CTO News

Pure Grenada Rated as a Top Southern Caribbean Cruise Destination by Leading Cruise Review Site

(St. George’s, Grenada) 1st August 2017—The leading cruise review site has recognized Pure Grenada, Spice of the Caribbean as one of the top five Southern Caribbean destinations for cruise. CruiseCritic.com recently announced the winners of its second annual Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards based entirely on consumer ratings submitted to the website for trips within the last year. The awards name the top cruise destinations across 15 regions worldwide.

Cruise Critic boasts the world’s largest online cruise community, with more than 350,000 cruise reviews, covering approximately 500 cruise ships and over 300 worldwide ports. About Pure Grenada, one consumer wrote, “Very nice island. Enjoyed walking around the downtown area” while another commented, “Beautiful port, took the water taxi to the beach with a number of our family members.”

Speaking of the awards this year, Senior Executive Editor of Cruise Critic Colleen McDaniel explained, “Itineraries are incredibly important to today’s cruisers who are more focused than ever on where they’re going and what they can do while they’re there. Cruise lines have focused on expanding their offerings to quench that thirst for exploration – and this year’s list of winning destinations shows the wide array of adventures cruising offers.”

Ahead, of the upcoming cruise season, Pure Grenada is already buzzing with a number of new onshore excursions to cater to every taste. These attractions include culinary tours that introduce visitors to Grenada’s world famous spices, hiking tours to some of Grenada’s breath-taking ridges in the north and the Grenada High wire canopy obstacle course set in our mystic rain forest. ‘Bean To Bar’ chocolate tours, pristine white sandy beaches, gorgeous waterfalls, underwater adventures and much more are there to be enjoyed.

CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority Patricia Maher says the award is a testament to Pure Grenada’s popularity. She further stated, “ The GTA has been working closely with the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), major cruise lines, the Ministry of Tourism and key local stakeholders to improve product offerings and keep Pure Grenada top of mind when planning itineraries.”

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Island Update: What’s New in Curaçao

WILLEMSTAD, CURAÇAO – July 2017 – Known for its unique heritage, European architecture and intimate cove-like beaches, the colorful island of Curaçao is heating up in more ways than one this summer. This quarter, the ABC island in the Southern Caribbean welcomed several hotel renovations and an island-wide dining promotion, and is gearing up for its fifth annual PRIDE celebration. Read below to find out what’s new in Curaçao.

ISLAND NEWS

  • Curaçao Named “Top Cruise Destination in the Southern Caribbean”

Curaçao, known for its distinctive Dutch colorful architecture and colonial charm, was recently named “Top Cruise Destination in the Southern Caribbean” by Cruise Critic, the largest online cruise resource. The Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards, now in its second year, ranks 15 destinations across regions worldwide. The ratings are influenced by consumer feedback, with awards based on port reviews from July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017. For more information, visit www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/destination-awards/.

HOTEL NEWS 

  • Avila Beach Hotel Completes Renovation

Avila Beach Hotel, the oldest operational hotel in Curaçao, recently completed a $600,000 renovation to its Ocean Front Blues Wing. The rooms have been fully upgraded with contemporary decor, new beds, soundproof walls, and modern bathroom and balcony furniture. Additionally, the beachfront property, which is walking distance from Willemstad and was featured in this year’s iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, replaced the roof on its Sea Terrace Patio and Belle Terrace restaurant. For more information, visit www.avilabeachhotel.com.

  • Kontiki Beach Resort Acquires Cabana Beach

Kontiki Beach Resort recently acquired Cabana Beach, the trendy neighboring beach club featuring chic day beds, scenic water views, free WiFi and plush lounge chairs shaded by breezy palapas. Just steps away from the private beach is the club’s restaurant & bar, open from noon to 10 p.m. daily, for beachgoers to enjoy lunch, dinner and small bites. The new addition of Cabana Beach marks Kontiki Beach Resort’s second beach club on the island. The resort recently opened MOOD Beach, the adjoining bohemian-inspired beachfront sanctuary. For more information, visit www.cabanabeachcuracao.com.

