CTO News

SLJAF 2016 records a number of firsts

Castries – (May 09, 2016) – Early indicators are telling a story of a number of successes achieved from the staging of the 25th anniversary celebration of the Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival. Among these are record attendance on each night of the mainstage events, sold-out venues well before gates opened, the vision for the infusion of the Arts being more fully realized and unprecedented levels of accommodation occupancy in the north of the island.

Deputy Director of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB), Tracey Warner-Arnold, reports that ahead of the analysis from event surveys and the Festival’s exit survey which will give a more comprehensive assessment of the various operational aspects, lineup satisfaction, visitor arrivals and patronage, a number of clear indicators have emerged which validate some of the choices and decisions made for the Festival this year.

“Well ahead of the opening of the gates for each mainstage event, we exceeded ticket sales from our best prior years,” Mrs. Arnold said. Numbers to date show at least 1,000 more patrons consecutively at Pigeon Island Mainstage Saturday and Sunday in 2016 over the year 2010, which until this year, recorded the highest level of patronage ever. According to the SLTB Deputy Director, this kind of success is gratifying and encouraging and highlights the attractiveness of the lineup and the effectiveness of the festival marketing.

In his analysis of these numbers, Director of Tourism Louis Lewis said it validated the line-up as one that could achieve three essentials, namely commemorate a world class journey, bring the sing-along dynamic for Mother’s Day, and cater to a range of tastes while also remaining true to the foundational jazz roots of the Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival.

On the strength of public opinion recorded via social media and event patronage, the 2016 Arts Component is described as having exceeded expectations.

“The Arts component for us has been the crowning glory of the Festival because in three short years we were able to demonstrate the vision we had for a Festival that is authentic to the destination in all its cultural and creative dimensions, and not one that resembles or patterns itself from any other,” explained Director of Tourism, Louis Lewis. In his assessment, the close SLTB and Cultural Development Foundation (CDF) partnership adds a value to the Festival which will be felt for years to come as an ideal model where a credible, colourful and compelling Saint Lucian aesthetic is infused into the Festival. According to Mr. Lewis, the visibility and educational value which the CDF/ SLTB collaboration achieved with respect to three national heroes – Sir Derek Walcott, Virginia Alexander and Sir Dunstan St. Omer – are significant because the Festival must also be evaluated in the context of sectoral development, and growth opportunities for Saint Lucian Artists and Artisans.

“These three icons epitomize the excellence of Saint Lucia’s literary, artistic and dance product. They are the bar, and creating a space within the Festival to tell their stories, showcase their journeys and celebrate their achievements does much for education and national pride.’

This year, the Arts infusion included a two night run of Sir Derek Walcott’s Omeros by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Cultural Icon Series tribute to dance legend Virginia Alexander and the erection of an Arts Village which, according to the SLTB Director, served the aim of making the Arts a core part of the Festival programme, a model which will continue for the years to come.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Bahamas to Test Undersea Weddings Record

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – A wedding campaign geared towards breaking the Guiness Book of World Records in undersea weddings was officially launched on Wednesday, May 4, 2016, at a press conference at the Grand Lucayan resort, the proposed site for the event next year.

In Deep Love Bahamas Limited, a Bahamian destination events management company, has scheduled the event to take place on February 14, 2017, Valentine’s Day, in Grand Bahama. Organizers hope to break the standard in the Guiness Book of World Records for undersea weddings, which is currently set at 34, by having 50 couples participate.

Alfred Collie Jr., creator and organizer of the campaign, notes the event will not only foster destination weddings, scuba diving and ecotourism in The Bahamas, but showcase the waters while bringing focus to their conservation.

“We are working to achieve a number of objectives by bringing couples from around the world to marry in the turquoise, crystal clear waters of The Bahamas. We also hope to unite the Bahamian people and the world behind a novel concept that brings immense international attention to ocean conservation while at the same time creating the ultimate wedding photo ops and memories.”

Director of Romance for the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Freda Malcolm, said “The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism is very excited about the ‘In Deep Love’ wedding promotion and fully endorses it. We have already received a huge amount of media interest from around the world, on the coverage of this great event, including news organizations from the United Kingdom, Brazil, France, Canada, and the United States of America.

“The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism has been aggressive, deliberate and innovative in its marketing initiatives to promote the Islands of The Bahamas as the premier wedding destination in the world.”

