CTO News

Keynote address – Ian Blanchard, 5th Statia Sustainable Conference

The Sustainability Challenge
Keynote address by Ian Blanchard, managing director/coach, CILC Action, Barbados
At the 5th Statia Sustainable Conference, St. Eustatius, 26 Sept 2016

Good morning and thank you for inviting me to be a part of your 5th Annual Statia Sustainable Conference. My presence here today I know is not coincidental as I don’t believe in chance meetings, but designed engagements that if used correctly will ultimately accrue to the benefit of the individuals and their circles of influence. My time with you over the next couple days is just a blip in your lives and therefore one that I value and endevour to play my part in ensuring that both our lives are forever changed.

Download full document by Ian Blanchard.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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The twin islands of Antigua and Barbuda appear on award-winning documentary Music Voyager

St. John’s ANTIGUA (September 9, 2016) – The beautiful twin-islands of Antigua and Barbuda will be viewed by millions ahead of the winter booking period, as the unique culture of the destination features on the seventh season of the award-winning documentary TV series, Music Voyager.

“Music Voyager: Antigua and Barbuda,” filmed on the islands last year, highlights the story of Antigua and Barbuda through music and culture allowing viewers to experience the country through the eyes of the locals, and their words.

The episode unveils the true magic, mystery and music of Antigua and Barbuda.

Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Asot Michael, said, “The friendliness of our people, their warmth and hospitality are key to our brand, and how we market Antigua and Barbuda.  We are proud to bring the passion of our country to homes across the world, placing Antiguans and Barbudans centre stage in our promotions, and using our music as the vehicle to showcase the quintessential Antigua and Barbuda.”

The thirty minute episode starts with journalist Mirissa Neff, alongside a local guide meeting with calypsonians for insight into the traditional art-form of calypso.  They first enjoy an impromptu rendition by a noted Road March King who strums on a guitar on Antigua’s Market Street, then end up on a beach for a quick game of cricket and a chat with soca artistes and a famous Antiguan cricketer about island life.  The episode climaxes at Shirley Heights with residents and visitors dancing to the pulsating beats of an internationally known Antiguan musician at the popular Sunday Sunset Party.

Through interviews and travel, the episode brings vibrancy and life to Antigua and sister island Barbuda by meeting other musicians, tasting the local food, visiting off-the-beaten path attractions and attending parties and hidden venues only the locals know.

“Voyager episodes are presently broadcasting to 94% of every US PBS Household and in 120 countries, in 50 languages, on International In-Flight programming, on Cruise Ships and in European and Asian hotel chains. This represents unparalleled positive exposure for the destination,” said Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority CEO, Colin C. James.

James said, “Positioning Antigua and Barbuda apart from other beach destinations was a main consideration during production and the message is conveyed strongly throughout this episode, which will allow potential visitors to truly experience the islands.”

Season 7 is now being aired across multiple PBS channels with numerous repeats expected. Arrangements are being made to air the episode on local television stations.  The Antigua and Barbuda episode can be viewed online here

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Message by Commissioner of Tourism Derrick Simmons Opening of 5th Statia Sustainable Conference

Seeing our island as a tourist destination and tourism being one of the economic pillars of our economy, we must take into consideration how important sustainability and accessibility are today. The Government of our Island takes pleasure in welcoming you to our island and to the 5th annual Statia Sustainable Conference (SSC).

When we put our minds together there is no obstacle that can’t be overcome. I anticipate, by using the previous conference as a benchmark, that this conference too will bear fruits and enhance entrepreneurship, resulting in the growth of small and medium businesses.

Let me give a special welcome to the keynote speaker, Mr. Ian Blanchard, Managing Director/Coach CILC Action of Barbados. Make use of his passion for helping businesses be successful. Often we only associate the term coach with sports, but sports coaches are not only there during the sporting event but are often involved in the day to day activities of the athletes. It makes sense to have a business coach also who guides businesses in its development.

On a final note, please actively participate in this conference, because you are encouraged to be a participant rather than a spectator.