  • Floris Suite Hotel – Spa and Beach Club Updates Guest Rooms

Floris Suite Hotel – Spa and Beach Club, an adults-only boutique hotel in Piscadera Bay, recently upgraded its suites with a new paint scheme and sleeker design to make them more suitable for business travelers. The property, which is a short drive from downtown and Hato International Airport, offers free WiFi, affordable rates for meeting spaces, and spacious apartment-style accommodations with living rooms and fully equipped kitchens that are ideal for extended business trips. To celebrate the upgrades, visitors can take advantage of special introductory rates starting at $79/night for travel now through August. For more information, visit www.florissuitehotel.com.

  • Lions Dive & Beach Resort Curaçao Unveils Renovated Guest Rooms

This month, Lions Dive & Beach Resort Curaçao unveiled the remainder of its renovated apartments and suites, including 24 Lions Apartments, four One-Bedroom Lions Suites and the Penthouse. To give the guest rooms a fresh island-inspired appearance, the dark colonial furniture and cabinetry have been replaced with lighter pieces, evoking a more modern look and feel to match the rooms’ ocean views. For more information, visit www.lionsdive.com/en.

DINING NEWS

  • CHATA to Launch All-Inclusive Curaçao Dine Around Plan

On Aug. 5, the Curaçao Hospitality & Tourism Association will launch the Curaçao Dine Around Plan, an all-inclusive culinary experience that gives travelers the opportunity to taste signature Curaçaoan flavors and try multiple restaurants at a fixed price. Dining plans can be personalized with options for travelers to select breakfast, lunch, and dinner at more than 50 participating restaurants. Visitors can purchase their desired dining plan prior to or during their stay in Curaçao. After purchasing, travelers will receive digital tickets containing a unique QR code, which will be scanned before each meal. For more information, please visit www.dinearoundplan.com.

  • Baoase Culinary Beach Restaurant Presents Fruits de Mer Menu

This August, Baoase Luxury Resort will offer a new Fruits de Mer seafood menu along with its signature dinner menu. Guests can create their own shellfish platters with royal Ossetra caviar, Canadian lobster, mussels, oysters, escargot, grilled shrimp and more. For $75/person, guests can opt for the Chef’s Mix, a combination of fresh seafood served with aioli, curry, red wine vinegar and other sauces. The special Fruits de Mer Menu will debut on Aug. 3, and will only be available on Thursdays. For more information, visit www.baoase.com.

  • Hofi Cas Cora Introduces Five-Course, Farm-to-Table Event

On July 20, Hofi Casa Cora, the island’s first true farm-to-table restaurant, introduced its new fine-dining event, “Haute Cuisine den Hofi.” Diners were treated to a five-course dinner and expert wine pairings courtesy of The Wine Factory. The dinner included farm-raised duck, various sides made of locally sourced produce, and a brief explanation by the chef about the ingredients and flavors associated with each course. Hofi Cas Cora, acclaimed for its fresh seasonal ingredients and popular weekend brunch, has plans to repeat the event every month or so. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/hoficascora.

  • Koraal Rooftop Terrace Launches Sushi Saturday

Koraal Rooftop Terrace, a trendy rooftop bar in the Coral Estate, recently introduced Sushi Saturdays. The sushi chef will create delicious rolls, sashimi and nigiri, which can be enjoyed during lunch, dinner, or as light bites while hanging out by the infinity pool or basking in the restaurant’s 270° water views. As a part of the new initiative, the bartenders will create Japanese-inspired cocktails to pair with the sushi rolls. During Sushi Saturdays, guests can also order from the traditional lunch and dinner menus, which include guest favorites such as the Surf & Turf Salad, Dutch Bitternallen, the Tuna Tataki Sandwich and Hangersteak. For more information, visit www.koraalcuracao.com.

DIVING NEWS 

  • Scuba Lodge Adopts Dive Site

The Scuba Lodge Dive Center and Project AWARE, a foundation empowering thousands of divers in more than 182 countries, have adopted the Scuba Lodge house reef, which is located right outside of the boutique Pietermaai hotel.  Together, these organizations are making an effort to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the underwater diversity of Curaçao, which is home to more than 65 different dive sites. The new partnership will include a monthly ‘Dive Against Debris’ initiative to clean Curaçao’s reefs, with the first event scheduled for Aug. 6, 2017. To take part in the initiative, travelers can sign up by visiting www.facebook.com/ScubaLodgeDiveCenter.

