CTO News

Puerto Rico Tourism Company announces increased Southwest Airlines flights to Puerto Rico

Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), José R. Izquierdo II, announced Southwest Airlines will extend its itinerary of flights to Puerto Rico beginning June 4, 2017. The Boeing 737 aircraft will begin a direct route to San Juan from Chicago Midway International Airport and increase the frequency of flights from Baltimore, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Tampa and Orlando.

The Chicago-San Juan route is the second flight route added to Southwest Airlines itinerary, following the Newark-San Juan route which began on Dec. 17, 2016. In addition to the increase in direct routes between major continental United States airports and Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport, these flights will increase options for travelers looking to enjoy the best of the Caribbean, as Southwest offers service in more than 100 destinations in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean.

“The addition of flights and frequencies in the air routes offered by Southwest Airlines will facilitate the increase of visitors to the Island. This increase will result in a greater contribution of the tourism industry to the economic development of Puerto Rico. PRTC is working with Aerostar to attract new airlines to our market, while continuing to expand services with existing airlines,” said Izquierdo II.

Southwest Airlines extended its flight itinerary for bookings until Aug. 14, 2017 and are available at www.southwest.com.

 

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Minister presents impressive cruise facilities masterplan to cruise executives

(New York, NY) – January 30, 2017 After three days of discussions and presentations to cruise industry decision-makers in South Florida, Antigua & Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism, Honorable Asot  A. Michael is “very encouraged” about the future of his country’s cruise sector. The Minister’s optimism follows his recent visit to South Florida (January 25 – 27) during which time he met with several cruise lines including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, NCL, MSC, Holland America, Seaborn, and Princess Cruises. The Minister and his team also received valuable feedback from the Operations Committee of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA).

In commenting on his meetings, Minister Michael said, “The cruise executives and itinerary planners were impressed with our vision for improving how Antigua will be welcoming their ships and passengers, and their feedback has helped us to better understand their specific needs for achieving sustainable growth. I am confident that we have developed the right masterplan, and it is now up to our Government to identify additional financing to complete what we started last year when we successfully implemented critically needed marine improvements at St. John’s Harbour and the Heritage Pier.”

The Tourism Minister reported that very experienced cruise industry leaders like Adam Goldstein, Rick Sasso, Robin Lindsay, Carlos Torres Navarro and Michele Paige were impressed with the fact that, although the Antiguan cruise-sector masterplan had already made significant implementation progress, the Minister and his team were still open to feedback and suggestions for improvement. The cruise decision-makers were particularly interested in the possibility of creating a new beach-focused, outer-island style of cruise destination on the sister island of Barbuda. According to the Minister, this piece of the masterplan is designed for Barbuda to deliver an authentic and unprecedented experience for an Eastern Caribbean cruise itinerary and to better position Barbuda on the regional cruise map.

Minister Michael was accompanied at his cruise industry meetings by his cruise-sector advisor, Ricky Skerritt, Tourism Authority Board member Mr. Nathan Dundas, Antigua & Barbuda Port Authority CEO Darwin Telemaque, and representatives of the BEA-Meridian design and construction team who are responsible for designing and constructing the masterplan.

In 2016, under the leadership of Minister Michael, the Antigua & Barbuda Government commenced an ambitious cruise facilities and downtown development program. To date, some US $50 Million has already been spent on the harbour and lengthening and strengthening the Heritage Pier to allow for the berthing of larger ships up to a Quantum-class size. The arrival of Royal Caribbean’s ‘Anthem of the Seas’ on December 2, 2016 heralded the start of what is expected to be a new growth phase for the Antiguan cruise sector. The Cruise-sector Masterplan calls for further dredging of the approach channel and turning area, the creation of a fifth berth, and land reclamation to help with major improvements to pedestrian and vehicle flows, town aesthetics, tour operations, and shopping.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO Declares 2017 “Year of Adventure” in the Caribbean

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (Jan. 10, 2017) – On the heels of last year’s successful Year of Romance, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has declared 2017 the Year of Adventure in the Caribbean. This year the region will celebrate everything from adrenaline-pumping active pursuits to local culture and casually sampling experiences unique to a specific CTO destination.

