CTO News

Recovery and Rebuild to be Focus of Special Session at State of the Tourism Industry Conference

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (25 September, 2017) – In the wake of the catastrophic impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on some member countries, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is adding a special session to the upcoming State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) in Grenada, that will focus on how to recover and rebuild after a major disaster.

The three-hour session on Thursday 12 October is designed to explore and examine the issues and key recommendations to be considered as the Caribbean rebuilds after the monstrous category five storms, in particular, or other natural disasters it might face in the future.

It will focus on the economic cost of the disasters, including potential impact on gross domestic product, employment, the cost to rebuild and recovery time.

Delegates will hear from leading experts in disaster preparedness and mitigation, recovery, airport development and maintenance, airlines, telecommunications and travel, as well as representatives of the hotel sector and member countries that have experienced, and recovered from, major catastrophes.

“This is the time when not only do we have to focus on the state of the industry as we know it today, but because of the really strong hurricanes that have affected our region this year we have to focus a great deal of attention as well on our economic recovery  as an entire region and how to  rebuild with the resilience and structural integrity to protect ourselves in the future,” the CTO’s secretary general Hugh Riley said.

Following the session a report will be produced to guide governments and stakeholders  on how to move forward in this difficult time.

The State of the Tourism Industry Conference, which has as its theme, Supercharging the Caribbean Brand: Meeting the Needs of the New Explorers, is being organised by the CTO in collaboration with the Grenada Tourism Authority and Grenada’s ministry of tourism, and will be held from 10-13 October at the Radisson Grenada Beach Resort. The conference will be preceded by business meetings on 9 and 10 October.

Key conference sessions include Infusing Dynamism in Caribbean Tourism, Who are the New Explorers, Business Models that Rock, Turning Our Waters Into Goldmines – Investing in the Blue Economy, Active Engagement: Riding the Technological Wave, and Spicing Up the Caribbean Brand.

The highly anticipated tourism youth congress and a Stakeholders Speak Out session are also part of the programme.

For further details on the conference, including how to register, please visit http://sotic.onecaribbean.org/.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, SOTIC

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Martinique Statement on Hurricane Irma

September 14, 2017: Following the devastation brought by Hurricane Irma, Karine Mousseau, Martinique Tourism Commissioner expressed her thoughts and sympathies to the people of all the Caribbean Islands which have been affected.

“On behalf of the Martinique Tourism Authority and of the people of Martinique, I wish to express our thoughts and solidarity. Our heart goes out to our brothers and sisters of the islands stricken by this unprecedented storm.”

In addition to the overall relief efforts, Martinique is also providing logistical and humanitarian support. On September 11 two ships from the Martinique Customs Division brought much needed food and water to the island of Saint Martin. A unit of 39 Martinique firefighters has been dispatched this Wednesday to assist local efforts–ongoing search and rescue, home safety evaluations and road clearing. The island’s population is also participating in a solidarity initiative set up by the Prefecture of Martinique to gather all the individual offers of assistance, from room and board to those left homeless to financial help.

Ms. Mousseau went on to say: “Our thoughts also go out to all our colleagues in the tourism industry affected by Hurricane Irma.  We in Martinique realize how fortunate we were to have been totally spared”.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO Launches Relief Fund to Assist With Hurricane Aid Efforts

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (8 Sept, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has activated its “CTO Relief Fund” through GoFundMe to help families and countries rebuild after hurricanes, particularly in the wake of the massive category 5 Hurricane Irma, which has impacted a number of member countries.

All of the money raised through the CTO’s Relief Fund will be sent directly to CTO-member destinations affected by the catastrophic storm, which hit some countries with winds up to 185 mph.

“The damage caused by the force of Hurricane Irma is an important example of why we must do whatever is possible to provide financial relief to those who need it most. It’s through this fund that the CTO channels monetary assistance to our impacted member states,” CTO secretary general Hugh Riley said. “The CTO appreciates all donations to assist in the recovery efforts in these countries.”

For more information on CTO’s Relief Fund or to make a donation, visit www.gofundme.com/hurricane-relief-fund-cto.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Corporate News

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (5 Sept, 2017) – As Hurricane Irma, a dangerous Category 5 storm, churns its way towards the northern Leeward Islands and the northern Caribbean, including the Bahamas, Cuba and Haiti,  the Caribbean Tourism Organization expresses concern for residents and visitors in the countries that are in the hurricane’s projected path, and pray that the impact will be reduced.

We have been in contact with our members and they assure us that they have been taking all the necessary steps to ensure that they are in a state of readiness.

We take this storm seriously. The safety of the Caribbean’s citizens and our visitors is the number one concern for the authorities and emergency response teams throughout the region.

