a fairer system of aviation taxation that does not cripple travel to our heavily tourism-dependent region.

Therefore, in spite of today’s good news from the UK Chancellor, our advocacy on the APD is not over. All Caribbean tourism interests must continue to fight for APD reform in a manner that further removes any competitive disadvantage, and does not hamper our efforts to achieve sustainable growth in tourism, for the benefit of the People of the Caribbean.

Posted in: 2011 News, APD, Blog

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Sustainable Tourism Conference to Focus on Attracting the Next Generation of Experiental Travellers

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (22 March  2011) – How to develop and manage innovative tourism products that appeal to the next generation of travellers is one of the many practical lessons delegates to the region’s leading conference on sustainable tourism will take from the event.

A workshop on experiential tourism will be part of an exciting programme at the 12th Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC-12) in Bermuda from 3-6 April. The workshop will provide interesting insights into understanding the next generation of experiential travellers who are seeking more interactive and meaningful destination experiences.

Dubbed “Experiential Tourism – Haven’t Been There, Done That:  How Sustainability Can Transform The Travel Experience,” this workshop will provide participants the opportunity to learn about the sustainable, authentic, experiential tourism market, including the importance of domestic visitors, said workshop facilitator Judy Karwacki, a sustainable tourism consultant with over 25 years experience in the industry.

“A tourism product is what you buy. A tourism experience is what you remember.  There is an evolution taking place – from mass tourism, with its packaged vacations and low levels of interaction with the local culture, to experiential tourism, which leaves people with memories for a lifetime,” Ms. Karwacki stated. “Most of all experiential travellers are seeking extraordinary prestigious experiences.  They want bragging rights to travel tales that captivate their friends and family.”

The workshop will include interactive activities that will focus on developing ideas for innovative made-in-the-Caribbean experiential tourism themes and products that participants can take home to create their own new authentic, sustainable, niche tourism experiences.

STC-12, which has as its theme “Keeping the Right Balance: Rising Above the Numbers” is being organised by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), in collaboration with the Bermuda Department of Tourism and will be held at the Fairmont Southampton.

For delegates travelling from North America and the Caribbean, American Airlines is offering a 30 per cent discount off published fares. Delegates from the UK receive exclusive rates from £459 return on British Airways. For details on how to take advantage of these special fares and for more information on STC-12, including how to register for the conference, visit www.caribbeanstc.com.

About Bermuda

Bermuda, just under two hours from the Northeastern U.S., stretches for 21 miles along turquoise waters and is surrounded by a 200-square-mile coral reef plateau. Bermuda’s accommodations range from luxury resorts to intimate guest cottages and family-run inns, all incorporating the sophistication and hospitality unique to the Bermuda experience. The island includes more than 150 restaurants to fit any traveler’s budget, from simple and inexpensive to elegant and special dining. Bermuda’s diverse activities offer an array of vacation options all year round, including more wreck dives than anywhere else in the world, championship golf, horseback riding, world-renowned deep sea fishing and smooth pink beaches to rest on by day’s end.

Posted in: 2011 News, Blog

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Caribbean Tourism Leaders and the EU Conclude Tourism Summit

BRUSSELS, Belgium (14 March 2011) – Caribbean tourism leaders and European Union (EU) officials have ended the first Caribbean tourism summit in the European capital with a greater understanding of each other’s concerns regarding the tourism sector. A delegation of regional tourism leaders – led by the chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) the Hon. Ricky Skerritt, and including tourism ministers from five other Caribbean countries, came to the heart of Europe’s decision-making machinery to stress the importance of a policy agenda towards tourism.

At meetings held at the European parliament and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) grouping headquarters, the two sides discussed key subjects including ways to bridge the gap between policy intentions and practice; sources of funding for tourism development; tourism, aviation and taxation; tourism, education and social development; tourism and climate change; and how the tourism sector can benefit from the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the Caribbean and Europe.

At the end of the session the CTO Chairman said there were six key conclusions from the talks:

*  Tourism is a significant sector for both the EU and the Caribbean and both regions have much to do to advance the policy discussion to ensure that tourism is given the attention and support that it deserves;
*  There are various types of funding available in the EU and the EPA to support tourism-related initiatives and there is a need to establish modalities to work together to ensure that such funding is chanelled towards priority areas, including tourism – and that Caribbean public and private sectors must reach consensus on the priority areas;

*  Aviation taxation and Emission Trading Schemes are real threats to Caribbean tourism;

*  Tourism is a major driver of economic and social development in the Caribbean and any negative impact on tourism will have far reaching consequences across the range of services that might be wholly unrelated to the sector but that rely in part on government funding through income from tourism;

*  While the Caribbean has not been a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions it will suffer significantly from the impact of climate change, but the Caribbean can be a world leader in conservation and climate change initiatives.

*  The Caribbean heard that the EPA contains specific commitments to the sustainable development of tourism. It seems that both CARIFORUM and the EU have some distance to go before these provisions can be finalized, but the hope is that this forum will have prompted a closer, more effective partnership that will achieve the goal of sustainable development of a thriving tourism economy.

In addition to Chairman Skerritt, the Caribbean delegation included Ministers Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace of The Bahamas, Manuel Heredia of Belize, Ed Bartlett of Jamaica, as well as the Secretary of Tourism for Tobago, Oswald Williams, the junior Minister of Tourism from Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Delmon Baker, the CARICOM Secretary General (Ag) Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite, the CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley, the President of the Caribbean Hotel Association Josef Forstmayr, the CEO of the CHTA Alec Sanguinetti, Directors of Tourism and Caribbean ambassadors based in Brussels.

