CTO News


BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (10 Feb. 2015) – The Caribbean welcomed a record 26.3 million tourists in 2014, a 5.3 per cent rise over the previous year. These visitors spent  US$29.2 billion, itself a record.

The Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Richard Sealy, and the secretary general, Hugh Riley, along with the CTO’s director of research, Winfield Griffith, announced the record performance at a news conference streamed live to a global audience from the CTO headquarters today.

“Last year, we received more visitors than ever before – recording  our fifth straight year of growth as a Region – and visitors spent more money in the Caribbean than they ever did before,” said Mr. Sealy, also Barbados’s minister of tourism and international transport

“There was strong demand throughout 2014 and I am particularly pleased with our performance during the summer period when our growth rate was  almost twice that of  the summer of 2013,” he added.

The 26.3 million visitors represent 1.3 million more than in 2013, itself a record year for the Caribbean. These visitors contributed a record US$29.2 billion to Caribbean economies, a 3.9 per cent rise over the US$28 billion that visitors spent in 2013.

“With a strong year for air travel, a positive performance by the accommodation sector, solid growth in cruise visits and faster-than-expected rise in stay-over arrivals, the Caribbean Tourism Organization is pleased to report that the state of Caribbean tourism is sound,” stated Mr. Riley.

The US continues to be the region’s primary market, with nearly 13 million Americans – or just under half of the total arrivals – to the region. Canada rallied from a flat performance in 2013 to post a 5.7 per cent increase, while Europe topped five million visitors for the first time since 2008, registering a 4.6 per cent increase over 2013.

“There’s no doubt that political and economic conditions, increased airline seat capacity, improved airport facilities, increased room stock – as recognized hotel chains established themselves in our destinations – and new initiatives in the marketplace, all contributed to this success,” Mr. Riley added.

The 5.3 per cent rise which the Region recorded was above the global growth rate of 4.7 per cent announced by the UN body, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and nearly twice the predicted two per cent to three per cent growth.

According to Mr. Griffith, leisure travel is showing steady demand again as the economies in the main markets continue signs of resurgence. This heightened demand significantly benefitted the Caribbean and is evident in the record number of visitors.

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Social Media enthusiasts to experience the greatest Show on Earth

Port-of-Spain, trinidad – February 5, 2015. Coverage of Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival activities usually run the gamut of media from print to radio and television, enticing readers, listeners and viewers to soak in the vibrancy, the colour and the spectacle of the festival. Trinidad and Tobago therefore is the perfect destination to experience Carnival and the Tourism Development Company Limited in recognising this is turning to Social Media to spread the word about the festivities.

The Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Development Company Limited will be hosting seven journalists from February 6th to 12th, 2015, that specialise in writing for diverse social media travel publications.

These journalists have a combined social media following of 6.5 million persons and therefore their reach and influence on the travel and vacation decisions by the discerning visitor should not be understated.

This group will be treated to the diversity and variety that is destination Trinidad and Tobago not only with the celebration of Carnival but will also be exposed to the myriad of sites, attractions and activities that visitors to Trinidad and Tobago have come to know and love.  Online readers of publications such as Ebony Magazine, Travel Bug, Life & Style Weekly and In Touch Weekly will be treated to the journalists’ adventures through the All-Inclusive Parties and Fetes where sweet soca music can be thoroughly enjoyed,  Pan Yard visits where the sounds of Trinidad and Tobago’s signature instrument, the steelpan can be heard in all its splendour and Mas Camp visits where the group will be treated to the anatomy and coming to life of the colourful costumes that will be put on show during the two days of Carnival.

Carnival however is just the tip of the tropical iceberg for Trinidad and Tobago.  The group will also be treated to the islands’ culinary fare which range from fine dining to street food, a visit to the Caroni Bird Sanctuary for the nature lovers’ experience and they will also be exposed to the rich culture of the Central Experience where the influence of the East Indian community through religion and food is most evident.