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Message by Charles Lindo Director of Tourism, St. Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation – 5th Statia Sustainable Conference

First of all, I would like to welcome all speakers and participants to the 5th annual Statia Sustainable Conference (SSC-5), and at the same time would like to thank you for your attendance. The general purpose of SSC is to Inform, Educate and Motivate persons on the issues that can make a difference in our society whether economically, socially or other.  Understanding the core meaning of accessibility and how it can benefit us in the long run is of high importance. The intention of this year’s conference is to ensure that person or persons can easily comprehend the idiom ACCESIBILITY covers, and to be able to find purpose in their role towards this so call “new’ trend. However I will focus on disabled persons and the challenges they could face.

One of the main concentrations when talking about accessibility is the possibility to cater to disabled persons. The main question here is “how ACCESSIBLE are you”? It is extremely important that destinations not only have the necessary plans in place to meet the very fast growing world of disabled travelers but to have the necessary air and sea lift to do so as well.

Social media and the internet in general have been said to have brought the world to disabled travelers. Travelers with disabilities can easily visit certain websites to determine when to travel, where to travel to and what laws and regulations a certain destination may have in place for disabled travelers. Persons with disabilities, on average as a group, are more likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes than persons without disabilities, such as less education, worse health outcomes, less employment, and higher poverty rates. (World Bank), a country’s economic, legislative, physical, and social environment may create or maintain barriers such as inaccessible buildings, transport, information, and communication technology; inadequate standards, services, and funding for those services; and too little data and analysis for evidence-based, efficient, and effective policies.

According to World Bank April 4th 2016; one billion people, or 15 % of the world’s population, experience some form of disability. One-fifth of the estimated global total or between 110 million and 190 million people experience significant disabilities. Eight billion dollars per year is spent on Australian tourism by travelers with a disability-accessibility resource kit.

Over the years, we have held conferences on alternative energy, water and the economic value of tourism & the business, community tourism etc. I would like to personally congratulate the SSC committee on a job well done in organizing this prestigious conference, for the 5th year.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Firefly Villas Bequia to celebrate groundbreaking with St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister

SVG Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves to officiate at next week’s groundbreaking of exclusive collection of new beachfront homes at Firefly Villas on the idyllic island of Bequia in the Grenadines.   www.Firefly-Villas.com

21 September 2016: 7th Heaven Properties today announced that an official ceremony to mark the groundbreaking of Firefly Villas, an exclusive collection of new beachfront residences on the island of Bequia in the Grenadines, will take place next Thursday 29th September 2016.

The ground breaking ceremony will be officiated by Dr Ralph Gonsalves, the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Construction of residences will then begin in early October 2016.

Set in an approximately 15-acre private beachfront enclave of a tropical plantation on the island of Bequia, the residences will offer private island-style privacy and care-free ownership benefits delivered by Firefly Hotel Bequia and Firefly Hotel Mustique, a highly acclaimed pair of hotels.

The enclave, which stretches from the spectacular beachfront to the lush interior, has been sub-divided into nine private island-style clusters which are elevated 2 feet above ground to guarantee privacy and afford beautiful views across the beach, sea and plantation. Upon completion, each “island” will be home to just two or three villas or buyers can choose to have an “island” all to themselves.

Firefly Villas Bequia will be developed by Bequia Development Ltd in association with Firefly Hotel Bequia and Firefly Hotel Mustique. As a result, buyers will enjoy an unrivalled package of care-free villa ownership benefits unlike any other on offer on the island of Bequia. Benefits include an attractive Founders Package for the first few buyers, year-round villa maintenance and in-villa hotel services, a villa rental program offering owners the opportunity to generate income from their villas when not in personal use, as well as use of all amenities and discounted rates at both Firefly Hotel Bequia and Firefly Hotel Mustique for family and friends.

Designed by Swedish architect Olle Rex who has decades of international luxury residential and resort design experience, the villas are priced from $630,000 USD. Villas will feature from 1,600 sq ft of living space, including up to 6 bedrooms, contemporary open plan interiors, private terraces, private pools and outstanding views of the sea or lush green surroundings.

Johan Liljefors of Bequia Development Ltd commented: “I am delighted to welcome the Prime Minister to our piece of paradise to be part of the creation of a new collection of residences unlike anything else on Bequia.”

Walter Zephirin, Managing Director of London-based 7th Heaven Properties which is leading sales of the residences, added: “We are delighted to see Firefly Villas Bequia begin to take shape. With development set to commence imminently, buyers will be able to witness the progress of the construction of these new homes in one of the world’s most desirable locations.”