Posted in: 2011 News, Blog

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CTO Concerned About Summer Cruise Business: Region’s tourism development agency wants strong cruise demand year round

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (7 March 2011) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has expressed concern over the loss of cruise business from the southern Caribbean, following the announcement by Royal Caribbean International that it will reposition its ship, Serenade of the Seas, from the Caribbean to Europe in the summer of 2012.

According to Secretary General Hugh Riley, the CTO is aware that repositioning is a normal course of business within the cruise sector, particularly during the summer months.  However, members of CTO’s Executive Council of Ministers at a recent meeting, indicated the need to discuss the matter of summer cruising with some of the industry’s key players, with a view to developing strategies for improving the competitiveness of the Caribbean for summer cruising.

“We recognize that the strong comparative advantage that we have in the Caribbean in the winter months changes in the summer”, said Riley. But while seasonal adjustments in cruise traffic to the Caribbean region are not uncommon, Riley said the situation now merits closer attention, particularly in the southern Caribbean where winter cruising continues to be strong, but summer traffic has become the victim of high fuel costs and geography.

The cruise industry is a significant component of the region’s tourism mix and the Caribbean remains a highly desirable cruising destination.  In 2010 the region’s cruise passenger arrivals grew by six per cent, continuing the phenomenal growth experienced over the past four decades with the numbers climbing from just over one million cruise visits in 1970 to over 20 million last year.  CTO leaders want this strong consumer demand for the region in the cruise industry to be developed year round, with more summer business resulting.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization is the region’s tourism development agency committed to working with its thirty-three member countries and industry partners to grow travel to the region and maintain the Caribbean’s position as the world’s leading warm weather tourism destination.

Posted in: 2011 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Leading Sustainable Tourism Expert to Deliver Dynamic and Relevant Keynote at STC-12

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (25 January 2011)– Sustainable tourism is changing changing the travel landscape for the better and countries and businesses that get onboard early will have a decided advantage, one of the world’s leading sustainable tourism experts has said.

“The tourism industry is now at an historic crossroads where sustainable principles and practices are becoming a key indicator of quality, along with such traditional standards for quality as excellent guest services, a beautiful hotel room, and great food,” said Costas Christ, the National Geographic Traveler Editor at Large who helped officially define the term eco-tourism . “Sustainable tourism is here to stay, and it is changing the entire landscape of travel and tourism as we have known it. Those businesses and destinations that understand this now will be the businesses and destinations that successfully compete tomorrow in terms of market growth, in the emerging greener global economy.”

Mr. Christ will deliver a dynamic and relevant keynote address at the 12th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism – otherwise known as the Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC-12) – which takes place from 3-6 April in Bermuda. The address, entitled  “Global Sustainable Tourism Trends: How Sustainability is Transforming the World of Travel” will look at the evolution of sustainable tourism and what it means today for destinations like the Caribbean.

“”We are in a global travel market paradigm shift, where embracing sustainable standards, such as tourism that supports the economic and social well-being of local peoples and directly contributes to the protection of cultural and natural heritage, is not just a question of ethics – doing what is right for people and the planet – but rather, it is increasingly a strategy for doing what is right for business growth,” he said in a preview of his presentation.

STC-12, which has as its theme “Keeping the Right Balance: Rising Above the Numbers” will address a number of critical issues such as understanding the next generation of experiential travellers, attracting and developing adequate regional human resource capacity to manage the industry efficiently, and developing strategies to marry profitability with sustainability in the new green economy. It is being organised by CTO, in collaboration with the Bermuda Department of Tourism and will be held at the Fairmont Southampton.

For more information on STC-12, including how to register for the conference, visit www.caribbeanstc.com.

About Bermuda

Bermuda is an astoundingly beautiful stretch of the Atlantic. A mere 1046KM / 650MI east of North Carolina, flights from New York and other eastern US cities reach their shores in less than two hours.>

Bermuda operates on Atlantic Time, or one hour ahead of New York and four hours behind London. The Island is an overseas territory of the UK and all of it fits in a cozy 53.7sq km/20.7 sq mi. They boast 120km/ 75miles of dramatic coastline.

Extraordinarily pleasant weather and a distinctive islandscape make Bermudians love their island wholeheartedly and know you will love it too.

About the Caribbean Tourism Organization

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with the headquarters in Barbados and marketing operations in New York and London, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency and comprises membership of over 30 governments and a myriad of private sector entities

The CTO’s mission is to provide to and through its members, the services and information needed for the development of sustainable tourism for the economic and social benefit of the Caribbean people.

The organization provides specialized support and technical assistance to member countries in the areas of marketing, human resource development, research and statistics, information technology and sustainable tourism development.  The CTO disseminates information on behalf of its member governments to consumers and the travel trade.

The CTO’s New York office is located at 80 Broad St., 32nd Floor, New York, NY 10004, USA: Tel: (212) 635-9530; Fax: (212) 635-9511; E-mail: [email protected]; CTO’s London office is located at The Quadrant, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1BP, England. Tel: 011 44 208 948 0057; Fax: 011 44 208 948 0067; E-mail: [email protected]; CTO Headquarters is located at One Financial Place, Collymore Rock, St, Michael, Barbados; Tel: (246) 427-5242; Fax: (246) 429-3065; E-mail: [email protected]. For more information, please visit www.caribbeantravel.com or www.onecaribbean.org. Get the latest CTO updates on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ctotourism. Connect with CTO on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CaribbeanTourismOrganization.

Posted in: 2011 News, Blog

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