OPERATOR NEWS

  • Serena’s Art Factory Debuts Chichi® with Child

Curaçao’s signature Chichi® dolls, often spotted around Willemstad sporting brightly colored dresses with island-inspired patterns, are a tribute to Chichi, meaning ‘big sister’ in the local dialect of Papiamento. Serena Janet, the doll’s creator, recently introduced a new mother and child design to the collection, which are now available to paint during walk-in workshops held on Thursday evenings and Friday mornings. As a part of the new design, the red heart on Chichi’s hand symbolizes love, while the child on the mother’s back illustrates those that Chichi protects. For more information, visit www.chichi-curacao.com.

  • Does Travel Offers New Bus Tours

Well-known tour operator, Does Travel, now offers four new bus tours for visitors to experience Curaçao’s attractions, historical sites, 35 cove-like beaches and exciting nightlife. The new routes include an Island Tour from the east side of the island to Westpunt, a Beach Hopping Tour, a Hato Caves Tour and an Ostrich Farm Combination tour. Additionally, the company is known for its lively La Cucaracha Dinner Tour and Fun & Nightlife Tour. For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/DoesTravelCuracao.

EVENTS

  • Renaissance Curaçao Presents: Caribbean Queens Concert, August 26, 2017

The Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino is hosting its annual concert, this year with a “Caribbean Queens” theme. The event, which takes place on Aug. 26 from 7:30 p.m. to midnight, features three performers, including Curaçao native, Mafalda Minguel, and Netherlands natives, Shirma Rouse and Izaline Calister. General admission starts at $31/per person and a VIP section, which includes two beverages and snacks, will be available starting at $79/per person. For more information, visit www.renaissancecuracao.com.

  • Curaçao PRIDE, September 28 – October 1, 2017

As one of the most LGBT-friendly destinations in the Caribbean, PRIDE Week returns to Curaçao Sept. 28 – Oct. 1 for its fifth year in a row. With Curaçao’s widespread ‘live and let live’ attitude, Curaçao PRIDE has gained international acclaim among LGBT travelers. The four-day event includes a PRIDE walk from Punda to Otrobanda, a Rainbow Lounge cocktail party, a “Navigaytion Sea Parade,” a white party, and a final oceanfront bash on Moomba Beach. The adults-only Floris Suite Hotel – Spa and Beach Club in Piscadera Bay will serve as the host hotel for the entire event. For more information, visit www.curacaopride.com.

To learn more about Curaçao, please visit www.curacao.com, call toll free 1.800.328.7222 or download our brochure at http://curacao.com/brochure. Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Curacaotb, Twitter: @CuracaoTravel or Instagram: CuracaoTB

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CTO Announces Winners of Caribbean Primary Schools Tourism Writing Competition

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (2 August, 2017) – Four Caribbean primary school students ranging in age from 8-12, will be honoured for excellence in tourism writing at next month’s Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum in St. Kitts.

The four –  Kassie Haley-Shai of St. Augustine Roman Catholic School in Montserrat, Ariah Khobie Diamante Darroux of  Convent Preparatory School  in Dominica (both in the 8-10 category), Jhe’auti Belyca Craigg of Belmont Government School in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Gabriella Lewis of Atwell’s Educational Institute in Trinidad and Tobago (10-12 category) – emerged winners among 44 participants  from 26 schools who participated in the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s Caribbean Primary Schools Tourism Writing Competition.

The contest, held as part of activities for International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and the CTO’s Year of Adventure, was organised to enhance primary school students’ awareness of tourism and its value and contribution to the region’s social and economic development. It was also meant to challenge the students to think of creative ways to make tourism more sustainable.

The winners can be viewed here: http://www.onecaribbean.org/primary-school-tourism-writing-competition/

“I am very pleased with the level of interest exhibited in this initiative, as evidenced by the diversity of participating schools,” said Amanda Charles, the CTO’s sustainable tourism development specialist, whose department spearheads the Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum.

“The submissions were all of a high calibre, with the students displaying depth and creativity in their compositions. It is clear that even at the primary school level students are aware of the importance of tourism to the region, can speak eloquently about tourism in their countries and have some insight into the opportunities and challenges associated with tourism development.”

The students in the 8-10 category were asked to write about what sustainable tourism meant to them or how visitors and locals should act towards each other to promote peace, while those in the 10-12 category were challenged to conceptualise and describe a new adventure tour or to suggest ways that the CTO can help make tourism in the Caribbean more sustainable. The students in both categories were also given the option of writing on whether they felt tourism does indeed contribute to making the Caribbean region a better place, or to identify an adventure tourism activity in their countries and deliver a sales pitch to encourage tourists to experience that activity.