Betty Bethel, Director of Tourism for Grand Bahama, added that they were pleased Grand Bahama was chosen for this event. With the island being a ‘nature-based destination,’ it is the ideal location.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization has declared 2016 the ‘Year of Romance for the Caribbean’ and in November 2015, the Islands of The Bahamas were named the “Leading Wedding Destination” at the World Travel Awards in Morocco.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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His Imperial Highness Prince Selassie enjoys Jamaica’s culture

Selassie 2MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA – May 4, 2016 – HIS IMPERIAL HIGHNESS PRINCE SELASSIE  ENJOYS JAMAICA’S CULTURE -His Imperial Highness (HIH) Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie, Haile Selassie’s grandson, of Ethiopia and his spouse, Princess Saba Kebede were recently in Jamaica to participate in 50th anniversary celebrations of his grandfather’s Emperor Selassie’s visit. During his visit, HIH Prince Selassie enjoyed aspects of Destination Jamaica’s multifaceted tourism product. Above HIH Selassie (second left) and Princess Saba Kebede (second right), with Maracas in hand, enjoy the cultural presentation of the Hatfield Cultural Group at Meliá Braco Village. The couple also toured the Rose Hall Great House.

Selassie

His Imperial Highness (HIH) Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie of Ethiopia (left), also met Dmitri Kosvogiannis (right), General Manager, Melia Braco Village with the ‘Star of David’ gesture. The gesture is a symbol of Rastafarianism, a religious movement that began in Jamaica, which honours Emperor Haile Selassie as its leader. HIH Prince Selassie, is the grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie and was in Jamaica for the commemoration for the 50th anniversary of his grandfather’s visit to the island.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Antigua & Barbuda expects more Caribbean tourists for 60th Carnival Celebration

26 April 2016 – (St. John’s, Antigua) The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority and the Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism will host a chain of Carnival Roadshows across the Caribbean as Antigua’s Carnival – The Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival approaches its 60th year celebrations from July 22 – August 2, 2016.

The initiative, which involves partners from the Department of Culture and small hotel properties on the island, promotes the hotels’ special summer offers and also encourages Caribbean travel to Antigua for the summer festival.

Regional Marketing Manager at the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) Charmaine Spencer said, “Our Caribbean arrivals reported for the year to date have grown by 41%.  The roadshows are a strategic move to build critical relationships with our travel industry partners within the Caribbean, encourage travel around Antigua’s signature and emerging events, and see further growth in Caribbean visitor arrivals as we move into the summer months.”

“The roadshows give us the opportunity to bring the excitement and festiveness of Antigua’s carnival and the warmth and friendliness of our people direct to the consumer, and issue a personal invitation to the persons we meet to visit Antigua and Barbuda.”

The roadshows which started last weekend in Trinidad included five days of consumer promotions at Trinidad’s major shopping centres, Trincity and Gulf City mall and sales presentations to the largest tour operators in Trinidad, such as Haygem Co. Ltd, Lazzari & Sampson Ltd, and Amrals Travel, as well as smaller travel agencies.  Down the line interviews were also conducted on radio 94.1 BoomChampions in Trinidad, radio Power 102, Wac Radio and Gem Radio.

Spencer said, “The Trinidad roadshow was a resounding success for those twenty-three small ‘intimate’ hotels of Antigua & Barbuda, with property representatives interacting with hundreds of mall patrons to directly sell and promote their hotels, as well as, collect information for their databases. It was a great experience for many of the properties including some from Barbuda, who received an opportunity to promote their hotels outside of Antigua and Barbuda.”

Shoppers were entertained by carnival masqueraders, and steelpan music and were able to receive information on hotel pricing and enter raffles to win holidays to Antigua.  The summer specials can be viewed on www.visitantiguabarbuda.com

The Trinidad Roadshow delegation included, Compliance & Accommodations Officer in the Ministry of Tourism Dulcie Looby-Greene, Product Development Officer for Barbuda in the Ministry of Tourism Veneta Burton and Director of Culture in the Ministry of Trade Sports Culture and National Festivals Vaughn Walter.

The Trinidad promotions will continue with the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority offering the grand prize for the ‘Smother Your Mother’ promotion with radio 94.1, which is a prize of a weekend trip for two inclusive of flights, airport transfers and hotel accommodations. The draw for this promotion will take place for Mother’s Day.

The next Carnival roadshow is expected to take place in Dominica.

The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority has already held prior sales visits in the islands of Guadeloupe and Puerto Rico.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Mary Lightbourne appointed as Turks and Caicos’ Deputy Director of Tourism

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands (April 22, 2016) – The Turks and Caicos Tourist Board is pleased to congratulate Mary Lightbourne on her successful appointment as the new Deputy Director of Tourism.