Located in the idyllic Grenadines island chain just south of St Vincent, the 7 square mile island of Bequia has a lower profile than many other Caribbean islands but is treasured for its pristine white sand beaches, lush green interior, crystal clear turquoise sea that offers unrivalled diving and snorkelling and unhurried, tranquil pace of life.

About 7th Heaven Properties 
7th Heaven Properties is one of the world’s leading independent Caribbean property specialists, representing the finest real estate for sale from across the entire Caribbean and Central America. Supported by a network of agents based in Europe, North America and the Caribbean, the firm lists residential and commercial property for sale in over 30 Caribbean territories.

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The Bahamas Elected Chair of the CTO

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (15 September, 2016) – The Bahamas has been elected Chair of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).  Minister of Tourism for the Bahamas, Obie Wilchcombe, is the new CTO Chairman.

New CTO Chairman Obie Wilchcombe of the Bahamas (right) receives the gavel from his predecessor Richard Sealy of Barbados. Also in photograph, CTO secretary general Hugh Riley (left)

New CTO Chairman Obie Wilchcombe of the Bahamas (right) receives the gavel from his predecessor Richard Sealy of Barbados. Also in photograph, CTO secretary general Hugh Riley (left)

The election took place on September 15th in Barbados, at the organization’s annual general meeting held during the CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC).

Following his election, Mr. Wilchcombe stated: “I intend to build upon what [immediate predecessor Richard Sealy of Barbados] began and I also intend to build on the relationship with the private sector. I’ve always thought that CTO is the body that provides equity and we can (do that); and the way is to speak with the same voice. We also have to deal with the issue of inter-regional travel.”

Minister Wilchcombe will serve a two-year term. It is his second stint as chairman, having previously been elected to the position in 2002.

The Bahamas minister will shortly name his appointee for the post of Chairman of the CTO Board of Directors, since, according to the CTO Constitution, the Board Chairman and the Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism must come from the same Member Country. In addition to the election of the chairman, vice chairs were elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors to represent various sub-groups – Curacao, represents the Dutch Caribbean; Martinique represents the French Caribbean; Barbados and Belize, represent the Independent CARICOM countries and the Turks & Caicos Islands represents the British Overseas Territories.  Each of these Member Countries will form the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, which will be completed with representatives from the private sector.

Today’s vote was in keeping with the CTO constitution which mandates that elections must be held every two years.

This year’s conference at the Hilton Barbados Resort is organized in collaboration with Barbados’ Ministry of Tourism and International Transport and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc and is sponsored by LIAT, the Caribbean Airline and Libris by Photoshelter.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport for Barbados and CTO Chairman Richard Sealy has a special message on SOTIC. To view the message, please click on the following link: http://bit.ly/2comjPC.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Corporate News, SOTIC

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Regional Hospitality Assured Workshop gets under way in Barbados

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 5 Sept, 2016 –  A week-long training advisers workshop on tourism business excellence opened in Barbados this morning.

The 5-9 September workshop is being organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) to sharpen participants’  business advisory skills so they can provide technical assistance to Caribbean tourism businesses  which will participate  in the Hospitality Assured Certification Programme.

Nineteen participants from 13 CTO member countries are attending the workshop, which is being held with funding support from the Caribbean Development Bank through its Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services (CTCS) Network and the European Union’s Competitiveness of Enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (COSME).

“We are proud of the partnerships we have formed over the years with regional and international organizations such as the Caribbean Development Bank and the Institute of Hospitality, which make it possible for the CTO to provide services such as this for our members and for the region,” Hugh Riley, CTO’s secretary general said.

“We are driven by our emphasis on human capital development, our responsibility to help reduce the region’s unemployment, and our laser-like focus on consistently improving the quality of the experience the Caribbean offers to its visitors. This workshop seems to me to be relevant to all of those aspects.”

The workshop, which will be facilitated by John Burchell of Hospitality Assured in the United Kingdom, with assistance from Norma Shorey Bryan, a trained Barbadian business advisor, precedes the region’s premier tourism gathering, the State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC), where those issues will be tackled. SOTIC takes place in Barbados from14-16 September.

Hospitality Assured is a certification programme promoting service and business excellence in tourism and hospitality companies.  It is owned by the Institute of Hospitality in the United Kingdom, and managed by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) in the region.

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