Themed, Good for Us, Better for All, the 6-8 September Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum is being held in observance of International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and will bring together local, regional, and international representatives from public and private sector tourism entities, as well as development agencies that offer programming in sustainable tourism, for three days of interactive engagements.

Major elements will include best practice sharing and strategic consultations for a CTO climate adaptation project funded by the Caribbean Development Bank, in order to strengthen holistic destination management approaches in the Caribbean. The programme will also include experiential field visits, a meeting of CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Technical Committee, and winning presentations from CTO’s Primary School Tourism Writing Competition. The event culminates with the presentation ceremony for CTO’s 2017 Sustainable Tourism Awards which recognise regional sustainability champions.

Organising partners include the CTO, the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism, the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council, and Sustainable Travel International.

The winner of the 2014 CTO/Travel Mole Sustainable Tourism Award in Destination Stewardship, St Kitts is one of the first destinations in the world to be accepted as an early adopter of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s criteria for destinations. It also is a founding member of the Sustainable Destination Alliance of the Americas, an initiative by the CTO, the Organization of American States, Sustainable Travel International and Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited to promote sustainable destination management in the Caribbean and Central America.

Its many initiatives include the establishment of the Heart of St. Kitts Foundation and Sustainability Charter, which helps businesses understand how their operations contribute to destination-wide sustainability, and to support community projects that make St. Kitts a more sustainable place to live and experience.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Climate Smart Forum, Corporate News

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Caribbean Leaders Agree to Fast Track Measures to Ease Caribbean Travel

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (31 July, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) are encouraged by the support of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders for initiatives to facilitate travel and stimulate economic growth through tourism.

The CTO, with the support of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, presented a number of short, medium and long-term proposals to the regional leaders at their recent summit in Grenada, aimed at positioning the Caribbean as a thriving world-class tourism, and bolstering the region’s economic strength and stability.

In the presentation entitled Tourism in the Region: Building a Caribbean Tourism Development and Marketing Initiative, the region’s tourism leaders recommended advancing research to better assess tourism’s economic impact and the region’s competitiveness.  They also discussed removing travel barriers, stimulating travel to and within the Caribbean, supporting the development of Caribbean talent through a coordinated approach to tourism-related education and training, and strengthening the creative industries and economic linkages to tourism.

Marketing and public relations of the Caribbean brand and creating a public-private sector entity financed and managed collaboratively also received consideration at the meeting.

The heads of government have said the proposed initiatives were fully aligned with CARICOM’s own strategic plan and were also in furtherance of the strategic plan for tourism services.

The leaders have also said they recognised the opportunities presented by the recommended strategies, including a strong focus on marketing, aimed at stimulating sustainable growth in tourism.

In a communique issued after the summit, the leaders said they had agreed to support various public-private sector initiatives, broaden engagement with Caribbean countries, companies and multilateral organizations to support a regional tourism marketing and development initiative and adopt and implement travel facilitation measures to stimulate economic growth.

“Heads of Government agreed that the establishment of a single airspace should be pursued and mandated the Secretariat to work with Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS) and relevant agencies to define a roadmap and identify the necessary resources for its implementation,” the communique reads.

However, the heads of government  said they recognised the need for the administrative strengthening of the legal, operational and institutional framework as well as the appropriate resourcing of the CASSOS to enable it to discharge its mandate as an effective and efficient regional safety oversight organisation.

The CTO and CHTA have long lobbied for the removal of the hurdles that make it difficult to travel to, and through, the region, arguing the removal of many of the restrictions would encourage greater regional and international travel and stimulate economic growth.

Among its recommendations is a new multilateral air services agreement, which the leaders said “only required resolution of very few matters”.

Therefore, they mandated the CARICOM secretariat to work with member countries “to enable signature at the next inter-sessional meeting” in February 2018.

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Caribbean Development Bank supports CTO’s Service and Business Excellence Programme

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (25 July, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s continued efforts at promoting service and business excellence in the region’s tourism and hospitality sector has received a financial boost from the regional financial institution that focuses on harmonious economic growth and development in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), through its Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services (CTCS) Network is providing US$223,312 in support of the two key components of the Hospitality Assured (HA) Caribbean certification programme managed by the CTO as part of its product development and service quality thrust.