The CTO is actively monitoring the hurricane and will share updates from our member countries on www.onecaribbean.org and our social media channels, as they become available.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog

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Fourth Annual BVI Food Fete Set For November, 2017

Tortola, British Virgin Islands (August 29, 2017) — The British Virgin Islands Tourist Board (BVITB) is excited to announce the fourth annual BVI Food Fete, a month-long festival that celebrates the culinary offerings of the BVI. Featuring visiting chefs, bar crawls, special tasting menus, and more, Food Fete is a true showcase of the islands’ brightest flavors. Festivities kick off on November 3rd , and culminate with the popular Anegada Lobster Festival on November 25th and 26th.

Highlights of this year’s festival include the Barefoot Gourmet Soiree, the Jost Pork Festival and the Taste of the BVI events. Throughout the month of November, visitors can also enjoy some of the BVI’s classic cocktails during spirited happy hours and bar crawls.

“We’re thrilled to announce the lineup of exciting events for the fourth annual BVI Food Fete,” Director of Tourism Sharon Flax-Brutus said. “This will be a month full of gourmet adventures. It’s the perfect way to learn about and experience the bold flavors of the islands, alongside a talented group of visiting chefs and a fantastic list of participating restaurants, bars and properties throughout the BVI.”

With the emergence of the Guana Visiting Chef Series, the recent Minority Chefs Summit and the success of the BVI National Culinary Team, The British Virgin Islands are quickly becoming the culinary capital of the Caribbean.

Food Fete is scheduled to begin on November 3rd:

Taste of Tortola – Friday, November 3rd on Tortola

  • An opportunity to sample tantalising food, incredible wines and amazing entertainment on the water’s edge! We are excited to bring together a cross section of BVI restaurants, eateries, visitors and residents into one location to celebrate food.

 Jost Pork Festival – Saturday, November 4th & Sunday, November 5th on Jost Van Dyke

  • Join the Jost Van Dyke community as the island is turned into a Pork Lovers Paradise for a two-day culinary experience.

 Guy Fawkes Night – Sunday, November 5th  on Jost Van Dyke

  • Guy Fawkes, an English Catholic, was a part of a secret plot to assassinate King James by setting the British House of Parliament on fire. This plot was ultimately foiled, and on November 5, 1605 revelers held a jubilation over the King’s escape. Get your Guy Fawkes masks ready and join in this time-honored BVI tradition!

Barefoot Gourmet Soiree – Friday, November 10th at Peter Island Resort & Spa

Hosted by visiting celebrity chefs, The Barefoot Gourmet Soirée is a stellar culinary event that also highlights renowned local chefs and showcases an array of Caribbean cuisine.

Peter Island Caribbean Food & Wine Festival – Friday, November 10th & Saturday, November 11th at Peter Island Resort & Spa

Peter Island’s Caribbean Food Festival is a culinary event that brings chefs from various Caribbean islands to celebrate Caribbean food and cooking techniques. Nestled in the charm and beauty of Peter Island Resort & Spa, the exclusive resort is a getaway for some of the world’s “A-listers”.

Taste of Virgin Gorda –  Saturday, November 18th at Nail Bay Ruins

The 5th Annual Taste of Virgin Gorda takes place in the beautiful and historic Nail Bay Sugar Works ruins. Don’t miss your chance to sample delicious cuisine, incredible wines, and amazing entertainment! We are excited to bring you a wide cross-section of Virgin Gordian based restaurants in one location under the stars, while you listen and dance to some of the best live music in the Caribbean.

Cooper Island Rum Festival – Sunday, November 19th at Cooper Island Beach Club

  • A day for rum lovers! Join Cooper Island Beach Club for their 2nd annual Rum Festival.  Rum-inspired sweet & savoryspecialty cocktails and live entertainment are the order of the day. This sailors delight is home to an island party that you do not want to miss… lest you be forced to walk the plank!

Anegada Lobster Festival – November 25th & 26th on Anegada

  • The Anegada Lobster Festival Turns 5! Join the Anegada Community and fellow Caribbean spiny lobster lovers along the shores of Anegada for the 5th annual Anegada Lobster Festival.

BVI Food Fete Bar Crawls

  • BVI Food Fete Bar Crawls are fun filled adventures that take you around each participating island, visiting some of the best and most fun establishments on the island. The bar crawls include games, music, food, and fun, fun, fun! All bar crawls include transportation, t-shirt, random celebratory drinks, fun, games and prizes.