“Adventure comes in different degrees for travelers. For some, it is zip lining high above a valley or speeding around a motor racing circuit. For others, an adventure is simply exploring local communities to learn their language and customs, and teasing the senses with new cultural and culinary experiences,” said Hugh Riley, Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of CTO.

The 2017 Caribbean Year of Adventure 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 an adventure-filled Caribbean vacation throughout 2017. CTO has adopted the hashtag #CaribbeanAdventure and encourages all member countries and hotels to use the hashtag when posting images via social media networks. While each destination is unique and inviting in its own right, the common denominator of all Caribbean destination vacations is travelers yearning to enjoy a Caribbean Adventure – no matter how laid-back or thrilling the activity may be.

Through the campaign, CTO and its member countries and hotels will highlight the Caribbean as the leading choice for a vacation filled with adventure for consumers and travel planners selling the region. The theme is designed as a catalyst for sellers and promoters of group travel, family adventure and friend-cations, as well as weddings and honeymoons. Visitors too, will be invited to submit thoughts on their most memorable Caribbean adventures.

 “With a variety of destinations to discover, the Caribbean provides the ultimate vacation playground highlighted by picture-perfect landscapes and ideal weather for an abundance of land and water activities,” said Riley. “The Year of Adventure will highlight the range of activities offered throughout the Caribbean. It’s a theme which can easily be embraced by all CTO member destinations 365 days a year,” Riley noted.

Throughout 2017, the CTO, in cooperation with its private sector partner the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), will assist member countries and hotels with an assortment of ideas which can be implemented around the theme of adventure to appeal to consumers, travel agents and tour operators. Initiatives will be developed around:

 ·     “Once-in-a-Lifetime” getaways (volcano discoveries, helicopter tours, etc.)

·     “There’s a first time for everything” vacations (zip lining, scuba diving, go-kart racing, etc.)

·     Family and “Friends-cation” discovery journeys (whale watching, swimming with dolphins, world-heritage site explorations, etc.)

·     Wellness adventures (Paddle Board Yoga, Aqua Parkour, Tai Chi, etc.)

·     Dine-around delicacy vacations focusing on unique food offerings

Tours can often conveniently be arranged at a resort’s on-property tour desk. Licensed and insured on-island tour companies bring travelers beyond their resort and into the heart of the destination where guests can immerse themselves in parasailing, snorkeling and kayaking; zip line adventures; fishing charters; dolphin and whale watching; horseback riding along the beach; helicopter tours; swimming with dolphins; volcano discoveries; sailing expeditions; rain forest hikes; island exploring; tasting rich flavors and rum factory tours; celebrating Caribbean festivals, perhaps in full costume; and much more.

“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 adventure in their individual destinations,” said Riley adding: “The theme is inclusive of a wide range of partners, activities, age ranges and tastes. Ultimately, the aim is for our visitors to have fun with this. The Caribbean is proud of its diversity of exciting experiences and we encourage visitors to explore their own sense of adventure when they visit our shores.”

Posted in: 2017 News, Corporate News

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New opportunities from tourism for local traders in Montego Bay

An innovative initiative to improve income for traders in a Montego Bay craft market aims to increase local economic benefits from tourism.

Central to the initiative is a new training programme from the Travel Foundation endorsed by the Tourism Product Development Company Limited (TPDCo).  Traders in the Harbour Street Craft Market have been the first to receive business training to support them to increase their income from tourism.  The initiative is part of a wider programme from the Travel Foundation to improve the impacts of tourism in the area.

The training, designed by the Travel Foundation and delivered by TPDCo trainers includes guidance on what types of products tourists are looking for, how to approach tourists effectively and improve sales techniques, as well as tips for running a profitable business.   Around 100 traders have been trained, with more to follow this year.

Local tourism trainer for TPDCo, Natalie Ellis who attended the Travel Foundation ‘train the trainer’ course said. “I honestly believe that this is a great programme and will definitely impact positively the craft traders to maximise their profits because all the information we’re giving to them is actually practical information that they can build on and improve themselves. By improving themselves they will also improve earnings for their family members. For me it was amazing, a really great experience.  It has taught me so much more and I’ve been a trainer for 9 years.’