Not to be left out is the sister island of Tobago.  Whilst Trinidad is often described as the boisterous big sister of the two islands, Tobago is renowned for being laid back and offering more of the traditional sun, sea and sand holiday that others may crave.  For three days, this unique group of media will be treated to a visit to the Buccoo Reef and Nylon Pool which is an in-sea shallow white ground coral pool located off Pigeon Point, Tobago, a tour of a historic cocoa estate and the Argyle Water Falls and will also do stand up paddle boarding at the beautiful Pigeon Point Beach which always gives the visitor an immense thrill.

So with social media being the “go to” tool for sharing messages of all types it is both timely and strategic that the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Development Company Limited gives these special journalists an opportunity to experience this destination where you get two unique experiences that can both stimulate the senses and calm the mind.  Look out for their posts just before Carnival as they share with readers in the social universe about the virtues of terrific Trinidad and tranquil Tobago.

Trinidad and Tobago Social Media Press Trip Group


(February 6th – 12th, 2015)


  • Kristin Braswell – Huffington Post, Ebony Magazine
  • Tara Donaldson – Travel Bug, Huffington Post, Fox News Travel
  • Kristen Jacobson – Hopscotchtheglobe.com
  • Rachel Quigley – In Touch Weekly, Life & Style Weekly
  • Mareen Schauder – Miss Everywhere
  • Christy Woodrow – Ordinary Traveler, National Geographic, Lonely Planet
  • Datev Gallagher – Youtube Channel, Ladiedottie

Follow them as they chronicle their experience in Trinidad and Tobago on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram at the following handles:


Kristin Braswell

Facebook: Ebony Magazine

Instagram: @kbras1

Twitter: Potentially @EBONYMag


Tara Donaldson

Facebook: Living with the Travel Bug

Instagram: @tararielle

Twitter: @travelbugtara


Datev Gallagher

YouTube: LadieDottie Datev Gallagher- TheLadieDottieWay

Facebook: Ladiedottie

Instagram: ladie_dottie

Twitter: @ladiedottie


Kristen Sarah Jacobson

YouTube: Hopscotch the Globe

Facebook: Hopscotch the Globe

Instagram: @kristenadventure

Twitter: @HTGlobe


Rachel Quigley

Facebook: In Touch Weekly

Instagram: intouchweekly/ lifeandstyleweekly

Twitter: @intouchweekly/ @Life_and_Style


Mareen Schauder

Facebook: Miss Everywhere

Instagram: miss.everywhere

Twitter: @Miss_everywhere


Christy Woodrow

Facebook: Ordinary Traveler

Instagram: ordinarytraveler

Twitter: @OrdinaryTravelr

Pinterest: Ordinary Traveler


About Trinidad & Tobago

Trinidad & Tobago is located in the southeastern region of the Caribbean. With its careful approach to tourism, the dual-island nation offers a distinct blend of culture, eclectic cuisine and an assortment of eco-adventure activities. Trinidad, the ‘cultural capital of the Caribbean,’ is home to the world famous Carnival and the birthplace of the steel pan, the only new musical instrument to be invented in the 20th century. It is also home to one of the world’s top three nesting sites for endangered leatherback turtles and world class fine flavoured cocoa.  Tobago, sister island to Trinidad, is the quintessential Caribbean paradise with secluded beaches, quaint villages, private villas and award-winning eco-attractions that include the Main Ridge Rainforest, the oldest protected reserve in the western hemisphere and the six-time award winner for World’s Leading Ecotourism Destination by the World Travel Awards.

For more information on upcoming special events and attractions in Trinidad & Tobago visit www.gotrinidadandtobago.com  or www.visittobago.gov.tt.

Follow Trinidad and Tobago on Facebook www.facebook.com/islandsoftrinidadandtobago

Media Contact:

Corporate Communications

Tourism Development Company Limited

Phone: 868.675.7034

E-mail: [email protected]

Web: www.tdc.co.tt

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival Draws Internationally Renowned Talent

The 24th Annual Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival Draws Internationally Renowned Talent, April 30 – May 10, 2015

Robin Thicke, Jon Secada, Beres Hammond, Jimmy Cliff and Arturo Tappin among stellar line-up!