All BVI Food Fete Bar Crawls are sponsored by Caribbean Cellars, one of the premier beverage distributors in the Caribbean

Jost Crawl

Saturday, November 4th

Venue: Jost Van Dyke

On the Rocks Crawl

Saturday, November 18th

Venue: Virgin Gorda

Lobster Crawl

Friday, November 24th

Venue: Anegada

To view a full schedule of events, find ticket information and more, please visit www.bvifoodfete.com.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series Ready to Rumble

Bridgetown, Barbados (24 August, 2017): As the European summer regatta circuit begins to draw to a close, the Caribbean vibe in Barbados is beginning to rumble with plans already in place for the annual Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series – 16-24 January 2018.

The 82nd edition of this Caribbean season opening Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series regatta, organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, is now one of the most popular events on the circuit. With direct, regular flights from London to Barbados, now could be the time to consider a midwinter charter option or, for those planning a transatlantic crossing in the next few months, consider a rewarding trip to beautiful island of Barbados during regatta time.

Other than three days of coastal racing, one of the main draws is the headline event – the 60nm Round Barbados Race – which offers speed sailing enthusiasts not only a chance to enjoy spectacular sailing on a race circuit with uninterrupted winds, but also a chance to win their skipper’s weight in rum if any of the 20 records are broken.

Tony Lawson’s MOD70, MS Barbados Concise10 that currently holds the record for the fastest time ever recorded/the Absolute Multihull (2 hours, 37 minutes, 38 seconds) pipped Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70 Phaedo3 to the post by just 12 seconds in 2016. Skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield and team from the UK, MS Barbados Concise10 will be back on the racetrack in January to defend her title.

The 60nm sprint around the island of Barbados is also the perfect playground for big classic yachts such as the three-masted 65m schooner Adix, and the 55m A Class Schooner Elena – the yacht that holds the Classic record of 6 hours, 11 minutes, 19 seconds. To celebrate the heritage of this historic regatta that dates back to schooner racing in 1936, thousands of spectators gather annually at vantage points around the island to watch these glorious yachts under sail.

In total contrast is the growing smallboat sector. As well as a Multihull Doublehanded record established this year by Bryn Palmer and Evan Walker on the RC30 catamaran Silver Bullet, an Absolute Foiling Monohull record was established, which means for those who believe they can better Andy Budgen’s Mach 2 foiling International Moth time of 4 hours, 23 minutes, 18 seconds, the gloves are most definitely off.

 Interestingly winning the skippers’ weight in rum by breaking one of the established records is not all about out-and-out racing machines, which is one of the reasons why the event also appeals to club sailors and the charter sector. Sailing his Dufour 44 – Luna – Andreas Berg from Germany circumnavigated the Island in 8 hours, 7 minutes, 31 seconds and in doing so set a new benchmark time for the Singlehanded record.

The Mount Gay Round Barbados Regatta Series is based off the Barbados Cruising Club beach at the south-west corner of the Island in Carlisle Bay where there is plenty of mooring space. However, demand is starting to increase for space in the recently completed, and conveniently located marina facilities that includes online clearance through Sail Clear, plus washing facilities and Wi-Fi.

Finally, a visit to the regatta and the home of Mount Gay wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the legendary Mount Gay Rum Red Cap party. There is even a tour/tasting session at the Mount Gay Distillery and, on layday, there’s a chance to enjoy the specially laid-on exhibition polo match… with more rum… naturally.

About the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series

Early years
The first recorded race round Barbados was in 1936 when five trading schooners (Sea Fox, Mona Marie, Marion B Wolfe, Lucille Smith and Rhode Island) took up the challenge. Sea Fox (Captain Lou Kenedy) was the overall winner with a time of 10 hours 20 minutes.

The original race was based upon bragging rights for the fastest Trading Schooner. In an era where prices for cargo arriving ahead of rival ships commanded a massive premium, this was a lucrative race for captains.

The consolation prize of a barrel of Mount Gay Rum for the slowest yacht was discontinued several years later following the discovery that some competitors purposely stalled and remained out at sea for days to ensure they won the prize.


In 2012 The Mount Gay Round Barbados Race expanded to incorporate the Two Restaurants Race, which meant racing took place over two days. The idea proved such a success, it was decided to expand the event further in 2014, in line with most other Caribbean regattas, and run a series of coastal, round-the-buoy races including the Two Restaurants Race, and The Mount Gay Round Barbados Race.

The 60nm Mount Gay Round Barbados Race traditionally takes place on Errol Barrow Day (a public holiday to celebrate the birthday of the first Prime Minister of Barbados, and ‘father of independence). There are currently 20 records to contest.

The 265-mile Ocean Race from Barbados to Antigua at the end of the regatta was specifically designed to tie in with the start of the Superyacht Challenge in Antigua.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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