The Travel Foundation is now calling on tour operators and destination marketing companies to encourage customers to visit the market. ‘We’re continuing to work with the market traders, the parish council, TPDCo and others to ensure that the market offers a vibrant and enjoyable experience for tourists and to support local traders.  But we also need to ensure that tourists know about the craft market and what it has to offer, so are asking tour operators to include it in their excursions and to promote it.’  Said Julie Middleton, Head of Sustainable Practice at the Travel Foundation.

The Travel Foundation has also developed a walking map of Montego Bay and an insider guide to the area, highlighting local attractions, which are being distributed to tourists and can be viewed at www.thetravelfoundation.org.uk

In the future, the Travel Foundation aims to take the initiative to other resorts across Jamaica.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Travel Foundation

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CTO 2016 Year of Romance ends with Ultimate Jamaican Dream Wedding

New York, NY- Dec 2, 2016 – In collaboration with the Caribbean Tourism Organization year of Romance & www.MarryCaribbean.com, Jamaica will close out 2016 with the Ultimate Jamaican Dream Wedding to take place at the fabulous Moon Palace Jamaica Grande, December 10, 2016.

“This has been a truly collaborative effort and one that again reminds the world that the Caribbean is always the Oasis of the Western Hemisphere with product and service that fosters romance and takes its place on the world stage.  While the Ultimate Jamaican Dream Wedding was geared to the North American market, responses came in from all over the world – from China to Canada, says Jacqueline Johnson, CTC and CEO of www.MarryCaribbean.com & www.CaribbeanWeddingAssociation.com.

The Romance (wedding & honeymoon) market in the U.S. market has seen an uptick in spending with the average couple spending approximately $27,000.00 on their wedding.  Of course the Caribbean collectively enjoys the largest share of the romance market and prediction is that expenditure for destination wedding is poised to grow in 2017.

Jamaica’s commitment to this promotion under the stewardship of Mr. Paul Pennicook – Director of Tourism, puts Jamaica in the forefront of this ‘must buy’ market.  With bridal market expenditure in the North American Market of over $100Billion – the contest was designed not only to close out the Year of Romance but to capture the newly engaged and be a presence in the highest engagement season, a timing that is not lost in the marketing initiatives of the Jamaican Marketing Team.  In addition, the video and photos from the wedding will be used to promote  all sponsors and the Jamaica Bridal Market throughout 2017.

Without partners this program would not have had the massive presence that this promotion generated.  Thanks to:

*Mon Cheri for providing the wedding gown

*1888mytuxes.com for outfitting the groom in the latest tuxedo

*Caribbean Tourism Organization for flight arrangements for the bride & groom on Caribbean Airlines

*Tropicana Jewelers for providing gift certificate of US$1,000.00 to the lucky couple

*Jewel Runway Bay Beach Resort for the first year anniversary trip

*Glamour Tours for transportation in Jamaica

*Brenda O’Neale, Travel Agent extraordinaire of With This Ring Destination Wedding & Honeymoon

*Reggae Superstar Christopher Martin will serenade the couple (live) with his hit song “Take My Love”

*Moon Palace Jamaica Grande: providing the beach wedding ceremony from the Palace Resorts exclusive Nautical Wedding Collection.

With over 2 million weddings in the U.S. Market “today’s consumers are empowered and travel savvy and know more about their travel options than ever before. At MarryCaribbean.com we pride ourselves on providing the tools to enable them to make informed choices with ready access to our advertisers and their products” she concluded.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Antigua and Barbuda celebrates historic arrival of the MS Anthem of the Seas

St. John’s, Antigua (December 2, 2016) – One of the largest cruise vessels in the world, and the largest cruise vessel to dock into Antigua and Barbuda, the MS Anthem of the Seas, made her presence felt in Antigua and Barbuda today, as she towered over other vessels in Heritage Quay, on her inaugural arrival into Antigua with a host of fan-fare and celebrations from the Government and People of Antigua and Barbuda.

Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Asot Michael extended a warm and hearty welcome to both Royal Caribbean International and MS Anthem of the Seas, her Captain and Crew, during the inaugural ceremony on board the vessel.

The Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Rodney Williams, The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, The Hon. Gaston Browne, over 200 Government officials, dignitaries, stakeholders and invited guests were present for the on-board inaugural ceremony this morning.

In speaking to the Captain of the vessel on the inaugural visit, the Tourism Minister said, “We view this visit as a true sign of the confidence that Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines has in Antigua and Barbuda as a marquee destination capable of offering a first class experience to your cruise guests.

“We could not have thought of a more fitting way to commission the extension and improvements of our Heritage Quay Pier but to have history record that the Anthem of the Seas was the first ship to use these facilities on her inaugural voyage to our shores! So your arrival is an inaugural event – not just in terms of your visit, but for the seminal moment that it marks for our growing cruise industry overall.”

The Heritage Quay pier was extended to accommodate the large quantum class vessel.  The commissioning of the extension of the pier is scheduled to take place later this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. with another event, where hundreds of Antiguans and Barbudans have been invited to share in the historic moment.

To further mark the occasion, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, has also announced that duty free shopping will be implemented throughout the Heritage Quay and Redcliffe Quay area in celebration of the inaugural visit.

Duty free shopping is extended to all residents without the requirement of proof of travel that normally indicates that the goods purchased are leaving the country. This will be for one day only on Friday 2nd December from 9:00 a.m. 9:00 p.m.

This inaugural event will be celebrated with major activities in the Quay well into the evening after the ship has departed.

The 4220 passengers plus 1603 crew will have a major economic impact leading into the busy Christmas shopping season.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Marriott-Autograph Collection Resort to open in Antigua and Barbuda

JOHN’S, ANTIGUA (NOVEMBER 30, 2016) – Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy The Hon. Asot Michael has announced the entry of  a prestigious global hospitality brand Marriott hotel for Antigua and Barbuda.

Marriott International will expand its portfolio in the Caribbean with the latest addition from the brand’s Autograph Collection coming to the shores of the island of Antigua. The estimated $40 million project, which broke ground on November 29, 2016 will be situated just two miles west of the island’s capital, St. John’s, and a convenient six miles west of the airport.

The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Minister said it was an honour to be participating in the significant groundbreaking ceremony both for Antigua and Barbuda and the Coconut Beach Resort Project by Marriott.

“Being able to participate in the ground-breaking of new properties and developments, that will lead to increasing the room availability, and broadening our twin-island nations portfolio of distinguished properties, is of utmost distinction and importance.”

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has set the goal of increasing the room capacity of Antigua and Barbuda to 10,000 within the next 7 years.

The Marriott development is a venture of Leisure World Hotels Limited, which is jointly and equally owned by Sand Dollar Limited and Propertyvest, whose investors comprise some of Antigua’s most notable real estate developers. The new hotel rests on the location of the former Coconut Beach Club, property owned by Leisure World Hotels Limited, which closed indefinitely in 2015 and slated for demolition in anticipation of this project.

Coconut Beach Resort by Marriott will comprise of 40 high-end condominiums and a 70 room five star hotel with modern water features, eco-friendly amenities and a sustainable facility design throughout the property. The plan will ensure that the property will fit in-line with Antigua and Barbuda’s reputation as providing the quality to attract guests in an incredibly competitive market. Coconut Beach Resort by Marriott will cater to the top-end, and will appeal to those in the leisure and business market, with associated upscale services.

“We are confident that having the Marriott name and respect of brand as part of our portfolio will lead to increased airlift, in particular from the US market as this is a draw for US carriers,” said the Tourism Minister.

The Coconut Beach Resort by Marriot is expected to take 24 months to construct, and will provide 180 jobs during the construction phase, and 240 jobs once the property is open; representing a significant source of employment for the people of Antigua and Barbuda.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place with the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Honorable Gaston Browne, in attendance along with Honourable Asot Michael Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy, Andrew Houghton, Area Vice President for the Caribbean at Marriott International and Marriott’s Director of Development for the Caribbean and Latin America, Bojan Kumer.

Kumer said, “We believe Marriott’s Autograph Collection will be a strong addition to the current tourism landscape in the region and this project will endorse Antigua and Barbuda’s position as the international gateway to the eastern Caribbean. We are excited to bring the brand to the island and be part of its continued growth as a tourism destination.”

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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