Lightbourne is no stranger to the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board as she brings with her 23 years of a diverse track record of work experience, of which 15 were spent at the Tourist Board taking on progressively responsible roles. She was previously employed as the Registrar of the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College and most recently employed with the Turks and Caicos Islands Government in a senior-level position as the Head of Secretariat to the Minister of Education.

Lightbourne holds a Master’s of Science degree in Organizational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource Management and Development from American Intercontinental University, and a diploma in Tourism and Travel Agency Management from Cambridge Tutorial College, UK.  Lightbourne is not only academically motivated but also civic minded, evident through her involvement with the Rotary Club of Grand Turk where she has held the position of President.

Director of the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board, Ralph Higgs said the tourism team welcomes Lightbourne’s capabilities and experiences, “Her appointment is consistent with our commitment to ensure the continual growth of our tourism industry and to guarantee the Tourist Board’s longevity.”

Lightbourne commented that she is grateful for the opportunity to rejoin the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board as Deputy Director, “I am excited to showcase my leadership skills and augment my participation in marketing the number one tourism destination.  I look forward to working with the entire tourism team to make my contribution to the growth of the vibrant tourism industry in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

As Deputy Director, Lightbourne will be based in Grand Turk and will oversee the administration of the Grand Turk Office. Her portfolio also includes tourism statistics management, quality assurance, strengthening the cruise industry, and assisting with the development and implementation of the tourism marketing strategy, with special emphasis on Grand Turk and the surrounding Islands.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Earth Day Message from the Caribbean Tourism Organization Friday 22 April, 2016

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Today the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) joins the world in recognizing and celebrating Earth Day.

Here at the CTO our core purpose is to lead sustainable tourism as we strive to make the Caribbean the leading sustainable tourism destination in the world.  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.

Two years ago, we joined the rest of the environmentally-conscious world in lobbying for a new international climate change agreement backed by supportive and where necessary, punitive national initiatives that encourage more responsible environmentally friendly behaviour.

At the recently concluded Conference of Parties 21 *(COP21) the Caribbean’s position was clear and we at the Caribbean Tourism Organization endorsed the call for “1.5 to stay alive”. We were thrilled with the news that an agreement had been reached.

Today, at a ceremony at the United Nations, President Barack Obama of the United States and President Xi Jinping of China will be the first to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change, the first day the United Nations accord will be open for government signatures.

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.

This year’s Earth Day theme ‘Trees for the Earth’ contributes to three main positives for a better world:

  • The mitigation of climate change and pollution,
  • Protection of biodiversity
  • Supporting community and livelihoods

The Caribbean Tourism Organization pledges to pursue additional creative solutions to the many issues that face us, to benefit our citizens and visitors for generations to come. We hope that you will join us in our pledge and be part of the commitment to be socially and environmentally responsible.

Happy Earth Day!

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Region to be challenged to move from good to great at CTO Tourism Human Resources Conference

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (15 April, 2016) – The Caribbean’s economic viability and sustainability must continue to attract the attention of leaders and policymakers in all walks of life as the region continues to grapple with the challenges of the 21st century.

“As companies and nation states, we must consider that what we have done in the past may not be good enough; what got us this far may not get us to the place where we create the loyalty and profitability we desperately need,” said M. Ian Blanchard, an action business coach and former chief executive at telecommunications company Cable & Wireless.

Mr. Blanchard will be a presenter at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s 8th Tourism Human Resources Conference in Antigua & Barbuda from 11-13 May. He will speak on the topic, From Good to Great: Driving Leadership & Organizational Excellence and will challenge participants to “become better versions” of themselves and fulfil the Caribbean’s true potential.

“We live in an age where opportunities abound, where we have access to a global audience in ways that are much cheaper and easier than ever before. In order for us to move from good to great and derive leadership and organizational excellence we must care more, not just about or own island, our own nationals, our own families or employees, but about the wider, the broader, the bigger picture. We must care about legacy, about building transgenerational capacity and about making a difference that will outlast us,” he said.

The session will address four key areas – clarity, accountability, reflection and execution – that are essential to drive leadership and organizational excellence.

“We will explore our path and create clear actions for moving forward,” he added.

The conference theme is, Making Excellence a Habit: Service, Loyalty and Profitability in Caribbean Tourism. It is being organized by the CTO in collaboration with Antigua & Barbuda’s Ministry of Tourism and the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority and will be held at the Jolly Beach Resort and Spa.

For more information, including how to register, visit www.onecaribbean.org or email Marvelle Sealy at the CTO at [email protected]

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, HR Conference

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