The funds will be used to engage business advisors and assessors to help strengthen the business performance and overall competitiveness of tourism-related micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in ten CDB borrowing member countries through the HA programme.

“Our region needs to boost its reputation for service and business excellence and pay attention to the overall visitor experience. The Hospitality Assured framework provides the tool to drive this effort,” said Bonita Morgan, the CTO’s director of resource mobilization and development, and the CTO official with overall responsibility for the HA programme.

“We are thankful to the CDB, through the CTCS Network, for supporting this effort to help Caribbean tourism businesses shore up their competitiveness.”

“For several Caribbean economies, tourism is an engine of growth, and MSMEs have the potential to make significant contributions to the sector. CDB is pleased to be supporting CTO in delivering the HA Caribbean certification programme, and deeply value the role it plays in helping regional MSMEs deliver an even higher quality product and experience in an increasingly competitive global tourism market,” said Darran Newman, acting division chief, technical cooperation division, CDB.

Over the next year 30 businesses in the ten countries – Anguilla, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and Turks & Caicos Islands will receive technical assistance as well as assessment services through the CDB funding.

The regional lending institution’s support for HA dates back to 2014 when, through the United Kingdom Department for International Development’s Caribbean Aid for Trade and Regional Integration Trust Fund, managed by the Bank,  it provided funding support for six businesses in Grenada to participate in the certification programme.

Last year, CDB, through the CTCS network, provided financial support to conduct a week-long business advisors training workshop organized by the CTO to equip 15 business advisors to provide technical assistance to tourism-related businesses participating  in the HA certification programme.

CTCS is managed within CDB’s Technical Cooperation Division and operated in cooperation with regional and national institutions, laboratories, industrial enterprises, and consultants. It comprises a network of institutions and experts, and has as its primary aim, transferring knowledge, skills and technology to improve managerial and operational efficiency and competitiveness of MSMEs through the provision of technical assistance.

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 in the region.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Corporate News, Hospitality Assured

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Pure Grenada Hosts Region’s Premier Tourism Forum

(St. George’s, Grenada) 21st July 2017— Pure Grenada, Spice of the Caribbean, will host the region’s premier tourism forum, the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) from 9th-13th October, 2017.

The Conference will take place at the Radisson Grand Beach Resort, Grand Anse, bringing together senior industry decision makers and interested partners to address the biggest concerns and opportunities for Caribbean tourism.

SOTIC 2017 was launched in Grenada with a press conference featuring Government of Grenada, CTO and Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) officials.  The theme for this year is “Supercharging the Caribbean Brand: Meeting the Needs of the New Explorer.” CTO Director for the US Sylma Brown Bramble promises that the theme presents a unique opportunity to focus on the changing dynamics in the industry. “We have to ensure that the Caribbean is positioned and ready to capture the interest of the new explorer who wants adventure and authentic experiences.”

Grenada’s Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Hon. Clarice Modeste Curwen remarked that the Government and people of Grenada are delighted to host the premier tourism forum in the region. Apart from discussing the major issues affecting the tourism industry, SOTIC is an excellent opportunity for member countries to showcase their tourism product to international and regional audiences.  The Minister announced, “Pure Grenada will be hosting destination tours in order that all delegates can get to know and love the Spice of the Caribbean. Indeed, we have so much to share- from our gorgeous waterfalls and pristine beaches to our ‘bean to bar’ chocolate and cuisine tours.”

The CTO is ensuring a packed programme with amazing speakers who are sure to provide keen insights on how to supercharge the Caribbean brand.  Chief Executive Officer of the GTA, Patricia Maher says local participation is key. “It does not matter how big or small your business is, if you play a role in Tourism or you contribute to the industry in any way, you need to register for SOTIC and take advantage of the international networking opportunities and the many informative seminars right here in St. George’s.”

The local delegate registration fee is US 75 dollars per day or US 200 dollars for the entire conference. The CTO State of the Industry Conference brings together some 300 tourism industry leaders from the 30 member-countries of the CTO, as well as representatives of the regional and international private sector, academics, media, students, travel trade partners and other industry stakeholders from within and outside the region.

For information regarding registration please click on the following link: http://sotic.onecaribbean.org/register/ .

To view an invitation from Dr Modeste-Curwen, please click on the following link: http://bit.ly/2uwSamx

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News, SOTIC

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