SAINT LUCIA (February 6, 2015) –  The annual Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival, now in its 24th year, raises the curtain on April 30 with a line-up of performers who blends island culture, famed musical talent and diverse music genres.

Internationally renowned performers taking center stage this year include singer/songwriter Robin Thicke, two-time Grammy winner Jon Secada, Jamaican reggae musician and actor Jimmy Cliff, Latin sensation Timbalive, American rapper Flo Rida, acclaimed Paris-based pianist Alain Jean Marie and two-time Grammy nominee Joey DeFranceso featuring Grant Stewart. 

The 11-day festival kicks off on April 30 and runs through May 10 featuring hundreds of musical performances and art showcases throughout the island. Locations span from Saint Lucia’s iconic Pigeon Island National Park, where main stage events will kick-off on Friday, May 8, to various other venues island wide.

“This year’s festival continues to infuse artistic events with star-studded musical performances, providing a platform for local artisans, entertainers and cultural enthusiasts to also command world attention during the two-week celebration,” remarked Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries Minister Lorne Theophilus.

Presented by the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, the festival continues to attract some of the most recognizable and sought after names in the music business and has become a magnet for visitors from the U.S., according to Theophilus. Completing the line-up is a string of other local entertainers, together with more than 100 local artisans, who will perform at jazz venues island wide throughout the festival.

With a renewed emphasis on the arts component of the festival, an Arts Village will be incorporated in a dedicated site in the north between two major shopping areas, while the acclaimed fashion show, “Hot Couture,” will return with a spotlight on Saint Lucia and the region’s cutting edge style.

For more information about the 24th Annual Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival visit http://www.stluciajazz.org.

For more information about the island of Saint Lucia, call 1-800-456-3984, or 1-800 4STLUCIA or visit http://stlucianow.com/.


About Saint Lucia

One of the Windward Islands of the West Indies’ Lesser Antilles, Saint Lucia (pronounced Saint LOO-sha) is nestled halfway down the Eastern Caribbean archipelago. The “Helen of the West Indies,” Saint Lucia is known for its natural beauty and diverse attractions, including the signature Piton Mountains – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – a tropical rainforest and one of the world’s few drive-in volcanoes. Culturally rich offerings include the bustling marketplace in the capital of Castries, quaint fishing villages along the coastline, and the annual Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival. Saint Lucia’s wide range of accommodations includes world-class five-star resorts, all-inclusive resorts, intimate inns and value-oriented properties. Saint Lucia also is home to world class cruise and yachting facilities. The island is continually recognized as one of the Leading Wedding and Honeymoon destinations worldwide.

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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Barbados’ Crane Beach Names Top Beach in the Caribbean

NEW YORK (February 6, 2015) – USA Today 10 Best recently announced the results of the “Best Caribbean Beach” awards, dubbing Barbados’ Crane Beach as the ultimate spot for soaking up the sun in the whole of the Caribbean.

Acknowledged for its secluded location and dramatic natural scenery, Crane Beach is popular for its mild wave action that is known to be perfect for boogie boarding, body surfing or surfing along Barbados’ pink sandy shores. The stunningly clear azure waters and jagged cliff backdrop create the ultimate setting for a perfect day at the beach.

“We at The Crane are immensely proud to be recognized by the readers of USA TODAY who love Crane Beach as much as we do,” said Paul Doyle, owner of The Crane Residential Resort. “It is an honor to be the custodians of such incredible natural beauty and it speaks to the wider beauty this unique island possesses.”

Ranking 8th in the same category is Barbados’ Bathsheba Beach, a popular surfing destination located on the island’s east coast. Nicknamed Soup Bowl Beach, for its foamy, rolling waves, this popular surfing destination attracts visitors for its spotted coast line of rock formations and idyllic photo ops.

“We are thrilled to call two of the most celebrated beaches in the Caribbean home,” says William Griffith, Chief Executive Officer of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. “Our lively culture and idyllic surroundings set us apart from other destinations, making Barbados a must-see spot for travelers both past and future and now with new lift service from Delta Air Lines the island is more accessible then ever with connections to over 220 destinations world-wide.”

For more information on the island of Barbados and the complete list of the “Best Caribbean Beach” Readers’ Choice Awards, visit www.visitbarbados.org or www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-caribbean-beach/.


About Barbados

The island of Barbados offers the most authentic Caribbean experience with its exceptionally rich culture and history rooted in remarkable landscapes. Rated as one of the world’s sexiest beaches in 2008 by Concierge.com; Barbados’ Crane Beach in St. Philip stands as a premier destination for travelers. Barbados is also the first Zagat-rated Caribbean island with numerous internationally renowned chefs who masterfully put signature spins on local delicacies and traditions. Barbados is an ideal stage for world-class events and in collaboration with American Express Publishing Corporation, Barbados has hosted its first annual Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival in November 2010. The country has also hosted numerous athletic championships, including the 2006 PGA World Golf Championships-Barbados World Cup, the ICC Cricket World Cup Finals in 2007, the Sentebale Charity Polo match with Prince Harry of Wales in 2010, the ICC Twenty20 Cricket Finals for 2010, and continuously hosts the Independence Pro Surfing Competition. Accommodations range from picturesque plantation houses and villas, to quaint bed and breakfasts and award-winning, five-star resorts. Grantley Adams International Airport offers even more non-stop and direct service from a growing number of U.S. cities via Jet Blue and American Airlines, making Barbados the true gateway to the Eastern Caribbean.  Barbados was voted eighth in the World by Trip Advisor’s ‘2008 Travelers Choice Destination Awards’ in its Top 100 Destinations category.  For more information on travel to Barbados, visit www.visitbarbados.org, follow on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/VisitBarbados, via Twitter @Barbados or contact the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. at 1.800.221.9831.

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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From the Bahamas with Love

NASSAU, BAHAMAS, February 2, 2015 – The Islands Of The Bahamas, recognized as the premier destination for romance, weddings, honeymoons and renewals, was the site of sixteen weddings as sixteen lucky couples from across the United States were married this afternoon.  After winning their dream wedding, each ceremony took place on a different island with nuptials staged on Acklins and Crooked Island, The Abacos, Andros, The Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Eleuthera and Harbour Island, The Exumas, Grand Bahama Island, Inagua, Long Island, Nassau, Paradise Island and San Salvador.

The invitation to participate, aptly named “16 Weddings, 16 Islands, One Priceless Day,” was issued on Valentine’s Day, February 14 last year and more than 3,000.00 couples across the United States of America submitted responses with the hope of being selected.

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism in conjunction with Steven Singer Jewelers, Mon Cheri, 1.800mytuxe.com, made arrangements to provide the wedding rings, bridal gowns, the grooms’ tuxedos respectively.  Couples also received as part of the wedding package – wedding cakes, bridal bouquets, décor for the signature weddings ceremonies, rehearsal dinners and the actual wedding reception – each of the uniquely different ceremonies was coordinated by the couples’ wedding consultant. The fortunate couples enjoyed the diversity, the beauty, the charm and distinct characters, flavors and cultures of each of their personal Bahamian nuptial.

The Bahamas’ Minister of Tourism, The Hon. Obie Wilchcombe thanked the participants saying, “While you have been a part of a promotion, the truth is we are sincere about sharing with you who we are and what we do. We want to share with you all that God has created for us and we want you to feel that you are a part of the family,” he said. “And so having you in The Bahamas to share such an important part of your life is truly significant. And we believe that events such as these will go down in history in helping us to define The Bahamas as the Romance Capital, particularly in a world where tourism is fast becoming the number one industry.”

Director General of Tourism, Joy Jibrilu also thanked the participants and invited them to return to The Bahamas. “What I would like to do is ask each of you to come back in future years and visit the 16 islands that have been part of this history making initiative,” she said.

16 Islands Weddings partners  also include MasterCard®; Hope Town Harbour Lodge, The Abacos; Acklins Island Lodge, Acklins; Kamalamae Cay, Andros; Resort World Bimini, Bimini; Pigeon Cay Resort, Cat Island; Tranquility on The Bay, Crooked Island; Pineapple Fields, Eleuthera; Valentines Resort, Harbour Island; Sandals Emerald Bay, Exuma; Inagua Ocean Villas, Inagua; Stella Maris Resort; Long Island; Riding Rock, San Salvador; Grand Lucayan, Grand Bahama; Hilton Hotel Nassau and Atlantis Paradise Island.


About The Islands Of The Bahamas

The Islands Of The Bahamas have a place in the sun for everyone from Nassau and Paradise Island to Grand Bahama to The Abaco Islands, The Exuma Islands, Harbour Island, Long Island and others. Each island has its own personality and attractions for a variety of vacation styles with some of the world’s best scuba diving, fishing, sailing, boating, as well as, shopping and dining. The destination offers an easily accessible tropical getaway and provides convenience for travelers with preclearance through U.S. customs and immigration, and the Bahamian dollar at par with the U.S. dollar. Do everything or do nothing, just remember It’s Better in The Bahamas. For more information on travel packages, activities and accommodations, call 1-800-Bahamas or visit www.Bahamas.com. Look for The Bahamas on the web on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


Media Contact:

Anita Johnson-Patty

Bahamas Ministry of Tourism

[email protected]


Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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Grenada is the top trending beach destination!

(St. George’s, Grenada) 2nd February, 2015 – Grenada is the top trending beach destination according to KAYAK 2015 Travel Hacker Guide. Research spanning 2013 to 2014 revealed an increase of 31% in flight searches from the previous year for round-trip flights from North America.

As more persons are looking towards the tri-island state for holiday, they are also willing to pay for a quality experience. Of the top ten trending beach destinations, Grenada was the second most expensive with median airfares ranging from 708 to 899 USD.

Grenada is the ideal beach destination, with 45 white sand beaches, 9 black sand beaches, more than 20 offshore islands, year round warm weather, and a vibrant culture that makes any guest feel at home.

“According to preliminary data, the United States of America and Canada accounted for 33% of stay over arrivals to Grenada in 2014. We congratulate all our tourism stakeholders and the resorts that contribute to the increased brand awareness in these major source markets,” Ms. Esther Thomas, Research & Planning Manager of the Grenada Tourism Authority.

The Grenada Tourism Authority is pleased to receive such fantastic reviews from KAYAK, which has a presence in over 30 countries and gets over one billion queries for travel information yearly. KAYAK offers travel enthusiasts online options for comparing and booking flights, hotels, cars and vacation packages.


Media Contact

Chrislyn Lashington

Corporate Communications Officer

Grenada Tourism Authority

[email protected]

473 440 2001/2279

Posted in: 2015 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO Statement on Changes in US/Cuba Relations

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados. (December 23, 2014). This week’s announcement of a change in diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States is a welcome opportunity to increase tourist arrivals to the Caribbean. With the US already being the region’s largest source market, producing nearly half of our tourism business, this new development could enhance those numbers. Last year we welcomed over 12 million Americans to our shores. An opportunity to substantially increase that number will be welcomed.

Cuba is a longstanding and active member of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, having joined the CTO in 1992. The island is actively engaged in our trade and consumer promotions in Canada, Latin America and Europe and we look forward to including Cuba in our programmes in the United States. We now anticipate the island’s broader participation in CTO-organised global and regional events in the future.

Naturally, an unusually large inflow of new travelers to the Caribbean will have varying effects on Cuba and the rest of the region. The CTO will provide the technical resources necessary to manage the growth, reduce any dislocation, and help create sustainable tourism development strategies throughout our member-countries.

The CTO proudly promotes an exciting, diverse tourism product offered by its over 30 member countries and Cuba is an integral part of that diversity. The success of every member-country is an important focus of the Organization’s overall vision for the Caribbean.

Posted in: 2014 News, Blog, Corporate News

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